Ski Resort Life

2002 Number 10 Resort in the Midwest: Whitecap Mountains, Wis.


Whitecap Mountains makes the Top 10 for the second year in a row, mainly on the strength of its second No. 1 finish in the Terrain category. “Closest thing to the feeling of big resort terrain in the Midwest,” a reader says. Indeed, just off Lake Superior in the Ponokee Mountain Range in northern Wisconsin, Whitecap has stormed onto the Midwest ski scene and captured the imagination of the region’s skiers. With three peaks and 36 trails, Whitecap “has quite a bit of terrain for the Midwest” and “lots of choices for every ability,” readers say. Becoming swiftly notorious are the double-blacks off Whitecap’s Eagles Nest Mountain-four heart-thumpers that require passing a ski-patrol test before you’re granted permission to venture in. The Dragon and Southern Cross are as tough as any chutes anywhere. Not to worry, though, if your life insurance premiums are not up to date, both Whitecap Mountain and the south face of Thunderhead Mountain have huge expanses of novice trails, and Thunderhead North is home to some nifty intermediate runs that snake through a forest. Along with the reputation for top terrain, Whitecap has created a second unique niche in Midwest skiing by fashioning itself after Swiss villages. Its buildings are positioned as a town square, and one of the resort’s hotels, the Davos Inn, is located on the side of the ski hill. Small touches, like naming the ski runs after European resorts and offering a wine hut at the bottom of Thunderhead Mountain, all add to the inviting atmosphere.

WHAT’S NEW Whitecap Lodge, the resort’s second hotel, is now complete; an expanded Ski and Snowboard Rental Center, with 100 new sets of skis and boots.

A GOOD DEAL The Turkey Trot Thanksgiving Weekend Package, $129 per person (minimum two people): three nights’ lodging, Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday night and three days skiing included. Call 800-933-7669 or visit

HIGH/LOW MIDWEST RANK Terrain (1), Challenge (2), Weather (3); Service (14), Lifts (15), Grooming (15).

DON’T MISS Breakfast at the Olde World Bakery located in the Day Lodge. Try the fresh baked Danish, cinnamon rolls, or raspberry tortes, along with the deep mocha coffee.

READER REMARKS (+) “Adventurous little mountain; good use of terrain.” (-) “Crumbling buildings; few ski patrollers.”