By LYNSIE DICKERSON
Gold Standard Staff Writer
It’s been a long, cold winter, but with Paoli Peaks—located approximately an hour and a half from Fort Knox—it’s possible to enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air.
Paoli Peaks opened in 1978 and has since grown into a place where visitors can enjoy skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing, plus a variety of classes and events.
“There are still a lot of people who are shocked to hear that there is a ski resort in southern Indiana,” said Lauren Grenier, director of marketing and administration at Paoli Peaks.
Even though Paoli doesn’t have mountains, Paoli Peaks is perfect for both beginner skiers and advanced skiers; beginner skiers don’t have to learn to ski on an intimidating mountain, but more difficult trails and terrain parks are also available for advanced skiers, Grenier said.
“I just love the snow,” said Cindy Oberle, a visitor at Paoli Peaks. Oberle said she enjoys skiing and came to Paoli Peaks because she thought it would be a fun trip.
For skiers and snowboarders, there are 15 trails available that range in difficulty level from beginner to advanced. There are also terrain parks where visitors can practice tricks on rails, boxes and jumps. Ski lifts to bring visitors back to the tops of the trails are available as well.
Paoli Peaks also offers snow tubing at the Arctic Blast Snow Tube Park.
“Snow tubing’s the easy one; you just grab a tube and go on down,” Grenier said. “It’s perfect for families because they can bring their little (kids) and the big (kids) and all of them can do it together without having to worry about skills so much.”
Grenier noted that Paoli Peaks offers more than just a trip down the slopes.
“We provide snow tubing, skiing and snowboarding, but within each of those we have a variety of programs,” Grenier said.
These programs include lessons and learning programs. Private and semi-private lessons are available to people of all ages. Group lessons are open to visitors age 7 years and older and the students are divided into groups according to age and ability level. There is also the Discovery Beginner Lesson, a series of stations that allows visitors to learn and practice new skills while moving from station to station at their own pace. The Snow Monsters program takes place on weekends and holidays and teaches kids skiing and snowboarding skills. Adaptive lessons are also available for visitors with disabilities.
Paoli Peaks holds a variety of events throughout the season, including women’s clinics, race clinics for kids, college nights, events for boy scouts and girl scouts, and competitions like the slope style competition at the terrain park. On weekends in January, the Learn to Ski or Snowboard package is offered as part of National Learn to Ski Month.
Paoli Peaks also recently started hosting Old School Midnight, an event that allows visitors to ski and snowboard from midnight until 6 a.m. Grenier said that back in Paoli Peaks’ early years, every midnight session held lasted from midnight to 6 a.m., whereas midnight sessions nowadays last until 3 a.m.; the Old School Midnight events—one was held last year and two have been held this year—allow visitors to once again enjoy some extra late-night skiing and snowboarding.
For those who don’t feel like hitting the slopes or are just looking to take a break, the lodge offers a place to sit, a bite to eat and free Wi-Fi. While the lodge is a day lodge, nearby accommodations offer overnight lodging as well as discounted tickets to Paoli Peaks, Grenier said.
Grenier also offered advice for people who will be visiting Paoli Peaks for the first time.
“As far as being prepared, it’s always a good idea to have waterproof clothing, snow pants or a snow jacket, especially if (visitors) are skiing and snowboarding,” she said, adding that these items can be rented from the Pro Shop if visitors don’t own any.
“Don’t get overwhelmed about trying something new,” Grenier added. “We have many people here that can help (visitors).”
Paoli Peaks is tentatively scheduled to remain open until early March. For more information, including prices and hours of operation, visit www. paolipeaks.com or call (812) 723-4696. A military discount is available with a military ID.