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“Great skiing for my family too!”
Review of Granite Peak

Granite Peak
Ranked #2 of 32 things to do in Wausau
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 5, 2011

My wife and I took the kids (11 and 8) to Granite Peak for 2 days of skiing over Spring Break and we all had a great time! From other reviews I worried their trails would be either too easy or too challenging for my kids and wife, we didn't find that to be the case. The greens were easy but the kids still enjoyed them (I do suggest avoiding the "Enchanted Forest" - their green tree skiing - as it was way too much work, more like cross-country skiing) and though the blues were steep they were nice and wide so the kids could traverse and control their speed. The grooming of the snow was fabulous too! we were able to get cheap, decent lodging (super 8) and there is a good assortment of restaurants in Wausau. Not worth the extra drive compared to Cascade but great for after Cascade closes. We will definitely return next Spring after Cascade is closed.

1  Thank Skidad_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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212 - 216 of 222 reviews

Reviewed February 28, 2010

Excellent skiing for WI area. I took the family that included 3 kids (ages 9, 11, 14). Granite Peak offered various runs that pleased everyone. The staff in the lodge and on the lifts was very friendly. Clean lodge for eating/drinks etc.... Will be back again soon.

1  Thank Dale1008
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2009

We live near Chicago and until a couple years ago, thought you had to drive to the U.P. to find decent downhill skiing. We've finally discovered Granite Peak, which used to be called Rib Mountain. Located in Wausau, WI, Granite Peak has a great variety of runs, from bunny hills to expert. I mean, it's not the Rocky Mountains, but it isn't bad for a quick overnight or two. Friendly staff. Decent lodge area. We stayed at the Stoney Creek Inn, in Rothschild, about 15 minutes away. But there are plenty of lodging options in the area. We've found some really decent food establishments in the area, too, most notably, The Red Eye Grill in downtown Wausau.

2  Thank tboy1959
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2009

Yep, this is the 2nd review of this ski resort. We had such a great time at Granite Peak in December, we decided to convince our growing group of skiing enthusiasts to skip the UP this year and go to Granite Peak for our annual get-together at the end of February.

We have no complaints with the runs or the snow. The only thing that gave a "black eye" to our trip was the treatment we received on our 2nd day from the waitress on the patio deck. Since we had a rather large group of people, we decided that the prices they were charging for food were outrageous and we were going to bring our own food. The small, dark dungeon that carry-ins are relegated to wasn't large enough for all of us to get together and eat at the same time. On Friday, we lugged everything up to the deck and sat outside in the frigid sunshine. No problem! On Saturday, we did the same thing, but this time, it was a BIG problem. Granted, we saw the signs that said where carry-ins were allowed, but we weren't taking tables away from anyone who had gone through their lunch lines. Most of the skiers were eating inside and there were still tables available outside.

The waitress taking care of the tables inside and outside hassled us non-stop. "Carry-ins are not allowed out here...these tables are for paying customers only...you can't have that here!" Some of the people in our group had bought burgers, brats, and drinks, but that wasn't good enough for her. She wanted all of us out of there and anytime we got up, she came and took whatever food or gear was at that spot and was going to take it to Lost and Found, despite the fact that 10 or more of us were still sitting there. She was unbelievably rude. We figured that since 18 of us had paid for 2-day lift tickets, 11 of us had bought rentals, and since we had bought some food from them, we were paying customers and we weren't going to go back to that cramped basement. We were not the only group this lady tried to bully around that afernoon.

I have tried to contact the management at Granite Peak about this, but they have not replied back in any way, so I guess they don't care. I don't think I'll be able to convince our group to go back there again, even though the skiing was very good.

All in all, if you're just going there for the skiing, or you're planning on eating at the hill, I'd say go for it. However, if you're planning on saving some $$ and bringing your own food, if you don't want to sit in the basement, go to the UP where they are very friendly to ALL of their skiers!

7  Thank snowdancer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2008

My family of four just returned from a short spring ski vacation at Granite Peak. I’ll break my review down into skiing, hotel and dining sections for easier reading.

SKIING: We were very happy with the staff, the equipment and the ski runs at Granite Peak. This was the first time my son and daughter had ever gone skiing or snowboarding, and so we enrolled them in snowboard classes. The class size was small and the instructor was good and patient with the students. The learner’s hill is very long and wide and well outfitted with belts and tow ropes that take first-timers slowly up the mountain. There is also a chair lift that runs alongside it that learners can take when they are ready. Skiers can exit and enter the chair lift mid-way up the hill to continue on up to the blue/black runs that are higher up. This is convenient for groups/
families having persons with different experience levels because they all can ski the runs of their liking and still stay centered around the same chair lift and stay in touch with the rest of the group.

