Perfect North — Serge Melke photo/CC 2.0
Paoli Peaks, Paoli • 70 skiable acres on 300′ vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 900′; Base elevation: 600′. 9 Lifts: 1 quad, 3 triples, 1 double, 3 surface, 1 magic carpet. Uphill Capacity: 11,200/hr. Terrain Mix: 25-65-10. Longest Run: 5300′ (?!). Season: usually December through March. Night Skiing 7 days; open all night Saturdays til 6:00 AM Sunday morning. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 18″. Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Any place that allows you to ski at four in the morning can’t be all that bad. Upside down (lodge at summit) little ski area with a couple of pleasant trails winding through the woods. Ideal for newbies through lower end intermediates; good service and very good instruction program. Considering size and proximity to population, Paoli does a good job of moving bodies back up the hill.
Perfect North Slopes, Lawrenceburg • 75 skiable acres on 400′ vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 800′; Base elevation: 400′. 9 Lifts: 3 quads, 2 triples, 4 rope tows. Uphill Capacity: 12,500/hr. Terrain Mix: 25-50-25. Longest Run: 2,640′. Season: usually December through late March. Night skiing 7 days; open til 3:00 am weekends. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 35″. Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Groundhog Day 2002 was a dark day in skiing history, for it was then that Perfect North elected to allow snowboarders on their hallowed grounds. It’s still arguably the best in the state; possibly the best in Illinois/Indiana/Ohio. Easy terrain, crowded at times, but a good little ski area. We salute Perfect North for holding out as long as they did.
Signature Trail: Clyde’s Super Slide.
Pines Peak Family Ski Area, Valparaiso • 15 skiable acres on 150′ vertical
Specs: Summit elevation: 868′; Base elevation: 718′. 4 Lifts: 1 quad, 3 surface. Longest Run: 1200′. Season: usually December through mid-March. Night Skiing Mon-Sat. Rentals. Annual Snowfall: 36″. Snowmaking: 100%.
The SKInny: Small ski area provides a great little recreation outlet for the Valparaiso area. The world needs more little tows like Pines Peak. Located at 674 Meridian Road, Valparaiso, IN 46385 phone number is 219-477-5993.
Pokagon State Park • XC & Toboggan Run
The SKInny: We don’t usually focus on places unless they offer lift-served skiing, but here we make an exception. Pokagon has a long history of cross country skiing, and the Toboggan Run is an absolutely cool, must-do, throwback winter activity. 90 foot drop over a quarter mile run; top recorded speed in excess of 40 miles an hour! Really we need more of these in the USA. Do yourself a favor, if you’re in the area, hop on this toboggan run before it becomes the victim of some idiotic budget cut.
Ski World has suspended skiing operations.
Lift Tickets at Discount: This is a “clearinghouse” of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia. If you haven’t used this service, it is important to knowfor certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long…so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets. I’ve used this service many times, but again, ONLY when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I’ve knocked a third off the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it’s well worth checking if you’ve got a date nailed down.