Chestnut Mountain, located along rugged bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River near Galena, Ill., is turning 50 this season, and the resort is offering lift tickets for $15 from opening day through Dec. 18.  Opening day is set for Friday, Nov. 27, weather permitting.  

They opened the Friday after Thanksgiving last season with some of the best conditions in the last decade.  In fact, if history is a guide, chances are pretty good they will be able to open.  Chestnut has opened five of the last seven years in November, and the other two years they opened within the first three days of December. 

Chestnut recently completed a three-year snowmaking expansion, which provides the resort the capability to fully open the ski area with less than 48 hours of snowmaking.  If the weather is cold enough conditions should be magnificent; just look for a small blizzard hanging over the bluff.  You should be able to see it from Dubuque, Iowa.   I

it's a good deal for nearby Chicagoland skiers and riders. Early season lodging rates will also be in effect, if you decide to spend the night.  It's considered one of the top areas for Heartland twin-tippers and riders with its 7-acre Farside Terrain Park and a huge rail garden positioned on top of the bluff near the 450-room hotel overlooking the Mississippi.  Chestnut has been named among the top 10 Midwest ski resorts on more than one occasion in national snowsports magazine reader polls, and it's not hard to see why after a visit.

More information.