Read skier and snowboarder-submitted reviews on Chestnut Mountain Resort that rank the ski resort and mountain town on a scale of one to five stars for attributes such as terrain, nightlife and family friendliness. See how Chestnut Mountain Resort stacks up in the reviews, on and off the slopes, from skiing and family activities to the après scene. Read up on pros, cons and other comments in reviews left by fellow skiers and riders. Don't forget to submit your own Chestnut Mountain Resort review! Scroll to the bottom of this page to let other travelers know about your skiing and resort experience.
Reviews for Chestnut Mountain Resort
A ski resort's overall star rating displayed here is not calculated based on a simple average but takes several factors, including the age of a review, into account.
One of the best ski resorts in Midwest and so close to Chicago. Steeps may be steepest in Midwest with consistent pitch top to bottom. Intermediate runs challenging too with many interesting lines to choose from. Nearby town of Galena is a Midwest Aspen. I have skied here about 10 times.... Full Review
I hv been boarding the midwest for 12 years now.
My ratings are as such.
Good: alpine, devils head, cascade.
Dont care for: tyrol basin
Way to fkn expensive: wilmont.
Longer and steeper runs than most midwest places, not as crowded and not as expensive.
... Full Review
I went to school in platteville and held a season pass here for two years logging at least 20 days both years. Chestnut is easily the best in the area. You have to get to granite peak in Wausau to find a better midwest experience. I always find it annoying when ski hills have runs that terminate with a long fairly flat ski out at the bottom that serves no purpose other than to squeeze of couple extra feet out for their mountain vertical statistics. Chestnut has no such excessive run out, if its marked blue on the map you will be skiing blue caliber slope all the way to the bottom. I enjoy watching this place put beginners who think they can ski a midwest black in their place because they are accustomed to pizza-ing the hill and controlling speed in the long runout at the bottom, attempt that here and you'll get a face full of chain link fence (still better than ending up on the railroad track on the other side). Before you go, check the wind forecast, If winds are forecasted greater than 15mph out of the west consider going elsewhere because the hill faces west with the wide open mississippi river at the bottom so their is no wind protection. Lift lines here are pretty much non-existent. they open the blackhawk triple only when slight lift lines occur on the quads. In those two years and 40+ visits, I can count on one hand the number of times they were forced to open that triple, the lines just don't happen.... Full Review
The very first thing to understand that it's not a hill - it's a ridge with the lodge at the top and the Mississippi river at the bottom. They bill themselves as having the largest vertical drop in the lower Midwest, which is true. What they don't say is that a lot of it is very, very steep. If you're an adrenaline junkie, you may enjoy feeling like you're going to hurdle into the Mississippi, but it was nerve racking for me. I'd say a lot of it is more intermediate to advanced than beginner. I think it offers some of the more difficult terrain of the hills within east driving distance of Chicago.
Snowboarders love it, and the terrain park is self contained with its own lift.
The lifts are probably the slowest I have ever been on.
The lodge amenities are better than average and the view is spectacular. I would not take a beginner here. Even the easier runs look intimidating because of the steep angle.... Full Review
My son and I are experienced intermediate skiers who have skied both in New England and Colorado. We spent two days at Chestnut recently. The first day was a typical Illinois winter day with temps in the 20's and 30's. We hit the trails right as they opened and skied the entire day. We skied all the trails except Eagle (black diamond mogels) and upper Warpath (black diamond - we did ski lower Warpath). The trails were well groomed, but towards early afternoon had become skied off, showing the layers of packed powder and ice below. In this regard, Chestnut is similar to what you find on eastern ski resorts in the late afternoons. While the three major ski lifts at the bottom of the mountain do a good job of moving skiers back up, the trails themselves did get crowded at times, especially in the mid-mountain area (trails Moser, Fox and Catwalk).
The resort has a learner's area, and then an easy green trail (Old Main), which is served by it's own lift. Progressing from there to the blues might be somewhat challenging for true beginners. Take lessons.
As for the intermediate trails, we found plenty to keep ourselves busy. Again the runs are not long, but the lifts do a good job of moving you back up to the top quickly, so you can get a lot of runs in. We skied all the blues, and were pleasantly surprised by the variety and the challenges that the different runs posed. Our favorite trail was Crazy Horse. I would warn beginners to not attempt this trail until at least Moser and Apache have been mastered.
The Mountain Top Cafe was pleasant and the food adequate and the Summit was comfortable and the food good. Apres Ski in the Summit was fun and the atmosphere relaxing.
My son had rentals for both days, and the equipment seemed to be either new (skis) or in decent condition (boots). All-in-all I would rate the facilities here very good.
On the second day, Illinois got hit with about 8 inches of new snow overnight. The resort let the snow accumulate before grooming, so we ended up skiing through some very skied up powder before the snow cats came out. A good opportunity for everyone (including Ski Patrol) to get acqainted with different snow conditions.
The only downside that we experienced was the lack of scenery. The resort makes its own snow, so the trail conditions were fine, but the area itself was not snow covered and was consequently somewhat bleak. Small issue, I know, but if you are looking for the Winter ambiance that a large eastern or western resort gives you, you won't find it here. Come here for the ski practice (and the fun) and not the scenery.... Full Review
Chestnut Mountain is a spectacular resort for all levels of skiing. While the runs are short, there are seldom lines at the lifts and in an afternoon one could ski dozens of runs on the different slopes. CM has outstanding snow-making equipment and limitless water (unlike many western resorts) to keep a good depth of snow all winter and into March.
The overall atmosphere of the resort is very good, with kids, teens, seniors, couples, singles, etc. and everyone there to have a good time, not to show off the latest fashions or be aggressive and indifferent to other skiers. like Galena itself (cited by Conde Nast among the top 5 friendliest towns in America).
We go to Tahoe at the end of the season at Chestnut, but I must say I prefer Chestnut for its fun atmosphere and lack of large crowds.... Full Review
Disclaimer: I'm an advanced skier by western standards. I go to ski and don't give a flip about a "resort" experience. And I'm bored to death on groomed runs, no matter how steep. Also, I don't care one bit about terrain parks.
First, let me just say what a miracle it is that there is any halfway-decent skiing in the region. It's notoriously flat and doesn't get anywhere near enough natural snowfall for this sort of thing... so you can imagine my surprise while approaching the top of Warpath for the first time and seeing a distinct horizon line. This thing is STEEP. Yeah, it's a groomer, I really didn't expect otherwise, but it actually raised my heart rate a little, which I really didn't expect would happen around here. Mine Shaft, while short, is another surprisingly steep section.
There's very little opportunity for off-piste, maybe a couple of short drops...when there's snow cover. That's fine, though, I really just wanted to drive over for the day for a workout, and I was more than well-pleased. The view is magnificent, the lifts are slow but actually have footrests (a huge plus in my book), and the trails are better than I expected. The area suffers from the usual Midwest weather perhaps more than up in WI...the day I went was a slush-fest. Hit it while the snow is falling, though, and it would be downright amazing.
And though I said I don't care about terrain parks, I will add that they have what looks like a great one. It's more of a whole "freestyle area" with a dedicated lift. Snowboarders should definitely check it out.
Weekday specials definitely make this a worthwhile trip if you've got the day off.... Full Review
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