Paoli Peaks, IN

The Most Challenging Ski Areas in the Midwest

The Midwest Region of the US is not thought of as a hotbed of great ski resorts. While none are as big as the slopes in the Rockies or Pacific Northwest, there are still a number of challenging resorts, especially in Michigan.

Explaining our Criteria

Here at Parks & Trips, we created a proprietary Difficulty Score thats generated by combining a number of metrics for each resort. Primarily, we look at the count of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort.

Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then gives each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.

Mount Bohemia: The Most Difficult Ski Resort in the Midwest

Mount Bohemia

Mount Bohemia is one of the hardest ski areas in the country. It ranks in the top 10% of most-difficult ski resorts in all of North America, mostly due to the fact that it has 93% of its trails rated as expert-level, and a vertical drop of 900 feet.

Mountain Stats

Summit:  1,500′
Vertical:  900′
Base:  600′

Terrain Stats

Trails:  105
Lifts:  2
Acres:  450

Trail Breakdown

Beginner:  0%
Intermediate:  7%
Expert:  93%

More Information…

Mount Bohemia in Michigan is not only the most challenging ski resort in the Midwest, but it is also one of the top 20 most difficult resorts in the whole US (currently #16 at the time of this writing).

Mount Bohemia has actually made various Top 10 lists across the country for how difficult it is, and it has zero easy trails. With over 450 skiable acres, 93% of which are rated “Expert”, this resort is a destination for many avid skiers.

Second place goes to Indianhead Resort in Michigan due to it having the highest summit in the region, as well as 50% of its trails being rated as “Expert”.

Michigan is an absolute powerhouse in the Midwest region, with 5 of its ski resorts claiming spots in our top 10 here. Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio have other ski resorts that make up the other five most difficult Midwest slopes.

Top 25 Challenging Midwest Ski Resorts

RankResortSummit Elev.Vertical DropExpert TrailsDifficulty Score
#1Mount Bohemia (MI)1,500 ft900 ft93%71.5%
#2Big Snow (Indianhead Mountain) (MI)1,935 ft638 ft50%47.4%
#3Cannonsburg (MI)1,100 ft250 ft55%44.6%
#4Lutsen Mountains (MN)1,913 ft825 ft32%44.0%
#5Mont Ripley (MI)1,140 ft440 ft48%43.3%
#6Marquette Mountain (MI)1,357 ft600 ft35%41.6%
#7Blackjack (MI)1,650 ft465 ft40%40.9%
#8Sunburst (WI)1,100 ft234 ft45%40.5%
#9Camp 10 (WI)1,739 ft230 ft45%40.5%
#10Mad River (OH)1,460 ft300 ft44%40.3%
#11Boston Mills Brandywine (OH)660 ft240 ft46%39.1%
#12Mt. Holly (MI)1,105 ft350 ft39%38.8%
#13Mt. Crescent (IA)1,500 ft300 ft37%38.6%
#14Nordic Mountain (WI)1,137 ft265 ft35%38.2%
#15Big Powderhorn (MI)1,800 ft600 ft33%37.6%
#16Granite Peak (WI)1,924 ft700 ft35%37.3%
#17Ski Brule (MI)1,861 ft500 ft30%37.3%
#18Mount Kato (MN)540 ft240 ft37%37.2%
#19Wilmot Mountain (WI)1,030 ft230 ft40%35.9%
#20Tyrol Basin (WI)1,160 ft300 ft39%35.4%
#21Cascade Mountain (WI)1,280 ft460 ft38%35.3%
#22Caberfae Peaks (MI)1,545 ft485 ft34%35.3%
#23Spirit Mountain (MN)1,320 ft700 ft27%35.0%
#24Coffee Mill (MN)1,150 ft425 ft36%34.9%
#25Mt. La Crosse (WI)1,110 ft516 ft30%34.8%