What do you do when the black diamonds in Colorado aren’t on the agenda this year, but you are still itching to hit the slopes? Well, just three hours northeast of Springfield, Hidden Valley Ski Resort in St. Louis County offers outdoor winter fun without the cost of a plane ticket.
Hit the Slopes
Hidden Valley Ski Resort, 17409 Hidden Valley Drive, Wildwood, 636-938-5373
Hidden Valley Ski Resort, just west of St. Louis, makes a terrific heart-pumping day trip for a sunny winter weekend. With 17 trails and more than 65 skiable acres, you can get your skiing or snowboarding fix without traveling too far. Two on-site terrain parks offer rails, jumps and other daring endeavors to brave snowboarders and skiers. The highest vertical drop at the resort is 320 feet, and you can be carried to the top on one of nine ski lifts, three carpet lifts or a rope tow. It’s okay to visit if you don’t have skiing experience. Just like at a Rocky Mountain Resort, you or your kiddos can spend the day in ski school where you’ll learn the basics of the sport through lessons at Hidden Valley’s Snowsports Academy. Downhill tubing even offers a powdery alternative to anyone not brave enough to tackle the hillside on their feet.
Grab a Bite
The Boathouse at Forest Park, 6101 Government Drive, St. Louis, 314-366-1555
After you’ve worked up an appetite skiing, venture a little farther west into St. Louis’s Forest Park, and stop for dinner at the Boathouse, where you can sip cocktails and munch on treats like sticky Szechuan spare sandwiches like the Sugarfire pulled pork with jalapeño honey slaw. The location is a perfect jumping off point for other Forest Park activities, like paddling around on the park’s waterways or taking a walk under the trees.
Strap on Skates
Steinberg Skating Rink, 400 Jefferson Drive, St. Louis, 314-367-7465
When the sun goes down, your chilly activities don’t have to end. There’s still plenty of winter fun to be had! While you’re at Forest Park, indulge in some outdoor ice skating at Steinberg Skating Rink. It stays open late (until 9 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends), and everybody knows ice skating is a little sweeter and a little more sparkly when you do it at night—you can even grab a hot cocoa there afterward to warm your fingers. (Tip: Bring cash; it’s the only kind of money that’s good there.) Speaking of warming up, be sure to dress in layers.