For more information about Terry Peak go to www.TerryPeak.com and be sure to stream the radio broadcast of KSNO from the site, or visit the web cams. You can also order your season ski passes fom the site.
Deer Mountain is another alpine ski area a short drive from Terry Peak, but with fewer services. But it does have a terrain park, snow skate park, tube park, ski school and accommodations. http://www.skideermountain.com
There are many great old railroad grades that make wonderful nordic cross country skiing in the Black Hills, including the Annie Creek grade that is accessed near Terry Peak. The grade runs all the way down to the beautiful Spearfish Canyon. There is not much for lodging in the canyon except Spearfish Canyon Lodge at the crossroads of Little Spearfish Canyon and Spearfish Canyon. Recently, the town of Spearfish was voted by National Geographic as one of the top 50 towns for living. You can also cross country ski on the railroad grade along Spearfish creek. The rail line tracks and ties are long gone and serve as a hiking path during the summer.
Another popular dedicated trail system is the Mickelson Trail that runs the length of the Black Hills and is great for bicycling in the summer or cross-country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter. The 100 mile trail has numreous trailheads. Call the Black Hills Trail Office at 605/584-3896 to reserve snowshoes or participate on a guided trek. A small fee is charged to access the trail, but the treks are free.
Two excellent dedicated nordic ski areas include: Eagle Cliff Trails; take Highway 14A south through Deadwood and Highway 85 through Lead south to Cheyenne Crossing in Spearfish Canyon. For more info called the Eagle Cliff Ski Assn. at 605/584-3832. The Big Hill Ski area is eight miles south of Spearfish on Forest Service Road 134 (Tinton Road). Big Hill offers many races and events throughout the winter. Call Ski Cross Country at 605/722-3851.
Black Hills snowmobile
trails are groomed nightly.
Snowmobilers know that O’Neil Pass south of Deadwood and Lead is the spot for wide-open high country meadows packed with great snow. You will find turn out parks in the area to unload your snowmobile, but again, not much for accommodations or restaurants in the area. After all you are out in the wilderness. And the cougars in the high country have the right of way!
Snowmobiling has really come of age in the Black Hills with the development of a 350-mile network of marked, mapped and groomed snowmobile trails. Although snowmobiling is permitted on most parts of the 1.2 million acre Black Hills National Forest, the trail system has elevated the Black Hills into national prominence as one of the nation’s top snowmobiling destinations.
Most snowmobiling is in the western one-third of the Black Hills, where the 6,000-foot elevations develop a five-foot snow pack every winter. The trails lead up through deep canyons, weave through the pine forests, and ascend to summit lookouts. The trails also open onto huge, untracked meadows and play areas where the powder-floating is superb! A full time staff grooms the trails every night, and you can use South Dakota’s Sno-Wats phone service, 1-800-445-3474, to check snow and trail conditions.
Over 350 miles of marked trails
weave through ponderosa pine canyons.
The trail system offers lodging,
pit stops, and warming stations.
Thousands of sledders trailer in from all over the midwest to follow the orange diamonds through the Black Hills, from Spearfish all the way to Custer. The main trail network stretches nearly 80 miles from north to south and even crosses the state line to tie in with Wyoming’s trails.
There are pit stops, gas, warming shelters, trailheads and good parking throughout the network. And, of course, resorts, local snowmobile service, rentals and guides. The Black Hills Snowmobile Trail system ranks in the top ten places to ride in North America, according to editions of SnoWest magazine and SuperTrax International.
For those who prefer places off-the-beaten-path, the off-trail sledding possibilities in the Black Hills are endless. The few places where snowmobiling is not allowed are areas of logging activity, some wildlife winter ranges, most private property, and cross-country ski complexes.
Didn’t bring a sled? That’s okay. With a fleet of more than 200 rental machines available in the Black Hills, finding a sled to suit your riding ability and your pocketbook is easy. Full riding gear is also available. Expect new machines in top running condition, and choose from Arctic Cats, Polaris and Ski-Doo single or double sleds. Snowmobile rental prices range from $75 for a half day single, up to $149 for a full day on a double. All machines operated on public lands or on any part of the trail system must be licensed in either South Dakota or their home state. Unlicensed out-of-state snowmobilers can purchase a temporary 5-day S.D. license for $10 at most pit stops, county courthouses or other license agents.
You can rent a sled with gear.
Officially, the snowmobile season opens on December 1, when deer hunting season is over. However, the trail grooming starts Dec. 15. Hey, come on out for the hunting season. The Black Hills teem with white tail and black tail deer, and the region is rated as the top deer hunting capital of the country. Or come on out for the ice fishing on the alpine lakes.
Snowshoe Custer State Park
Hike or snowshoe Custer State Park
and the Black Elk Wilderness area.
Grab a buffalo steak in Deadwood at
Kevin Costner's Mineral Palace Casino.
Terry Peak, Deadwood, Lead and Spearfish are in the northern Black Hills, which gets more snow than the southern end of the 100 mile by 50 mile range. But Custer State Park in the south offers snowshoe trekking in the winter. Due to limited equipment supplies and snowshoe sizes, reservations are required and can be made by calling the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center at (605) 255-4464. There is no cost for the hikes; however, all vehicles require a park entrance license at the hiking locations. The current fees are $5 per person or $12 per vehicle. Custer State Park is home to the highest peak in the Black Hills, Harney Peak, also named after an Old West cavalry officer. There are numerous lodges within Custer State Park with additional accommodations in Custer and Hill City. Stick around for the Gold Sleddog Race in Hill City, too. Visit this link.
To request your Free Romancing the Snow magazine, call 605-355-3600 or email for it.
It hard to image, but the regional airport at Rapid City (airport code RAP) is only three hours from Las Vegas on Allegiant Airlines. Delta, United, Frontier, and Northwest also serve the area from Salt Lake, Chicago, Denver, and Minneapolis, so there is no excuse about it, take your next vacation in the heart of the Old West of the Black Hills for history, gaming, and snow adventures. Now I have to schuss down to Kevin Costner's Mineral Palace Gaming Hall in Deadwood for a buffalo steak.
— By Kriss Hammond, Editor, Jetsetters Magazine; photos by Terry Peak Ski Resort and Black Hills News Bureau.