Last weekend I skied Devil’s Head Ski Resort for the first time and this review presents some facts and my opinion and analysis of the resort.
Devil’s Head — The Riding
Very quickly, it was good.
While snow quality depends heavily upon the weather there are things the resort can do to help out. There were a lot of people present and despite that the snow was in good shape, I did find some ice in what I would characterize in the usual places (center and at the top of the run) and I found ice only on one run. In any event my skiing that day was on and when I hit those patches I was moving out and laying my edges into the snow and did not much notice the ice. I want to stress again, skiing across isolated patches of ice is not a big deal as long as you are on edge. Strive to get ski on your edges and skid only when called for.
The snow across the runs was consistent and uniform and when I started skiing the hotter runs I found the snow a bit more fluffencruddy but that adds to the fun, right?
God organized the resort’s terrain very well almost by design or so it seems. Looking up the hill the easier terrain is to the left and the more advanced terrain is to the right. The black runs to the center and left are not (in my opinion) are not black runs but intermediate blues.
Once you start skiing to the middle and to the right of the resort the blacks become more true to their rating and I took one run that I thought about holding back on, only thought I did not. I did not get on the sole double-black but that is a long straight shot and gets its rating from its grade and its length, I did not ski on that.
One thing to note, they built a lot of rollers so if you want air that is easily available and if you do not you need to watch for that. I would traverse once or twice to bleed speed and then stand erect while cresting these rollers. The rollers go away and I would resume my normal attacking style. In addition, they do have jumps and launch points built on the sides of nearly every run, these are obvious and easy to avoid or hit depending on your whim.
At Devil’s Head they offer a true eight-hour pass. You buy your pass at 11:00 am they let you ski until 7:00 pm. I found the lighting a bit spotty at first. On one run the top was lit, the bottom was lit and the middle was not until sometime later. I knew the run by this time so I knew of the rollers and their location. Once the lights were on, all was good! The runs at the far left of the resort are not lit so they close those runs at 4:00 pm, so if you arrive late you had better get over there quick.
Good, they have some quads, a triple seater, and some double chairs. None are of the high-speed variety but the large number of four seaters means they are able to move a lot of people up the hill. While there was a crowd on hand we never had any serious liftline waits. That was good. They do have some older two seaters on the resort and all in good operating condition.
I did not see too many ski patrollers present. I did see some but not as many as I would expect. However, I did see some in action doing the thing they do. The lift attendants did their job but were mostly incommunicative. In fact I had little interaction with staff while skiing.
Devil’s Head — The Facilities
The lodge was fairly large but not enough for the crowd on hand. When I went in for a break I had a hard time finding a place to sit, the cafeteria started to clear out after I arrived. The changing area below was spacious and I never saw too much crowd down there.
The cafeteria offered standard cafeteria fare. I had fries, a bowl of soup, a chicken sandwich, and a bottle of water. I was about $15.00 lighter for that. I found the cafeteria a bit unappealing and the condiment station needed attending as a condiment I was looking for was empty.
I did not visit any of the resort’s bars while skiing.
We stayed on the second floor and enjoyed nice high ceilings and a patio. The room was satisfactory but nothing special. I made a brief entrance into the pool room to view the gym they had and it was enough to say they had a “workout room” but it barely qualified. The pool was not busy but the hot tubs were with a bachelor party and about a dozen or so guys hanging their legs into the hot tubs.
The place’s main bar was happening with lots of people but enough room to walk around. I found the bar understaffed and service was on the slow side. We ordered a bunch of pizzas and again I found them okay but standard, I ate quite a bit. When we left the live music next door pulled my wife into the next room. The American Blind Skier Foundation was holding a fundraiser event. So Lorie and I paid our voluntary entrance contribution and wandered in. I bought her a soft drink and I used the free drinks to get myself a couple of beers (the event did not stock the bar well, they did not even have a bourbon available). We bought some raffle tickets and won four lift tickets to Ski Brule. So it was a good night.
The hotel staff were friendly and outside of the barroom were attentive. A young woman helped us out and went the extra mile the next morning at the breakfast buffet (Lisa I believe her name was) and that made up for the lack of prompt service the night before.
Devil’s Head — My Opinion
I do not know if I would make it a frequent stop but I enjoyed the time there and would not hesitate to return to Devil’s Head to ski and stay. The hotel had a Madison buzz to it but I thought it was fine and would serve as decent venue for events and such. I will go back and I suggest that you check it out too.
The one problem being this resort is getting to the southern part of Wisconsin so it will not have the lengthy season other resorts I talk about.
Devil’s Head — Updates
- 2/20/2013 9:26 pm CST
I state there is a six-seater at Devil’s Head, that is incorrect, they have a triple chair, five quad chairs, and three double chairs. My apologies for the mistake which I corrected.