Chip Perfect and his family never experienced skiing while growing up, and they didn't have the slightest clue as to how they might start a business based on the sport. That all changed one day in 1980 when a developer literally walked up to the family farm "” located about four miles north of Lawrenceburg in Indiana "” and suggested that their hills would make a "perfect" ski area, no pun intended.

Instead of hiring investors and going the whole nine yards, Chip's parents decided to go at it alone as a family venture, starting with two handle tows, four rope tows, and a 4,000-square-foot base lodge.

Going into its 25th season this winter, Perfect North Slopes is doing just fine. "It's just like the movie "” if you build it they will come ... and a few people came," Chip Perfect says with a chuckle. The ski attraction has hit a new high watermark for ski visitors every year save one, thanks to the lodge's location, terrain, and Web site. Last season the area saw more than 200,000 visitors, including a whole new group of customers: tubers.

Located about 45 minutes from downtown Cincinnati, Perfect North provides an easy opportunity for a large population of skiers who don't want to make the trip to Colorado. The name isn't just a creative pun, either; it has a real purpose. "We're called that because we have north-facing slopes," Perfect says. "The sun doesn't directly shine on the slopes themselves in winter, and so it's like a refrigerator keeping itself cold. The snow will survive through days and days of warm weather."

A day lodge at the bottom of the hill "” with a cafeteria, fireplaces, and the largest ski shop in the area "” gives visitors a place to relax and mingle when they're not on the slopes. Perfect shares the secret to the slopes' success: "the location, so that people can come for the day."

Perfect North Slopes was "one of the major attractions to put Dearborn County on the map," observes Mike Rozow, CEO of the Dearborn County Convention, Visitor & Tourism Bureau. "The biggest thing is that where most people saw a hill, Clyde Perfect [Chip's father] saw a ski resort "” that's an awesome thing to do." Rozow applauds the fact that the resort, which employs about 1,000 seasonal employees, is run by the same standards as most major resorts in the country.

Perfect North boasts one of the largest vertical drops in this part of the Midwest, a 400-foot slope. Add the 20 different trails of varying lengths, widths, and skill levels, and the tubing park created two years ago, and it's easy to see why the area is so popular for skiers of all abilities. Perfect says that "the cornerstone of the business was the beginner skier; they've always been the focus." One of the most popular runs, the Far Side, caters to beginner and intermediate skiers. The slope is long and not as steep or challenging as the other popular run, Center Stage. The addition of several carpet lifts and some improvements to the beginner area make it easier for visitors to get up and down the hills and enjoy their time spent at the slopes. This year, Perfect and his employees plan to add a second tubing lift and use new grooming machines.

One of the more special features about Perfect North is the Web site. Passes, promotions, and group sales are all available on the site, and as Perfect says, "It makes it easier to buy passes "” over half of the passes sold last year were online." The biggest attractions, however, are the live snow cams. For five years they have been on the site, allowing visitors to see what's happening at any given moment during the season.

"It's so important for people to be able to click on the snow cam and see that we have snow and that people are skiing," Perfect says. He reports that the snow cam page at www.perfect north.com is the most visited on the site, and receives around 17 million hits a year. "Technology has come along and finally helped solve one of our problems."