Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area
Address: 13421 Mann Street, Jones MI 49061
Time from Chicago: 2 hours, 15 minutes (123 miles)
Hills: 11 runs, some up to 225 feet
Skiing at Swiss Valley
Hey Chicago residents, don’t forget about Michigan when it comes to finding good winter ski spots. The town of Jones is the home of Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area, which has 11 runs, 7 lifts and a hill of 225 feet.
The drive to Jones is just over two hours, depending on traffic, making it a perfectly acceptable day trip. Here’s a look at the Swiss Valley trail map, which shows that the hills are split nicely between beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Night skiing is available on all trails, plus both terrain parks, which provide a chance for skiers and snowboarders to work on stunts and tricks.
As of the 13-14 season, basic adult rates for weekdays run $30 per person, going up to $36-38 on weekends. However, there are lots of discounts and promotional programs that can allow to you pay less, including a Sunday Family Fun Day, Saturday 2-for-1 discounts of evening skiing, holiday bargains on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and reduced prices for kids, seniors, military members and college students.
Swiss Valley offers instructional programs and events for kids and women, so there’s always something going on. All necessary ski equipment is available for rental.
Swiss Valley began as ‘Little Switzerland’ in 1960 before being purchased in 1968 by its current owner, who drastically upgraded the place. Located not far from South Bend, the resort boasts that many Notre Dame students come use its trails, including Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana back in his university days.
Keep an eye on the venue’s website for special events. This past winter, Swiss Valley had a cool New Year’s Eve event in which skiers held lighted torches at midnight, creating a super-cool scene on the slopes.