- Overall Rating 1
- Family Friendly 4
- All-Mtn. Terrain 1
- Terrain Park 1
- Nightlife 4
Pros: Very good lodge, good restaurant, great special events, good ski/snowboard school, short lift ride up
Cons: Skiing on a landfill, lodge almost taller than the mountain, very weird lift attendants.
Recommended For: Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: Jan 1, 2008
I went here with friends in January, 2008. Even though I live in the area, I had only been here once before learning to snowboard (and toiling with that was enough to keep me occupied-I couldn't even get to the top of the bunny hill ropetow). Although it's the only ski area in the Saginaw Valley, most of the locals prefer to go up north to larger, more fun ski resorts such as Boyne Mountain or Caberfae.
Here are some statistics about the lift to show you just how tiny this place is. The lift has a grand total of 15 chairs on it , including the cable that runs back to the bottom. This chairlift has only 3 lift towers. That being said, it only takes about a minute to ride up to the top, which is about the only pro I can think of pertaining to the skiing. Being just outside of Saginaw, MI, the view from the top consists of an ugly combination of factory chimneys dotting the horizon, the old boarded-up 'skyscrapers' of downtown Saginaw, and a large residential neighborhood about 30 feet directly below the top of the mountain. In the other direction, it's all farmland and highways. No natural beauty whatsoever.
Most to all of the snow is man-made meaning many a sticky mess. Even though they have a groomer, they don't even groom the entire thing, leaving some spots icy and miserable which sometimes would be challenging if the runs were over 40 feet long. There is only one large field on a slope. Although there are signs for 10 different runs (which by the way aren't even given names-just a number and a green circle, blue square, or black diamond) there are no trees or defining features between the runs, meaning you pretty much go down the same run all day.
There is a 'terrain park' served by its own twin ropetows. However, at the top of the ropetows you had to take off your skis and hike up to the top of a mound of snow if you wanted to build up enough momentum to even have your tips pop off the ground on any of the three 'jumps'.
There was also a bunny hill which seemed like a long catwalk with one end raised 7 feet above the other. It was also served by a twin ropetow. I took a private snowboarding lesson there on an earlier visit, and my instructor was friendly and very helpful (even though I never really could get the knack down of even going up the ropetow). I enjoyed the lessons experience.
Overall, the skiing was a terrible experience, and I would recommend making the longer drive to Caberfae or Boyne Mountain as the much better skiing there makes it well worth it.
---The resort experience---
There is no hotel in the resort to speak of (there are in Saginaw). I haven't eaten at the fine dining restaurant or bar but I am told they are good. I have eaten in the cafeteria there, and the food there is pretty good, nothing special. The cafeteria provides a good view of the entire mountain, so you could probably watch your children on the slopes while you relax by the fire.
There is also a special events center for holding conferences or parties, and they will commonly host concerts and festivals there too. The special events center is well-furnished and quite nice inside.
In the summer, there is a golf course which I have never personally golfed but I am told it is very good.
As far as skiing, skip it. As far as dinner, golf, or concerts go ahead.