[R108R, Christie Mountain], in the Blue Hills of northern Wisconsin near Rice Lake, isn't one of the top drawing ski areas in the Badger State.  The largest nearby city, Eau Claire with less than 100,000, is over an hour away, and the Twin Cities are two to three hours; depending in which Twin City you live. 

The area draws 20,000 to 25,000 skiers and riders per season, according to co-owner Sue Vohs.  It's a family run area that she and her husband have been operating for a few years.  Christie, under their tutelage, has grown into one of the best "small" ski areas in the Badger State.

It makes the most of a 350-foot vertical drop with a nice mix of slopes, trails, and a surprising number of progressive terrain parks.  Four to be exact, from beginner rails only inches above the snow surface to Rusty's Revenge and some of the more challenging features found in the Heartland.  Three of the four parks offer rope tow service for easy accessibility.

The ski area, perched along a long ridgeline, offers some pleasantly surprising steep and rugged terrain; given its modest size by even Midwest standards.  Tucked along the back of the ridge are a couple of rolling black diamonds with good sustained pitch from top to bottom.  A couple of double-black chutes cut through rocky bluffs along the ridge offer cliff jumps, and that's something you won't often find in this region of the country.  There's even a couple of nice ski glades, Timber Pup and Timber Wolf, on the backside of the ridge for those that like skiing and riding through trees.     

Beginners have no worries at Christie.  The whole lower portion of the ski hill is a big green playground.  There's also a tubing park, which was added about three seasons ago.

It's a delightful experience and one that won't break the bank.  Adult lift tickets run between $22 and $33, junior's (8-15) run $17 to $28, and kids eight and under are free when accompanied by a full paying adult.  The area is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before Christmas and Wednesday through Sunday after the holiday for the rest of the season.  Check it out.

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