South Dakota may not be the first state that you think of when you are planning a skiing vacation, but with some of the highest mountains east of the Rockies, it is worthy of being on your radar. The state is home to Harney Peak, which has a summit elevation of 7,242 feet. Although there are no ski resorts on Harney Peak, there are a few clustered nearby. The Black Hills area also affords visitors ample opportunities for cross country skiing.
Here’s a look at a few places that you may want to consider:
1. Terry Peak Ski Area
The Terry Peak Ski Area is located in Lead and features a terrain park, half-pipe and over 30 miles of trails with a 1,100-foot vertical drop. It is considered to have one of the highest summits east of the Rocky Mountains. It is open daily from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and single-day lift ticket prices start at $16 per person.
2. Mystic Miner Ski Resort
The Mystic Miner Ski Resort at Deer Mountain is located on Deer Mountain Road in Lead. It features a 6,850-foot summit and 44 trails with 850 feet on one side of the mountain and 650 feet of vertical on the other. Sleigh rides, a terrain park and snow tubing are also available on site. It is open daily with varying hours of operation. Lift ticket prices start at $30 per person.
3. Great Bear Recreation Park
The Great Bear Recreation Park is located 3 miles south of Sioux Falls. It features a terrain park, 14 trails and a family friendly snow tubing park. What helps really set it apart from the rest of South Dakota’s ski areas is that it also caters to disabled skiers. Adaptive ski equipment rentals are available free of charge and lessons are available for a fee. It is open daily and lift ticket prices start at $20 per person.
4. Black Hills National Forest
If you love cross country skiing trails, the Black Hills National Forest should have an exalted place on your travel itinerary. It is located 15 miles from the downhill ski resorts in Lead. There are 11 different cross country ski trail systems to choose from, spread out over four ranger districts. The Spearfish Canyon Trail System in the northern hills tends to be the best, in my opinion. The canyon was crafted by ancient, volcanic activity and a primordial sea, which makes for interesting vistas. Park entrance is gratis.
My family enjoys winter sports and has traveled extensively.
More from this contributor:
History of the Campbell Straw Built Museum in Carthage, South Dakota
Tri-State Museum in Belle Fourche, South Dakota
Top 7 Caves to Explore in South Dakota
Best 5 Ski Destinations in Wisconsin for Vertical Drops