There’s a lot of great things about living in Chicago (the people, the sports teams, the hot dogs, the best pizza in the world) but let’s face it, the winters leave a bit to be desired. Cue Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports in Lisle for some much-needed winter fun for the whole family just 45 minutes west of Chicago. From ski and snowboard lessons for beginners of all ages to a challenging terrain park for the most adventurous of boarders, Four Lakes is the close-by cure for your winter blues.

The Basics

Maria Chambers

Four Lakes has been turning ordinary flatlanders into bona fide skiers and boarders through its Ski and Snowboard School programs for sixty years. A member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America, Four Lakes’ teaching methods are up-to-the-minute, reflecting the latest technical understanding and methodologies. Their experienced instructors make learning how to ski and board fun and safe, so you can rest assured that you and your mini snow carvers are in good hands.

Why It's Great for Budding Boarders and Skiers

Four Lakes is a great starter hill for kids with a budding interest in snow play. The facility itself is very small and is perfect when you're just looking for a couple hours of exhilarating fun, but aren't necessarily wanting to make a weekend of it. The hill little ones learn on is small, but not so small they get bored quickly. It'll take a couple of tries to master, but the tow rope makes getting to the top easy-peasy. Best of all, there's ample parking right at the entrance of the hill, so no lugging equipment (or tired skiers) too far.

Insider tip: If you're planning on hitting the hill regularly, we'd recommend investing in a pair of gloves with grippers on the palms. It helps little hands grip the tow rope and protects the gloves from tearing.

Ski School. . . Not Just a Great ‘90s Movie

ski, snowboarding, snow, winter fun, kids skiing
Kovshenya from Pixabay

Have a budding Bode Miller or mini-Lindsey Vonn on your hands? Four Lakes offers lessons for all ages and skill levels, both for skis and snowboarding. For the 2021-22 season, these lessons will be private or semi-private to reduce contact students have with each other on the hill. One-on-one private lessons are $60/hour. Semi-private lessons will be limited to 2-5 students per class and run $35/hour. Both private and semi-private lessons are typically available 7 days a week. 

Small, but Mighty

Four Lakes isn’t just for beginners. It's a great place to brush up on your skills before that vacation to Vermont or Vail. The entire area is open to skiers and snowboarders of any level, and they also offer race training for skiers and a terrain park with a variety of boxes, rails and pipes. Whatever your level of experience, Four Lakes can accommodate. Just ask any one of the 20,000 skiers and boarders who visited last season.

Day and Season Passes

You can purchase a season pass for $325 and rip it up on the pow pow (translation: ski or snowboard) from mid-December until the season’s over—usually late February or early March. Can’t commit to the whole season? Buy a daily pass when you get the itch—those range from $24-$30, depending on the day.

Birthday Parties

During non-COVID times, Four Lakes is a great place to throw a winter birthday party. The kids will enjoy getting outside in the fresh air for physical activity and you'll enjoy not having 15 kids in your home. Choose a package that includes slope tickets, lessons and rentals or any combination of the three. Pizza and unlimited soda are an additional fee, and they’ll block out a section of the cafeteria for your celebration.

‘Tis the season, so bundle up, grab your brain buckets (translation: helmets) and head to Four Lakes for outdoor fun this winter.  Be sure to check their website to make sure the hills are open.

Four Lakes Alpine Snowsports, 5750 Lakeside Dr., Lisle

—Maria Chambers & MaryKate Hickey

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