Caberfae Peaks has long been hovering under Northern Michigan's snow sports radar. It's one of the best kept secrets in northern Michigan.
"You can pull into the parking lot at the Fae on a Saturday morning, buy a lift ticket, ski until noon, and when you pack it in, you won't have to brush a single fleck of glitter from your parka," laughs Cadillac resident Jim Neff, a longtime skier at Caberfae Peaks.
"Michigan resorts have been falling all over themselves to pile on the glitz in a mad scramble to imitate posh Western resorts like Deer Valley, Beaver Creek, and Sun Valley. High-speed lifts, grand hotels, waterparks, and sleigh ride dinners seem to be the norm, but not here," he elaborated. "Caberfae has remained consistent with its theme; skiing pure and simple.
"Think 'Alta of the Midwest.' It's a skier's resort. Not too fancy but very functional. It's still a place where skiers in jeans can brown-bag in the lodge and feel right at home."
Caberfae has a long, rich history. It opened in 1938; one of the first ski areas in the United States. It was a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and local citizens. The first rope tow was put up in 1940. As other newer, larger ski resorts opened across northern Michigan in the 1960s and 1970s, the Fae kind of languished for a few years losing some of its early luster.
Along came current owners, the Meyer family of Cadillac, who in the 1980s put the luster back in place. They more than doubled the vertical drop and number of runs. Taking the ski hill from 200 feet to nearly a 500-foot drop, they created North and South Peaks. It now has the highest lift-served elevation in the LP. It arguably offers some of the best skiing and riding in central Lower Michigan with 35 runs spread across 200 acres, four chairlifts, and two surface tows. You look out over an unending National Forest from the top of the ski hill that stretches all the way to Lake Michigan, 45 miles to the west. Sunsets can be spectacular.
You will be surprised at the number of positive changes, if you haven't skied at Caberfae in the last decade or so. They offer a number of lift ticket specials throughout the winter.
A Silver Punch Pass, $49, entitles you to four lift tickets that are good midweek and Sundays throughout the season. It's also transferable, but good for only one punch per day.
Family Fun-Day Sunday takes place Feb. 7 and March 7 from 3 p.m. to close. The $49 package includes lift tickets, ski or snowboard rentals, and a beginner lesson for a family of three. Additional family members can be added for $15 each. You have to go online and print out a coupon that you take to the ticket office.
Four hour lift tickets are $29 midweek and $37 on weekends. Nightly rates, after 5 p.m., are $24. The area is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 to 10 on Friday, and 9 to 9 Saturday and Sunday.
An overnight package, which includes skiing or riding from time of arrival to departure, starts midweek from $59 per person, per night based on double occupancy.