Snowy Retreat

Appears in the January 2024 issue.

A Bartlett staycation with tubing, snowshoeing, and swimming

Villa Olivia
Villa Olivia

Follow Route 59 north from Naperville about 40 minutes, and you’ll land in Bartlett, a village small in size—just 16 square miles—but big on park district amenities.

For a ski trip vibe minus the long drive, head to Villa Olivia (1401 W. Lake St.). Newbies can learn to hit the slopes safely with private or group lessons for adults and kids as young as 4 ($36 to $240). The hill has seven runs for skiing and snowboarding, plus a chairlift and three rope tows. Daily slope tickets run $24 to $47, while night slope tickets are $18 to $36. Equipment rentals are $45 for a snowboard and boots or $23 to $35 for skis, boots, and poles.

If you prefer sitting to slaloming, head to the snow tubing hill. Purchase tickets for a two-hour time slot ($32 for ages 6 and up; $28 for night tubing) and ride the conveyor lift (a.k.a. magic carpet) up the hill before sliding back down at full speed. Kids ages 4 and 5 can share a tube with a paying adult for $10. The resort is open through March 3, weather permitting, and online reservations are required for tubing, skiing, and snowboarding, so be sure to book in advance.

When hunger strikes, you’ll be glad you planned ahead and made reservations (630-289-1000) for Villa Olivia’s Sunday brunch buffet, which includes made-to-order omelets and Belgian waffles; a carving station; and a sweets table stacked with cookies, pastries, and cakes (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; $5.25 for kids 3 to 5, $15.50 for kids 6 to 11, $23.95 for adults). Or for an impromptu meal, stop by the counter-service café inside the Ski Lodge.

Splash Central
Splash Central

Nearby at Bartlett Nature Center (2054 W. Stearns Rd.), you can rent snowshoes and traverse the trails in surrounding James Philip State Park ($5 per person for two hours). Or gather a group and reserve a Snowshoe, Fire & S’mores package ($75), which includes two hours of snowshoe rental for 10 people, plus wood for a campfire and s’mores fixings.

More energy to burn? Lean into the staycation concept and head to Bartlett Community Center’s indoor pool, Splash Central (700 S. Bartlett Rd.), where you can take a dip in the adults-only hot tub for a true après-ski moment. There’s also a six-lane lap pool with diving board and an activity pool with a 12-foot water slide and water spray features for kiddos. Admission is free for ages 2 and under, $9.50 for kids 3 to 17, $11 for adults, and $9.50 for seniors over age 62 ($1 discount for residents). Open swim runs 1 to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, plus 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on winter break days including January 1 to 5.

Mark Your Calendar


Bartlett Nature Center

Feb 17 calendar leaf

This family-friendly outdoor fest features kooky winter games (think snowy cornhole, giant snowman Jenga, and Connect Snowball Four) and nature-oriented activities like snowflake cutting and bird-feeder making. Take a snowshoe hike, admire ice sculptures, and watch as pups from Adopt-A-Husky perform dogsled demonstrations around the park. Admission is free.


Photos: Bartlett Park District