Picture this. You’re cozy in your bed on a Saturday morning. A bright light peeks out from the curtains. You pull back the shades and see your neighborhood blanketed in snow. Madison is so quickly (and so often!) transformed into a winter wonderland. On average, madison gets 38.7 days of snowfall per year.  It ignites a child-like excitement throughout the city. Snowfall means one thing: LOTS of opportunity for snow-ventures. A foolproof way to enjoy a Wisconsin winter to its fullest is to take advantage of the nearby ski slopes. Here is a list of the best ski hills and resorts near Madison:

Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding Resorts Near Madison

Blackhawk Ski Club

Blackhawk is one of Madison’s most popular ski resorts. It’s located only 20 minutes from downtown. It was founded in 1947 by a group of local ski-jumpers searching for a new terrain. Now it’s a registered non-profit. Blackhawk is dedicated to teaching youth to enjoy a lifetime of outdoor sports through safe practices. The resort is home to over 60 acres of land and includes downhill and cross country ski trails, mountain bike trails, ski jumps, and a ski patrol for safety. Read about membership information here. 

Tyrol Basin

Tyrol Basin is only a 35-minute drive from downtown. It has 16 different runs, of all skill levels. Beginners and experts can both enjoy themselves here. Not up for the challenge of learning how to ski or snowboard? Still want to enjoy fun-in-the-snow? Tyrol Basin offers snow tubing too. And it’s only $25 for 4 hours of tubing! You can find more information about Tyrol Basin season passes and day passes here. 

Devils Head Resort

Devil’s Head is a slightly longer drive than the first two resorts. It’s located 50 minutes north of downtown Madison. It was named one of the Midwest’s 10 best ski resorts. Its diverse terrain suits skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. There are 30 different runs of all skill levels. The longest is 1 ½ miles. The resort includes non-ski entertainment as well. There are fantastic hiking trails nearby. Parfrey’s Glen will take you through a glacier-cut ravine. Devil’s Lake State Park features cliffs, beaches, and rock climbing. You can also visit the Ho-Chunk Casino or the Wollersheim Winery. Rooms, suites, and condos are available in the resort lodge. Devil’s Head is a great all-around option for a quick weekend getaway.

Cascade Mountain

Cascade Mountain is a 1,200-foot mountain located 45 minutes north of downtown Madison. Their largest vertical drop is 450 feet, making it a prime spot for skiers and snowboarders. They also have an 800 ft long snow tubing shute. With over 175 acres and over 47 ski runs, it’s the most extensive ski destination in the area. For a sneak peek of what you may be getting yourself into, check out their live snow cam. Learn more about lodging, season passes, and rates, here.

Cross Country Skiing in Madison

You don’t even have to leave the Madison municipality to enjoy cross country skiing.  If you’re new in town and hoping to meet new people, Madison Nordic Ski Club (also known as Madnorski) is a great option. The club is a hot spot for social networking with like-minded winter sports lovers. A membership with Madnorski will get you free lessons, race discounts, youth programs, free beer at club meetings, and more. Here are a few places around town where you can strap-on your cross country skis:

Elver Park

Elver Park is a  lovely city park that offers miles of groomed cross-country ski trails. When snow is a bit sparse, they incorporate man-made snow loops. This keeps recreation active during dry streaks. Find more information about ski rentals at Elver Park here. 

Navigate to Elver Park

Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park – South

There are 3.1 miles of classic cross-country skiing trails through the marsh. Along the way only, you may see migrating waterfowl or Great Blue Heron. The marsh acts as a living filter for Lake Mendota. Dane County Schools often use the park to teach students about environmental education.  There is no trail fee to ski at the conservation park.  

Navigate to Cherokee Marsh Conservation Park- South.

Door Creek Park

This park offers a free, 1-mile ski trail. It will take you through hilly woods, perfect for classic skiing. This park is a better option for intermediate skiers.

Navigate to Door Creek Park.

Lake Farm Park

If camping is your thing, Lake Farm Park is a good option for you. You can enjoy a dual lake-recreation and cross country skiing weekend. They have 54 reservable campsites, and their ski trail is 5.3 miles long. The trail is suited for classic skiing and is rated as easy. If you’re taking a day trip, be prepared for a trail fee. The trail fee applies to both day visitors and those staying on the trail. The price goes towards the upkeep of the park. You’ll feel it’s justified once you utilize their clean, warm bathroom facilities!

Navigate to Lake Farm Park.

Odana Hills Golf Course

This cross-country trail is 3.5 miles long and is rated as easy. It’s suited for classic skiing and skating. You can expect a trail fee for this run. There are restrooms available, as well as a shelter. Ski rentals are also available at the Odana Club House, but only during the weekends.

Navigate to Odana Hills Golf Course.

Owen Conservation Park

This spot is located on a scenic hilltop overlooking the West side of Madison. During the summer, it’s a breeding ground for wildflowers like coneflower and bluestem. But in the winter, you can enjoy 1.6 miles of classic cross-country skiing. This trail is rated as intermediate and is free to use.

Navigate to Owen Conservation Park.

Turville Point Conservation Park

Turville Point is an excellent option for night skiing. It’s an ideal spot to get a skiing fix after a long day at work. It’s sheltered from the wind and benefits from light pollution from downtown lights. There are 3.1 miles of classic skiing trails. Trails are rated as both easy and intermediate.  

Navigate to Turville Point Conservation Park

University Ridge Golf Course

This scenic spot is situated on the ridge that marks the end of the Wisconsin Glacier. Classical skiing trails are open from 9 am to 5 pm, seven days a week. There are 10.5 miles of ski trails that accommodate all skill levels. You can expect a trail fee to adventure here. But afterward, you’re welcome to enjoy food and drink at the clubhouse.

Navigate to University Ridge Gold Course.

UW Arboretum

The UW Arboretum has an extensive trail system with over 1200 acres on its property. They’ve designated over 10 miles to cross country skiing. There is no trail fee, but they ask that you are careful to stay on trails designated specifically for skiers.

Navigate to the UW Arboretum.

Yahara Hills Golf Course

This trail offers 4.1 miles of classic ski and skate trails. Their courses are suited for both beginner and intermediate skiers. There is a trail fee required. During the winter months, their clubhouse is closed, and no rentals are available.  

Navigate to Yahara Hills Golf Course

Gearing Up

If you’re new to the area or trying skiing for the first time, it’s essential to dress for the occasion. Ultimately, you won’t enjoy anything if you’re not comfortable! Base layers and ski clothes are crucial. We love supporting local outfitters. If you’re in the market for some gear, check out:

Chalet Ski and Patio

GS Ski Tunes & Alpine Race Shop

Focus Board shop

Erik’s Bike and Board

Once you’ve hit the slopes, send us a photo of your latest snow venture!