Usually on momentous occasions like your 50th birthday, friends throw a party and give YOU gifts.

Shanty Creek Resort, near Bellaire and Mancelona in northwest Lower Michigan, is turning the tables by throwing a season-long party with money-saving presents for its friends.

It’s starting out with three specials that include a taste test of a new, commemorative locally-brewed beer.

Opened by a Detroit-area steel magnate, the Summit Mountain side of the resort (there are two ski areas) began operating in 1962 as Shanty Creek. The Schuss side of things began as a dream of a Chicago-area stockbroker, who opened it as a separate ski area in 1967 as Schuss Mountain. Both resorts combined in 1985, and they’re now owned by the Trinidad Resort & Club based in St. Louis, Mo. Today, they offer 55 runs and multiple terrain parks, plus 500 lodging options from homes to rooms and condos, and complimentary bus service between the two.

And when Shanty Creek opens for daily operations on Friday, Dec. 21, it kicks off what will be a series of anniversary deals.

The first is its 'Sardine Special'. Squeeze as many fellow boarders and skiers into a car, truck or van, and they can all ride or ski for as little as $50. That deal is good Dec. 21. Ride and ski for $100 a car- or van-load on Jan. 5, 21 and Feb. 2.

In addition, every Monday through the season, four lift tickets can be had for that same $50. Other lift ticket deals, with up to 60 percent off depending on the date, are available here. Normal weekday lift tickets go for up to $60 each, so you’ll have lots of bucks to spend on Shanty’s celebratory brew debuting Friday.

It’s the resort’s newest custom beer developed by Bellaire, Mich.’s Shorts Brewing.  After you’re off the slopes, dive to Ivan’s Mountainside Grill at Schuss Mountain for a taste of 'Black Diamond', a German-style lager.

This season, Schuss Mountain introduces The Monster Energy Park – the combination of Purple Daze, Boulevard and The Natty, and The Big Air Launch Pad featuring a 25' and 40' booter. Newbies will be able to use the Low Rider beginner's park.

Summit Mountain returns with Michigan's most affordable lift ticket rates. The Summit-only ticket, available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, when the slopes are open, is only $15. Call ahead to find out when those slopes open.

Watch for more possible commemorative deals as the season progresses.