Went to Cascade in February of 07 with my 6 year old son, my neighbor and his two boys. The hill was well maintained considering the valley below was brown with very little snow. We got to the rental area before they opened and were first in line. It looked like a madhouse after that, but they always are at any ski rental shop. There was a little confusion about the rental since I had booked it online. A quick call to the reservation people fixed it and we were then off to enroll him in his lesson. The lesson was good and if he got tired he was able to take a break and get a snack. He was on the magic carpet which worked well and wasn’t too steep.
I proceeded to ski to my hearts content until his class was over. We got some lunch and then went on the smallest chair lift I have ever seen in my life. It was perfect for him. It’s about 100 yds. long and is not steep at all. It is perfect for beginners to learn how to get on and off a chairlift and how to begin to ski. It is also a great place to make mistakes since everyone knows that this lift is for those just learning to ski.
The lift lines were minimal the whole day. I like to ski fast and wish we had a long 2000 ft. drop like in Colorado, but that said, Cascade is about the best you will get in the Midwest at a reasonable distance from Chicago. I agree that Devil’s Head and Cascade are a tossup, but since kids ski free at Cascade and my little ones are just starting to learn, it is a perfect place for them. Overall it is a great place to learn and a good place to ski.