A Midwest winter is typically cold and long with an average of 100 days of below-freezing temps, around 20 inches of snowfall, and a chance for a few big snowstorms each year. You may wonder just how ski resorts near St. Louis, MO, manage to operate with so little annual snowfall.
The answer is simple; the owners of these ski locations have invested heavily in world-class snowmaking equipment, turning ski resorts close to St. Louis into the perfect place for some much-needed fun in the snow. Considering the innumerable recreational activities Missouri boasts, it’s only natural that there would be a few ski resorts near St. Louis that offer some pretty awesome features for winter sports lovers.
There is a surprising amount of off-season attractions in St. Louis, from Christmas markets, parades, and amazing light festivals to jaw-dropping theatrical shows and professional sporting events. Still, to most people, nothing compares to shredding the gnar in the “Show-Me State”.
From December to March people from all over the south and Midwest flock to the mountains just to experience all that these ski resorts have to offer.
Here are the 3 closest ski resorts near St. Louis, MO, in order of proximity:
Hidden Valley Ski Resort – Wildwood, MO: 30 miles | 35 minutes
Known for being Missouri’s largest ski destination, Hidden Valley Ski Resort has been in operation since 1982. Ranking #6 small ski area in North America and #1 overall in Missouri, it features over 60 acres of skiable terrain. One of the Midwest’s most powerful snowmaking systems allows them to be open an average of 80 days from December to March.
Some of the perks you can enjoy include a 320-foot vertical drop, convenient equipment rentals on-site, dine-in cafeteria-style restaurants, and so much more. There are a total of 9 lifts that service the mountain, two terrain parks with a total of 17 runs to choose from that are mainly aimed at intermediate skiers. But if you’re a beginner, don’t worry.
The resort features a first-class Snow Sports Academy that offers lessons for all ages and abilities. And don’t forget the Polar Plunge Tubing Area with up to 16 lanes — fun for the whole family!
To get some of the best deals on tickets, it’s recommended that you plan your trip online at least seven days ahead of your visit, which also allows you to be sure they aren’t sold out of tickets when you arrive. Skiing during the week gives you a few advantages: get the best prices on tickets plus more privacy on the mountain.
This resort has implemented Covid-19 vaccination requirements for anyone choosing to eat onsite at one of their restaurants but don’t let this slow you down! There are plenty of nearby restaurants to choose from and most of them are within a 10-minute drive.
Planning to stay more than a day? There are lots of hotels nearby.
Don’t forget to purchase your tickets ahead of time and check with the website before planning your trip to be sure there are no closures.
Paoli Peaks- Paoli, IN: 239 miles | 3 hours, 44 minutes
This alpine ski resort sits two states over, nestled in the small town of Paoli, Indiana. Built on a natural hill with a 900 ft. elevation, it features 65 acres of skiable terrain which includes a 300 ft. vertical drop. Open since 1978, this resort is truly a must-ski, ranking #4 in small ski areas in North America.
Despite the unpredictable weather in the area, abundant snowmaking capabilities allow for all 65 acres to be covered overnight once the temperatures fall below 30°. Similar to other Midwest ski resorts, they’re normally in operation from mid-December to mid-March depending on the temperatures.
Their 17 runs are mostly geared towards beginners, but there’s a little something for everyone with 47% beginner runs, 33% intermediate, 13% advanced, and even 7% for expert skiers.
Other awesome accommodations to expect include skiing/snowboarding lessons and multiple options for on-site dining.
Normally, the 700-foot Arctic Blast Tubing Park is up and running but unfortunately, this season it will remain closed with hopes of reopening for the 2022-2023 ski season.
This ski location also has vaccination requirements for dining-in that you can review on their website. This shouldn’t spoil your plans since you have the option of eating at any restaurant in the area, allowing you to check out one of the small-town diners nearby.
There are also plenty of lodging options available within a 15-minute drive.
Snow Creek Ski Area – Weston MO: 286 miles | 4 hours, 10 minutes
Opened in 1986, Snow Creek Ski Area is perched high on the bluffs above the Missouri River. This ski park is the 2nd and only other one of its kind in the state of Missouri, ranking #7 small ski area in North America and #1 for beginner terrain in the state. With a 300-foot vertical drop and a 700-foot-long; five-lane Snow Tube Park, it’s an understatement to say it’s a blast for the entire family.
There are a total of 12 runs that are mostly geared toward intermediate skiers. 33% are beginner-friendly, 8% are advanced runs, leaving 58% intermediate runs.
Some of the features to expect include skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, a kids’ and women’s’ program, skiing and snowboarding lessons, and equipment rentals making it extremely beginner-friendly. It also features 60 snowmaking machines allowing the resort to be open mid-December through mid-March depending on temperatures.
For convenience, daily locker rentals are available to help prevent personal belongings from being lost on the slopes.
Proof of Covid-19 vaccinations are required for dining in, however, you are welcome to bring your own personal food and non-alcoholic beverages or to enjoy any of the many nearby restaurants. The historic town of Weston, Missouri also offers plenty of lodging options.
For the best experience, it’s recommended to purchase lift tickets and reserve equipment rentals in advance.
Now that you know all about the three ski resorts closest to St. Louis, MO, have an awesome time skiing and be sure to tell everyone you skied the flatlands in tornado alley.