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Skiing and snowboarding work up an appetite, no doubt about it. And unless you’re a local, you’re also going to need a place to bunk overnight so you can hit the slopes refreshed in the morning.

Here’s a list of dining and lodging suggestions from a handful of Midwest areas, some of which are destination resorts with their own hotels and restaurants. At others, you’ll have to venture a bit to nearby towns and cities for eats and lodgings.

Crystal Mountain

Located in northern Michigan about 30 miles southwest of Traverse City, Crystal Mountain has eight lifts, 58 runs spread out over 102 acres, three terrain parks, a vertical drop of 375 feet.

Dropping in the Gorge. PHOTO CREDIT: Crystal Mountain

For lodging, resort spokesman Brian Lawson recommends Crystal’s Inn at the Mountain, which has 25 new hotel rooms that were part of a $12 million expansion right in the heart of the resort and include floor to ceiling windows and balconies with views of the slopes and village.  

He also likes the MountainTop Townhomes. Many of these two and three-bedroom accommodations near the top of the Crystal Clipper chairlift feature mudrooms with doors that exit right onto the slopes. A third option is the Bungalows at Crystal Glen. The three- and four-bedroom arts and crafts-style bungalows are just steps away from the Buck chairlift and surround a bonfire area great for sharing time with friends and family après ski.

To sate your appetite, he recommends the Thistle Pub & Grille, a Scottish-themed restaurant with a diverse menu from the hearty Guinness Beef Stew to the Peak Performance Organic Scottish Salmon to its famous Thistle Fries covered in truffle butter, parmesan and roasted garlic aioli.  Then there’s the Wild Tomato, which is open peak days for lunch and dinner. But he said breakfast is the time to visit the Wild Tomato, just be to sample the local maple syrup. A short drive away from the resort – or a long snowshoe hike – is the Iron Fish Distillery where you can sample pizza from a wood-fired oven and sip craft cocktails from Michigan’s only farm distillery.

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Sundown Mountain

It’s true, Iowa does have skiing. Sundown Mountain, located in the hills west of Dubuque, has a respectable (for the Midwest) vertical drop of 475 feet, 21 runs carved out of a cedar forest, two terrain parks, six lifts and two lodges.

Sundown Mountain

For lodging, Mark Gordon, Sundown’s general manager recommends the luxurious Hotel Julien in downtown Dubuque.  Named for French Canadian Julien Dubuque, who took up residence in the area in the late 1700s, it has 133 posh rooms, the Potosa spa and Caroline’s fine-dining restaurants.  Other options are the Holiday Inn Express, which is just several miles from the resort, or the Richards House B&B.

Gordon is big on the Brazen Open Kitchen, a farm-to-table restaurant whose chef was recently featured on Top Chef.  Other options are L. May Eatery, for pizza, beer and comfort foot; and Pepper Sprout, noted for its bison tenderloin and peanut-crusted walleye.

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Devil’s Head

This destination resort is 30 miles north of Madison, nine miles southeast of Baraboo and just a stone’s throw from the picturesque Devil’s Lake State Park. Devil’s Head is popular with locals and Chicago-area residents, boasting a 500-foot vertical drop, five quad chair lifts, one triple, one double and two Magic Carpets.

Devil’s Head

This destination resort is 30 miles north of Madison, nine miles southeast of Baraboo and just a stone’s throw from the picturesque Devil’s Lake State Park. Devil’s Head is popular with locals and Chicago-area residents, boasting a 500-foot vertical drop, five quad chair lifts, one triple, one double and two Magic Carpets.

Spokesman Joe Vittengl (correct spelling) said his resort has 250 slope-side rooms, suites, condos and four restaurants that many skiers and riders patronize when they visit.  If Devil’s Head is full, he recommends the Clarion Hotel in Baraboo. Or for something more intimate, there’s the Ringling House B&B, which was once owned by a member of the famed Ringling Brothers Circus.

For eats, the Cornucopia room at Devil’s Head features gourmet dining and is known for its steaks, while the Avalanche is a good place for pizza and subs. Dante’s and the Cliff House cafeteria are more casual. In Baraboo, Vittengl recommends the Little Village Cafe, which serves wraps and food with a West Coast influence; or the sports-bar/restaurant Baraboo Burger Company, which is known for its steaks, burgers and beers.

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Cascade Mountain

Don’t be surprised if you hear Russian or Polish spoken while you’re skiing or riding at Cascade Mountain Resort, especially around the outdoor fire pits  where emigres often cook their kielbasas and sardelkas.  Cascade, which is 40 miles north of Madison and about five miles southwest of Portage, has a 460-foot vertical drop, 11 lifts, 45 trails, four terrain parks and a tubing hill with 900-foot-long chutes.

For dining, Cascade spokesman Evan Walz recommends Suzy’s Steakhouse in Portage for its steaks, seafood and cocktails.  He described Jack’s Tap (no website), also in Portage, as one of his personal favorites for its casual, sports-bar atmosphere, sandwiches, burgers, fish fries and beers. For pizzas, he likes Uno’s Pizzeria in Lake Delton.

When it comes to lodging, he said many customers stay in the Wisconsin Dells area, which is 15 miles to the west. He recommends the Kalahari Resort, which has a huge indoor waterpark, a climbing wall, hundreds of rooms and several restaurants.  The Best Western Motel, which is next to Suzy’s Steakhouse, and the Comfort Inn and Suites, are two other reasonable options close to Cascade.

Tyrol Basin

Nestled in the folded hills of the Driftless Area in southwest Wisconsin – about 20 miles west of Madison and five miles north of Mount Horeb – the terrain parks at Tyrol Basin have long been a draw for skiers and snowboarders from northern Illinois and the southern reaches of the Badger State.

Now under new ownership that promises to spiff up the resort and add snow tubing by next year, Tyrol has 18 runs, three lifts, a rope tow and a magic carpet for getting skiers and boarders up its hill, which has a vertical drop of 300 feet.

The resort’s restaurant and tavern is in a restored, 100-year-old dairy barn, which new majority owner Nathan McGree said serves delicious burgers, sandwiches, a variety of local and national beers, as well as some spicy pickle fries served with a dash of cayenne pepper.

In neighboring Mount Horeb, try the Grumpy Troll Brew Pub, which is known for its pizzas, burgers and beers.  For Mexican food in MoHo – as locals call it – go down the street to the Aztlan Grill (no website) and try its tacos, fajitas and Margaritas.  In downtown Madison, McGree recommends the Bassett Street Brunch Club, which serves brunch at any hour, as well as lots of other good food.

For lodging close to Tyrol, try the Grand Stay in Mount Horeb or the Deer Valley Lodge in nearby Barneveld. For something special, try the Mansion Hill Inn, a swank B&B in Madison.

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