South Dakota Skiing

There is something fun to do in every season in the Mount Rushmore State, and in the winter, those looking to ski in South Dakota will find plenty of places to go. In the Black Hills and beyond, well-equipped ski resorts and recreational areas come to life once the snow has fallen. While South Dakota might not always be the first place travelers think of for winter recreation, it's a destination with an increasing reputation as a winter sports getaway.

When vacationers are looking for South Dakota skiing in the eastern part of the state, they should consider Great Bear Ski Valley in Sioux Falls. With state of the art snowmaking capabilities, visitors can ski in South Dakota even if the weather isn't cooperating. Visitors of all ages and skill sets will find something fun to do, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and tubing. Great Bear has fourteen trails for downhill skiing, a designated area for beginners, and a conveyor lift. The snowboard area features a quad chairlift as well as a handle tow. Younger skiers can visit the Kirby Family Tubing Park; a custom-built lift system will save the trouble of walking uphill in the snow.

For Black Hills skiing, winter sports enthusiasts can plan to visit Terry Peak in the town of Lead. At 6,000 to 7,000 feet elevation, the mountain is the highest peak east of the Rockies in the continental US and often receives more snow than anywhere else in the region. And with the snowmaking system as well, winter travelers are sure to find excellent Black Hills skiing from the first days of season to the last. In addition to the downhill trails, Terry Peak is home to the Area '76 Freestyle Terrain Park for snowboarding and other pursuits. With lessons for all ages and equipment rentals, beginners are always welcome.

Mystic Miner Ski Resort at Deer Mountain is another option for Black Hills skiing. Also located in Lead, the resort offers vacation packages, overnight accommodations, sleigh rides, and weekend night skiing, and winter sports enthusiasts will be in their element. In addition to the all of the options for South Dakota skiing, Mystic Miner offers a variety of other recreational spaces. Blizzard Park is set up for tubing, and the Atomic Shelf Terrain Park suits all skill levels.

However, South Dakota skiing doesn't always mean downhill. Throughout the state, there are miles of groomed trails perfect for cross-country skiing. And when you add in the backcountry, the options are nearly endless. In Pierre, the state capital, many scenic areas along the Missouri River and Oahe Dam are popular places for cross-country skiing, especially Oahe Downstream, LaFramboise Island, and Farm Island, one of the state parks.

The scenic national parks and other federally protected lands provide an interesting setting to cross-country ski in South Dakota. The Black Hills National Forest has four challenging trails—Big Hill, Bear Mountain, Eagle Cliff, and Beaver Creek and Bear Mountain—and visitors can also make their own paths. The mixed-grass prairie of Wind Cave National Park is another scenic place for cross-country skiing in South Dakota.

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