Mount La Crosse, found just outside the city in Stoddard, opened in 1959 with one lift and a single A-frame chalet with a small warming area and repair shop.
It was one of the Midwest’s first ski hills constructed with the ability to produce artificial snow to fill runs when Mother Nature didn’t deliver. Snowboarders hit the slopes in the 1980s, long ahead of the national trend, Mount La Crosse General Manager Darcie Breidel said.
Today, Mount La Crosse features 19 trails, a terrain park, three double chairlifts, a surface rope tow and expanded snowmaking capabilities.
The chalet has doubled in size to include a lunch counter, ticket sales, ski and snowboard retails, a repair shop and The St. Bernard Room Bar, full of antiques from La Crosse, including benches and chairs from the original La Crosse County courthouse.
The ski hill each February hosts the Wisconsin Alpine Ski and Board State Championship, which brings 500 athletes and their families to the La Crosse area. The challenge of the Midwest’s steepest slope draws nationally ranked racers, Breidel said.
In recent years, Olympic skiers and several US Ski Team members have hit the slopes of Mount La Crosse. There are more than 40,000 visits to the hill each season, Breidel said.
“The natural beauty of the La Crosse area is really showcased at Mount La Crosse, from the hills and valleys that make up the trails of the ski area to views of the Mississippi Valley from the chairlift on the way up to the top,” Breidel said.