We visited Villa Olivia for fun snow day free of charge.
My family moved from the Ural Mountains (jokingly called it a Russian Midwest) to the Midwest twenty years ago. The Ural is about the halfway point between Moscow and Siberia, so I was surrounded by snow six months out of the year. As my childhood took place in pre-Internet days, my parents and I cross country skied for fun on the weekends.
It took twenty years living in Chicago before I considered skiing again because it seemed like a perfect activity for the rich. Does it require expensive equipment, expensive gear, and long-distance travel to the Alpes (or someplace else as far)? It sounded like an activity I couldn’t afford…
I am not the only person who thinks that – as many Midwesterners travel West to go skiing. However, recently the Midwest Ski Areas Association invited me to check out one of the ski resorts near Chicago. They are on the mission to educate us that there are plenty of great ski locations close to home.
Three ways to Get Rid of winter boredom once and for all at the Villa Olivia
1. Snow Tubing in Illinois
This is an activity that requires no prior experience and is open for anyone 4-years-old or more. Get here early! Villa Olivia opens at 9 am and gets busy around 12 pm. During our visit, we got to the hill at 10 am and had plenty of time to ride the snow tubes before it got crowded. It almost seemed like everyone else planned to be here at noon. First came a birthday party of a dozen girls and their parents. Next came families with kids. They all came to the hill at the same time, picked up tubes and joined us on the magic carpet crawling to the top of the hill.
First-time snow tubing? Invest into a few pieces if gear – a snow goggles, a face mask, and a pair of good gloves. While it might seem like a no-brainer, we didn’t think ahead.
Lucky us, the Ville Olivia ski shop sells everything you might need for a fun snow day. 10 minutes we were ready to head to the top of the hill equipped with face masks and goggles.
Don’t snow tube – Make it fun!
Snow tubing in Illinois is a fun activity on its own, but after sliding a dozen times, you might want to spice it up
- Which slide is faster? Try each slide and figure out which slide will get you to the bottom of the hill faster
- Double up! While the resort has one person per tube rule, hooking two tubes together for the ride down is permitted. (Check with the attendant first though)
- Snow race! While you might already have a favorite slide, weight affects the trip. This is a rare occasion when my weight gives me a winning advantage. Get ready at the top, set, and SLIDE! More about My Secret to Skiing Faster Than My Son.
2. Ski or Snowboard
Villa Olivia has a variety of ski slopes to try 12 lighted downhill runs. There is also a four-person chair lift, and six tow rope lifts for all levels. Located in the Chicago suburbs, it is an easy resort to get to after work on the weekend without driving too far. The full rental facility has all gear to get your on the slopes quick. Their weeknight ski and snowboard specials are also something to keep in mind.
3. Take a Class
I want to enroll my four-year-old into a ski class. What stops me is the distance, as you have to commit to driving to the ski resort 3-4 weekends on the row. Yet, as Villa Olivia is a local resort, it is a reasonable and inexpensive decision. They offer classes for little kids (4-6), older kids (6-11), and adults (12+). That means you still have the time to learn skiing this year.
The best about it, anytime you come for a class you can stay and ski after the lesson is over.
3 Fun Facts about Villa Olivia
History of Villa Olivia
Lack of Experience? No Gear? No Problem!
5 Things to know about Villa Olivia in Bartlett, IL
Drive or Fly? Drive! Villa Olivia is only a short drive away (30 – 60 min from most Chicago and suburbs)
How Long to Stay Here. Villa Olivia snow tubing ticket is limited to two hours, which is more than enough. But, if you are here for skiing or snowboarding, spend a whole day with a lunch break
Will you need a car to get around? This is a small resort, and everything is only a short walk away
Family Activities: Villa Olivia offers snow tubing, skiing, and snowboarding. Consider taking a class for kids or the adults
Local food not to miss. Ski cafe offers pizza, hot dogs, and burgers as well as a variety of snacks, however, tot cocoa is an absolute must try!
Images, illustrations, Charts