- Overall Rating 4
- Family Friendly 4
- All-Mtn. Terrain 4
- Terrain Park 0
- Nightlife 0
Pros: Diversity of terrain and runs for size of hill
Cons: No kids pricing other than under 7 ~ offload area maintenance poor at times
Recommended For: Singles, Family Friendly, Empty Nesters
Date Visited: Feb 1, 2010
Overall Bittersweet is best ski area in SW Michigan hands down. The higher vertical and overall diversity of the terrain and runs make this hill play out to be much larger than it really is. You can hit the wooded runs with drops and turns or the wide open and straight steep of Hawthorne . In the middle is Snowberry which gives you a little bit of all terrain, steeper at the top, but straighter and rolling pitches and offset and wooded as you make your way down to the bottom. In my opinion, with the exception of the black diamond runs, the terrain parks and the initial beginning steepness of the runs off the Sweet Express chair, all runs can be handled by the beginner and if a beginner has confident and capable skills, Hawthorne and sweet express runs are there for their taking as well (my youngest handles Hawthorne with some verbal command assistance to provide the confidence a young one sometimes needs on steeper runs ~ but use common sense as true beginners should not be on this run).
Prior to visiting Bittersweet, there were no ski areas in SW michigan where I would think about spending an entire day, but Bittersweet provides enough diversity that if you mix up your runs to keep things interesting you can have fun all day long.
Beginner area provides both rope and carpet access with nice wide open area and soft pitch for those just starting out. We still make a few runs on this area when my youngest needs some technique reinforcement (but honestly it's just a cool place to spend a few minutes too as there is nothing more cheerful and uplifting than seeing the future of our sport honing their skills and besides, the smile on the face of a kid making it down the hill for maybe their first time is enough to add sunshine to anyones day!).
Although a little crowded and tight at the bottom on load area for the high speed quad, the chairs to either side are usually not as crowded and provide access to ample terrain for beginner/intermediate and advanced on the Hawthorne/Choke Cherry side.
I do have to mention that on occasion I did find the upkeep of the off load areas on the lifts other than the high speed quad to be poor at times and actually on one visit dangerous. On lift # 2, on one Sunday the snow had been pushed away at off load and we stood up to drop about a foot off of chair and my daughter who is much shorter than my 6' height dropped even more ~ to say the least we ended in a pile and did not ski that lift the rest of the day. Noticed that we were not the only ones who encountered this condition and ended up in a heap as we had. They did eventually shut down the chair and lift #1 right next to it was OK in off load area and provided access to pretty much the same runs.
WIth area colleges and school age kids, night skiing sometimes can be a bit frenzied, but then again what place with night skiing isn't ~ just something to think about as these crowds can sometimes bring high speed boarders/skiers and riskier types to the mix.
Having kids in the 9-12 year range I would like to see price offerings for that age group reduced from adult tickets (currently only 6 and under) and this may limit our number of visits, but if spending the day you will get your $$ worth.
Not into terrain park or nightlife so really can't comment on those offerings, but there is a lounge and seperate cafeteria area which both appear to be patronized with good size crowds.
So check out Bittersweet and unless your expectations are looking for something you would find out west or back east, I don't think you will be disapointed.
Remember, always ski safe, be courtious and take the time to help someone if they look like they need it ~ our sport and the experience for everyone can only be bettered if we all work together! Rock on!