Terrain, Friendly town, Number of runs, Glade skiing
Disorganized lift lines, Poor snow report
A group of friends and I drove up from Central Indiana and were very pleasently surprised by the terrain and overall quality of the resort. I made the trip to Boyne (Michigan) three times before we discovered Granite Peak and I was very glad we came here instead. The overall terrain and steepness were much greater here. We were fortunate to have received about 8 inches of the snow right before and while we were there. Consequently, the glades were in excellent shape and all of the runs were very nice! Some people complained about the shortness of the runs. However, compared to most of the Midwest, the runs were actually fairly long. Also, there are very nice steep sections of the peak and the terrain parks offer something for everyone. It actually reminded me of a smaller Colorado ski resort. The rock- faces, drops, glades, and varied terrain gave the place a very nice feel.
The Not So Good:
While the experience was completely worth the drive, there are things the resort can improve upon. One challenge is that for beginner skiiers, it is a poor place to progress. Granite Peak has exceptional beginner runs. However, the terrain jumps from nice easy greens and very mild blues to very steep blues on the top of the mountain. When our group added two new skiers, it was challenging to find good places to take them. After they had progressed through the green runs, there just were not good runs for them to do after that. Granite could really use some longer winding blue runs to appeal to the progressing beginner crowd.
The lift lines were another challenge. There is essentially no organization to the lines. At one lift a three man party is always being cut off by the singles line because of the way it is organized and other lifts either didn't have any organization at all or made it so the system could easily be cheated. Bottom line: expect to be a bit frustrated waiting in line. That being said, the wait times, even on Saturday, were less than five minutes.
The resort offered $15 night skiing on Saturday. This was a great bargain for those in the group who weren't prepared to ski the 12 hr ticket. They also have great deals on multi-day tickets if you book online.
Rentals are cheaper if you rent off-site. Part of our group rented from Shepherd and Schaller in downtown Wausau and were very pleased with the equipment. Also, they paid a fair amount less than if they had rented from Granite Peak.
Finally we were very impressed with Wausau. It had tons of shopping for those in our party who did not feel like skiing, had plenty of nice restaurants to choose from, and had a nice small-town feel, even though it is actually a larger city. Also, there were many good options for lodging.
The trip was worth it. It's not Colorado but it's hard to beat in the Midwest!