Granite Peak, Wisconsin's largest ski area, is gearing up for its first Family Festival of the new season. Slated to take place Jan. 9-11, 2009, the package includes two nights' lodging in the Wausau area and two days worth of lift tickets for a family of four (one free child per paid adult); two day ski and snowboard rental for the entire family; sleigh rides, a brat cookout with a bonfire; and a Saturday night fireworks display.
Typical cost for a family of four for the weekend with all the inclusions is around $450, which can vary with choice of lodging packages. Granite Peak does not have lodging, but works with a variety of motels, hotels and quaint B&Bs around the Wausau area that package with the ski area. You can check their Web site for complete details on Family Festival Packages.
The Peak is one of the newest and largest ski areas in the Heartland. It used to be called Rib Mountain with just a couple of chairlifts, less than 25 runs, and about a 650-foot vertical drop. It was going to close in the late 1990s when the cantankerous owner at the time got into a tiff with the state of Wisconsin who owns Rib Mountain State Park where the ski area is located. Charles Skinner, who owns Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota, recognized an excellent opportunity, arranged a long-term lease with Wisconsin's DNR, and expanded the area to become one of the Heartland's largest snowsports facilities.
Recent upgrades include several new lifts including high-speed, six-seater, an expansion to nearly 80 trails and lifts all the way to the top of the mountain, which now gives the Peak a 700-foot vertical drop. The base facilities still include the historic Tenth Mountain Chalet, but are now augmented by the new 10,000-square-foot Sundance Chalet and a new outside patio area that features textured color-concrete, overhead heaters, an outdoor grill, and seating for 400.