You don't take your vacations sitting down-a winter getaway has to involve skis, sleds, snow and a surge of adrenaline.
Snowboarding at Cascade Mountain
Distance 200 miles
Travel time 3 hours
Don’t miss Nearby Paradise City (W11208 Hwy 33 Portage, WI, 608-745-0505), a gentleman’s club that boasts “the only glass-overhead stage in the nation”
Cascade maintains a top rep with snowboarders, catering to radicals with four terrain parks outfitted with obstacles, a superpipe and halfpipe, and also to families with a snowtubing park, beginner slopes and a modest hill (460 feet). Its biggest advantage is technological. The park features an automated snow-making system, allowing it to open in mid-November. The combination of man-made and natural snow keeps the north-facing side of the Baraboo Bluffs at a happy medium—neither too slushy nor fluffy.
For its size, the mountain sports a diverse set of runs—most painfully short. The bunny slopes on the west side of the hill keep beginners out of experts’ way. Nine black-diamond runs won’t wow West Coasters, but should keep skiers entertained between the mogul fields and sharp descents. Rentals ($34–$44), lessons ($20 for 90-minute group instruction) and lift tickets aren’t dirt cheap—bargain hunters should opt for the three-day lift pass ($88).
There’s no lodging at Cascade, but nearby Lake Delton has plenty of off-season vacancies—and offbeat dining. If your bluff-battered bod craves spa services, flat screens and a rain shower après-ski, opt for the well-equipped condos at Rhapsody Resort & Spa (1010 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI, 866-403-3557, artistaresorts.com; $100–$300/night), some facing iced-over Lake Delton.
In the morning, make a beeline to Denny’s Diner (2 Munroe St, at Hwy 12 and Rte 23, 608-254-7647)—don’t worry, it’s not that chain—for housemade cinnamon buns. For brunch or lunch, there’s the quaint Cheese Factory Restaurant (521 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, 608-253-6065), which boasts an old-fashioned soda fountain, a vegetarian menu and housemade desserts.
W10441 Cascade Mountain Rd, Portage, WI, 800-992-2SKI, cascademountain.com