Missouri is well known for St. Louis, yet that isn’t all that the state has to offer. Nearly 30 miles outside of St. Louis, lays one of the two ski resorts in Missouri: Hidden Valley.
Although Missouri has a scarce amount of hills for athletes to choose from, Hidden Valley exceeds expectations. Hidden Valley is located in Wildwood, Missouri—a suburb of St. Louis. The road to the hill is consumed of thick woods and winding roads, contrary to the vibration of the city.
The hill, which opened in 1982, is home to 17 trails, two terrain parks, and two peaks. With the little snow and hot weather Missouri attracts, the resort is ahead of the curve with 110 fan guns, which are able to pump around 6,600 gallons of water per minute. These powerful guns have the ability to cover 100% of the terrain in “as little as 48 hours,” according to Wikipedia. In total, the mountain has a 320-foot vertical drop, 65 skiable acres, and 9 lifts. Besides skiing, the hill offers a zip line and tubing park.
Although now a booming ski hill, it wasn’t always known as such. Previously known as WiIdwood Golf Course, Tim Boyd bought the property for $250,000 in 1977. Later in 1982, he created the ski hill, yet kept the golf course intact. Boyd is the head of his company, “Peak Resorts” which opened several resorts throughout the Midwest and the Northeast United States. Eventually, Boyd was contracted into a conservation easement so he could receive permission to build 80 homes on the golf course. The golf course is no longer open. Today, the hill is owned by Epic Pass.
The hill is very convenient to beginner skiers, as there is a magic carpet, tow rope, and ski school. The hill also consists of a traveling ski racing team and hosts NASTAR National qualifying courses. Hidden Valley is home to the top 10 nationally ranked NASTAR resort team. With Hidden Valley being the only ski resort for miles and providing a variety of runs and lifts, the 2021-2022 ski team now has a waiting list.
After being a resident of St. Louis for just over a year now, my experience on the traveling ski team has been nothing short of excellent. The bond within the tight-knit team is like no other. Because Hidden Valley is the only hill for miles, the traveling team typically spends each weekend traveling to various hills within Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin. These trips allow for team bonding, extra coaching and a chance to place in the Wisconsin Illinois Iowa Junior Alpine Racing Association (WIJARA). Besides the 3 practices provided to racers a week, the team hosts a “Turkey Trip” which takes place over Thanksgiving break. Overall the camp is usually 7 days in length, with racers training on various mountains in Colorado. Last year, I would race NASTAR on Sundays, which allowed me to qualify for NASTAR nationals in Aspen, Colorado, where I ended up placing second in the U-18 gold category. Hidden Valley’s ability to provide such a unique, convenient feature allowed me to experience something I could’ve only dreamed of at my previous hill.
When the season is over, the team and coaches strive to provide activities to reunite to team. Whether it be pool parties, dinner outings, or any other type of get together, the community the resort offers is like no other. Every year, the team hosts a get together before the season starts at the local alpine shop. When I had recently moved to St. Louis last year, meeting all my teammates and coaches in the shop was something I’ll never forget. It was a great opportunity to get a feel for the year ahead of me.
Although Missouri residents aren’t known to be drawn to skiing, the hill still hosts great skiers from far and wide. Ainsley Proffit, who is a member of the U.S. Alpine Ski Team, is a former member of the Hidden Valley ski team.
“Hidden Valley gave me a great basis in the fundamentals for skiing,” Proffit said, as reported by St.Louis Post Dispatch
Not only did the hill train a professional, International Federation Race champion, but is also home to a celebrity. The hill is within minutes from Nelly‘s former home. Although the house was abandoned by the rapper, it originally sold for $2.5 million in 2002 to him. It just recently sold again for $599,000 after received a whopping 52 offers, as stated by Fox 2 Now.
Missouri may not be known for skiing, but there’s no denying Hidden Valley attracts people from everywhere, creates great athletes, provides gorgeous scenery, and offers a great hill for several activities.