[All photos courtesy of Little Switzerland]
Located in the town of Slinger, about 45 minutes outside of Milwaukee, Little Switzerland provides an easy, low-cost option for Wisconsinites looking to make turns.
Ski Hill Shoutout: Shanty Creek Resorts
We get it; Wisconsin isn’t known for downhill skiing. Nevertheless, Little Switz is one of 21 ski areas located in the Badger State. Like most Midwestern ski areas, you won’t find large vertical relief stats at Little Switz. Wisconsin’s average vert hovers just around 325′. Don’t be discouraged. Little Switz makes up for limited vertical with interesting terrain, a cool retro feel, friendly staff, an impressive lift system, and affordable skiing.
What makes Little Switz unique? For starters, the hill sports one of the funkiest lift systems in North America. Two double chairs (center-pole Riblets) go up the front side and unload at the summit. However, rather than spinning around a bull wheel (like almost every other chair in existence), the lift continues down the back side and serve as a second chairlift! According to our friends over at Chairlift.org, Little Switz is the only ski area in the United States actively utilizing such a system. We’re fans. When you have a limited amount of vertical terrain, why not attempt to use every last bit of it!
Opened in 1941, Little Switz is likely one of the Midwest’s oldest ski areas. Originally modeled after an alpine swiss canton, Little Switz paved the way for similar developments such as Mittersill in New Hampshire and Magic Mountain in Vermont. Unfortunately, like so many small ski areas, the hill ran into tough times and closed its doors in 2007. However, the draw of imitation swiss ski villages must be high, because just like Mittersill and Magic, the hill reopened its doors for the 2012-2013 season.
In 2012, three brothers Rick, Mike, and David Schmitz purchased the mountain after being dormant for five years. Rick had bought Nordic Mountain seven years earlier.
“Feels Just Like the Swiss Alps!”
After seeing how much fun Rick was having running Nordic, Mike and David decided to join in. Today the mountain is in the midst of a multi-year multimillion dollar facelift and getting better every year.
Little Switz might not be the largest ski hill out there but that doesn’t stop them from taking advantage of every inch. Within the 50 acres of skiable terrain they pack 18 trails, three terrain parks, and two different faces providing a variety of views. The hill offers a little for everyone. Looking to teach your little ones how to get rad? Start them out in a B93.3 FM beginner area (everyone’s got bills to pay…) Are you interested in some freestyle? Hit up the Switz 41 Park. Test your skills on Holy Switz! Looking for a little of everything? Hit up Turnpike a green cruiser with mountain bike features dotting the side.
A few years ago, the new owners were approached by some local mountain bikers. The locals asked if they could work together developing some trails. Now the hill sports a nice little mountain bike network. If there isn’t any snow, give their mountain biking trails a try.
- The town of Slinger also plays host to its very own Speedway!
- Little Switzerland opened on December 7th, 194,1 otherwise known as Pearl Harbor Day. Out of respect for the loss that day, no 75-year anniversary will be held.
- The hill has an official policy banning drones.
- Last year the Switz Bike Park was voted the Best Bike Park in the best in the Midwest by mtbparks.com
Vertical Drop: 200′
Average Snowfall: 45″
Skiable Terrain: 50 Acres
Chairlifts: 4 Double Chairs, or two, depending how you look at it…
Surface lifts: 2 Rope Tows, 2 Handle Tows
Terrain Parks: 3
Night Skiing: Yes
Adult Full Day Lift Ticket: $44, discounts for night, midweek, partial day, etc.
About the Ski Hill Shout Out:
Few skiers have the privilege of learning in fantastic destination resorts such as Jackson Hole, Whistler, or Squaw Valley. Instead, most of us fell in love with the sport shredding a local hill. We came to these (often smaller) local hills because they offered easy access, low prices, and accessibility. Sadly, many of these local hills have either died or are struggling to survive. At Unofficial, we understand that these hills are the lifeblood of our sport. Through this feature, we hope to raise awareness of these smaller ski areas, and if possible, direct a few readers their way.