Things to Do This Winter in Chicago: Outdoor Activities

Entry-level venues for winter sports, three mountains for great skiing, and a park-and-walk guide to winter fun around the Loop

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RELATED: Our calendar of things to do this winter—from December to February »

Climb Every Mountain

The less experienced a skier you are, the closer to the city your downhill thrills.

1 HOUR AWAY
For beginners, the bunny hill at VILLA OLIVIA is the best. It’s a 180-foot vertical drop and a quarter-mile run. Lessons are available. A day pass plus boot and ski rental is $65. 1401 W. Lake St., Bartlett; 630-289-1000, villaolivia.com

3 HOURS AWAY
CASCADE MOUNTAIN offers 36 ski trails; more than a third of them are suitable for beginners. The vertical drop here is 460 feet. A day pass is $45. Snowboarding lessons are available too. W10441 Cascade Mountain Rd., Portage, Wis.; 800-992-2754, cascademountain.com

5 HOURS AWAY
Refresh your skills with lessons at CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN RESORT & SPA and then hit some of the 45 slopes, three terrain parks, or the cross-country course. When you’re all worn out, retreat to the lodge or the spa. The lift ticket is $45 to $50 a day; rentals and lodging are extra. 12500 Crystal Mountain Dr., Thompsonville, Mich.; 800-968-7686, crystalmountain.com
 

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