The Hidden Valley Ski Area in Missouri is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to the Hidden Valley Ski Area, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsLocated about 30 miles outside St. Louis, the Hidden Valley Ski Area is in Wildwood, Missouri. The resort typically opens in late December and stays open through February, averaging 70 ski days per year. Hidden Valley is owned and operated by Peak Resorts, which offers discounts at other Peak-owned resorts if guests purchase a season pass at Hidden Valley. The resort offers trails for skiers and snowboarders as well as for tubing, and lighted trails allow for nighttime snow fun.
The MountainHidden Valley Ski Area is built on the bluffs above the Meramec River. The slope's longest run measures 1,800 feet, with a vertical drop of 310 feet. With annual snowfall of only 15 inches, the resort relies completely on its snowmaking abilities to keep the trails ready for skiers. While the operator is constantly working to add or improve trails, this is still a largely manmade ski slope that's not really in the same league as resorts in Colorado and Utah.
Trails And LiftsSituated on more than 30 acres of skiable terrain, the Hidden Valley Ski Area boasts eight trails, the Polar Plunge tubing lane and two terrain parks with jumps and rails for expert skiers and snowboarders. Of the trails, 30 percent are designed for beginner skiers, 60 percent are meant for intermediate skill levels and 10 percent should only be attempted by advanced skiers. The resort features one quad and two triple chairlifts, two rope tows and a Wonder Carpet, a ropeless conveyer designed to help beginners make it up the slope.
In The NewsThe Hidden Valley Ski Area is home base for the Hidden Valley Ski Team, which offers ski training and racing opportunities for children ages 5 to 19. It also hosts weekly NASTAR race leagues, which are open to the public. The Polar Plunge tubing lanes, added in January 2011, provide a 1,200-foot plunge for those who prefer to sit down while sliding down a mountain. Night tubing is available on Sunday nights, weather permitting.
CostAdult daily lift tickets range from $33 to $43, based on the time of day and the day of the week. Children's lift tickets start at $26. The Polar Plunge requires a separate ticket, starting at $26 for a two-hour pass. Individual season passes start at $300, if purchased early, and top out at $450. Adult group lessons begin at $15, and private lessons run $45. Children's ski lessons, called the Snow Monster Lessons, are $15 for group lessons or $45 for private ones.
Apres-SkiVisitors have several lodging choices within 15 minutes of Hidden Valley. These options include the Holiday Inn at Six Flags in Eureka, the Wyman Center in Eureka and the Wildwood Hotel in Wildwood. The on-site Ski Lodge offers a bar and cafeteria for resort guests. While nightlife in the area is minimal, there are frequent night skiing opportunities. Hidden Valley also offers fireworks on New Year's Eve, a public safety recognition day and a Learn to Ski day.
WATCH: Hidden Valley Ski Area
Hidden Valley's ski jump offers thrills for skiers and snowboarders.