Granite Peak is a very good midwestern ski resort. It is listed as having the most vertical height (700’) in the midwest and has the same equipment, lifts, and amenities as you might find in the Rockies with the added benefit of a real town at the base with hotels, restaurants, etc. You can make the trip very economical by booking a complete hotel/ticket/rental package via the Granite Peak website. However, you must not try to compare Granite Peak to a western mountain ski resort, so just go with the knowledge that you did not have to take a flight and rent a car to get there if you are coming from the midwest. When you go, you will have a lot of fun and find enough challenges to keep the skiing/boarding interesting for 3-4 days (unless you are an expert skier or enjoy moguls as there are only two runs that have them). The runs are generally short with most of the vertical happening at the top of the hill. Around the mid-point all the runs transition to shallow blue hills, and at the bottom to shallow green hills. There are a few double-black chutes at the top where you can get some air but again these are very short. Some of the 74 listed ‘runs’ should not really be categorized as such, because they are short and relatively flat and all they do is get you from the top of the to the chairlift to the start of another run, or traverse across from one run to another. You are only on them for a few seconds while you are adjusting your gear or checking the trail maps, and are not skiing them in a true downhill fashion. When the temps are cold enough, all the runs can be skied without a problem but when the temps warm up above freezing (as they do in spring) the blues/greens can become very slow because they are not very steep. You may have to ski straight (i.e. without turning or carving) or get into a tuck position to get all the way back down to the base. You may have to do some pushing if you are on a green run. Most of the people gravitate to the high-speed (a.k.a. Comet) lift for the simple reason that it gets you up faster and you can ski more runs per day. That said, those runs tend to be the most crowded and worn at the end of the day. The far east and west sides of the park are served by twin and triple lifts that are slower but if you’re not in a hurry you may find you have most runs all to yourself. I heard from a ‘regular’ local skier that the owner has plans to develop the west side of the mountain with the addition of another 6-person high speed lift and a hotel property. Work on the new lift will start either at the end of this season or next, which will drastically improve the overall ski conditions and concentration of people on the mountain.

The food at Granite Peak is nothing more special than your typical grilled or deep fried fare, and is slightly overpriced. You may be better served to drive the short distance into town for more options. I have heard that some families bring coolers and leave them at the base of the hill or tailgate out in the parking lot, which makes a lot of sense.

HOTEL: We stayed at Rib Mountain Inn, which is located in a residential neighborhood at the base of Granite Peak. You can literally walk from Rib Mountain to Granite Peak, although it would be a very long walk and we never tried it ourselves. We saw others who did and lived to talk about it. Rib Mountain Inn was perfect for our family of four. The quiet wooded neighborhood is better than the “outpost next to the highway” offered by the chain hotels in town. We stayed in the #6 Fireplace Suite which had two queen beds and a pull-out sleeper sofa so our kids each had their own bed. The suite was large and included a kitchen and dining area which could be used if you were inclined to prepare your own meals. If not, the refrigerator and microwave came in handy for re-heating those leftovers that pile up from dinners in town. One night my kids chose to stay in the suite, eat leftovers, and watch movies while my wife and I had dinner for two in town. The room has a DVD player and a great selection of current/classic movies can be had without charge via the main desk. If you plan on using the sofa sleeper or need a hair dryer just ask for sheets etc. at the desk as they do not automatically assume you will be using the sleeper as a bed.

The breakfasts in the morning were outstanding. Ken and Linda (who manage the inn) run the show, with all the cooking (I’m told) done by Ken. There was always plenty of food and the selection varied daily. There were always the staples – i.e. hot/cold cereals, bagels, muffins, jams, and a hot egg/ham/cheese scramble and hot buckwheat pancakes. During our stay, the ‘special’ entrée varied between a hot peach cobbler, a salmon lox platter or biscuits/sausage gravy. All in all it was great comfort food and provided plenty of fuel for an entire day’s skiing. We would stop in the ski chalet area for sodas at lunch but never felt hungry enough to eat until dinnertime. Even though Rib Mountain’s operations are slightly bigger than the average bed-and-breakfast you still get the feeling you are being served breakfast in someone’s home. Chuck, the owner, will occasionally show up during breakfast for a cup of expresso and a friendly chat with the guests.

Rib Mountain has a large heated outdoor Jacuzzi that is very user friendly. It will accommodate groups of up to 15, although it would be very cozy if this were the case. During our stay there were never more than 8 persons using it at any given time. If you are the first person using it you may have to roll back the insulating cover but the cover is very light and on rollers and so it is very easily done. After that, just turn on the jets and jump in. We did this every day and I’m sure it cured more than a few sore muscles.

I would highly recommend Rib Mountain – we found our suite to be spacious, clean and comfortable with many finishes, appliances and cabinetry appearing brand new. The fireplace adds a nice touch and wood is provided via the outdoor balcony. Although we didn’t use it, the fact that it does burn wood means that you smell it from time to time. Making sure the damper is closed (if you are not using it) will keep back-drafts from blowing down the chimney into your room and reduce the smell. After a while you won’t smell it unless you are standing right next to it. The one drawback to the facilities would be the corridor leading to the rooms – a little dark and stale – but the corridor is very short and the atmosphere did not ‘carry-over’ into our room so once you leave it you forget it. We left the “do not disturb” sign on our door handle the entire time and so we think that room service left our room “undisturbed” as a result. Even so, we didn’t lack for towels, shampoos or supplies and anything we needed we just asked for at the front desk.

FOOD/RESTAURANTS:
We ate at Wausau Mine Company on the first night. The atmosphere is a unique, if a little weird, as it re-creates the interior of a mine shaft. The pizza we ordered was good – thick with cheese and ingredients. The ravioli was home-made (and good) but the sauce was just okay. Service was good. The restaurant appeared small and filled up fast with a waiting list that started soon after we were seated. There was a large group of locals at the next table. Probably a good sign that locals eat here but they were very loud which made the small restaurant feel even smaller. Prices were very reasonable – about $50 for four, including tip.

We ate at 2510 on the second night. Service was good, food was good, portions were huge. Atmosphere was comfortable and varied. About $80 for four including tip.

We ate at Peking House on the third night. Service was good (attentive but a little inexperienced and unfamiliar with the menu/bar options). The food was very good and the portions were huge. Atmosphere was interesting – the restaurant is in what looks to be the lobby of an old office or hotel. It is a bit hard to find, and the neighboring shops – including a great vintage store – make the overall ambiance a bit quirky. About $50 for two including tip.

We had a great getaway in Wausau at Granite Peak and Rib Mountain Inn and will definitely return soon.

6  Thank contacte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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