Here in North America, when we talk about skiing we almost exclusively talk about the western half of the continent. And there are great reasons for that; the mountains are taller, the resorts tend to cover more acreage, the snow stays for longer. You can get summer skiing at Mt. Hood and October skiing at A-Basin. There is a lot to love about skiing in the West. The Rockies are a gift to skiers of all shapes and sizes.
We love the West, but that being said the East and the Midwest has more to offer than you think. There are hidden gems and skiing at all difficulty levels. The passion for skiing runs very deep in the Midwest and in the East. But this isn’t a competition, we love skiing in every shape and form. The idea of this list is that we think the Midwest and the East are under appreciated as places to ski, and we will outline below all the reasons why you should not sleep on skiing East of the Mississippi.
1. The Passion
The passion for skiing you find in the East and in the Midwest is off the charts. The passion in the West is legit as well, yet the west is at another level with average conditions and types of resorts and terrain that are available. The passion in the Midwest and the East comes from consistently skiing boiler plate groomers. It comes from your local hill being just that, a hill. Something that is a couple hundred vertical feet and you have to lap it 3-4 times as much as you do out West to achieve the same amount vertical.
The passion is having to deal with frigid temps and lackluster snowfalls. Out West you get goggle tans, out East our faces turn red in the winter from wind burn. The Eastern half of the country is home to cousin Joey from Jersey and home to skiers wearing jeans. The beauty of all of it is that it doesn’t matter. It is a whole society of people that just absolutely loves to ski. The East and the Midwest believe that a 4-inch storm is a powder day, these beautiful people have an appreciation for the snow that is unrivaled.
2. The Racing
In the Midwest, we take our ski racing seriously. Whether you’re a youngster coming up learning the ropes or a beer leaguer ripping gates on a Tuesday night, racing in the Midwest is no joking matter (but we do like to have fun). To further that point I’ll even goes as far to say that the Midwest and the East are home to some of the best ski coaches in the country. Along with some of the most elite ski academies in the world.
Places like Burke Mountain Academy which has produced some of the best ski racers of all time including 2018 Olympians, Mikaela Shiffrin, Nolan Kasper, and Tommy Biesemeyer. There is also Carrabassett Valley Academy, CVA’s alumni include the likes of Bode Miller and Kristin Clark both of whom have gone on to have extensive World Cup careers and many Olympic appearances. Get your race skis ready, because you’re going to need them in the Midwest and East.
3. The Resorts
The Midwest and the East coast are absolutely covered in ski resorts. The East coast isn’t as surprising they do have the Appalachian’s helping them out. Even with that, the East coast is home to some of the most epic ski resorts in the world; Stowe, Killington, Sugarbush, just to name a few. The East coast provides hundreds of resorts that will throw at you anything and everything you can handle. Perfect resorts for beginners all the way up to the most expert of skiers.
The Midwest however is flat, so very flat. Because of this Midwesterners have had to get creative. In the Midwest, they build their ski resorts from the ground up. Because they do this they have been able to litter their region with these smaller and lot of the time family owned ski resorts. These smaller resorts in the Midwest don’t necessarily get a ton of snow so make sure you have some skis with a narrower waist width. These resorts may lack some vertical but they more than make up for it in how many laps you get in. The people are friendly the lift tickets are cheaper and you can still get runs that will challenge you. The runs are shorter but a short, steep run with boiler plate conditions will test a skier of any background.
4. Mt. Bohemia
The final reason isn’t an over arcing theme, it’s a place. It is one of the most glorious places on the face of the earth. Mt. Bohemia is the home of what most believe is the best skiing in the Midwest. There are many that believe that Mt Bohemia is the best skiing in the country. This small resort in Michigan’s upper peninsula does not groom their runs. They get absolutely pounded with snow and most of their terrain is tree runs and glades, they even have cat skiing.
This family owned resort continues to grow to accommodate skiers that are looking for an experience that is second to none. Mt Bohemia is absolutely capable of producing the greatest powder day of your life so open up that quiver and break out your powder skis. Not to mention their prices are a fraction of the price you pay out west. Mt. Bohemia is an absolute hidden gem (although they continue to gain more and more recognition across the globe). Mt. Bohemia is a Mecca for epic pow days. Whether you’re from the West, East, or Midwest you must get to Northern Michigan and experience this place.
The West gets all the hype when it comes to skiing in North America. It deserves hype, skiing in the Western half of the continent is unreal. We here at Skis.com feel that it is important that you don’t sleep on the skiing in the rest of country. You can still get phenomenal skiing in on all types of terrain. Skiers of all abilities can find what they are looking for in the Midwest and the East. Plus we think the people are some of the best people on the mountain… we may be a bit biased in that though.