Gold brought thousands of settlers, miners, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane to the Dakota Territories in the 1800s, where they settled the infamous town of Deadwood and spilled over into the Black Hills. Today, the wealth is measured in gaming casinos, the natural beauty of the region, and snow-covered peaks that are home to some of the best undiscovered downhill skiing in the Heartland. it's the highest land between the Rockies and European Alps with peaks reaching over 7,200 feet.
Terry Peak, with a vertical drop of nearly 1,100 feet, sits just a few miles above Deadwood and about a half-hour from Rapid City, S.D. The resort, on the western fringe of the Midwest, is kind of twixt ‘n tween. It's geographically linked to the Midwest, but topographically has more in common with Western ski areas. It's often overlooked by Heartland skiers planning a western trip, which is a big mistake.
The resort has over 30 runs - some up to two miles long - four chairlifts (includes two high-speed quads), a halfpipe, and freestyle terrain park. It offers skiing and boarding for all levels.
The North Side Glades appeals to expert skiers and riders. Beginners have their own area, complete with a pair of triple chairlifts near the top of the mountain. It has some of the best blue cruisers in the Heartland. Runs like Kussy, Homestake, Black Moon, Hobo Queen, and Missing Link just beg you to file a flight plan. Ben Hur and Holy Terror are a couple of top-to-bottom, thigh-burning mogul runs. Avalanche and Blizzard are a team of short, sweet headwalls that test your skiing mettle.
Numerous attractions add to Terry Peak's ambiance; the moonscape-like Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and the best gaming between Atlantic City and Vegas. skiers and boarders head for places like Kevin Costner's Midnight Star Casino once the slopes close. It rocks all night with gambling and live music.Or, mosey on over to Miss Kitty's historic saloon with its great Chinese restaurant. The Gem, recently popularized by the HBO series Deadwood, is one of 80-some gambling joints in the mountain town.
The gaming offers a big plus for skiers and riders; low prices for lodging and dining. The discounts are designed to entice gamblers, but even in Deadwood, you don't have to give it all back at the tables. Terry Peak may be the western fringe of the Heartland, but it offers some big time skiing and riding at a pretty reasonable price.