Caberfae Peaks, located west of Cadillac, Michigan, has a new slogan, and it speaks to their location: Big hill with the best snow in your backyard.
While it may not exactly be in your backyard, it is the Lower Peninsula's first "up north" ski resort. For snowsports enthusiasts heading north from Chicago, Detroit, or any location in the Hoosier State for skiing and riding it's at least an hour closer than many of northern Michigan's large resorts.
It offers nearly a 500-foot vertical drop and has the highest lift served elevation in the LP. With 30-some runs spread out over 200 acres, four chairlifts and two surface tows, it offers some of the best skiing and riding in central Lower Michigan. You look out over an unending National Forest that stretches all the way to Lake Michigan, 45 miles to the west, from the top of the ski hill.
South Peak boasts a fine collection of long, expert runs and long, thigh-burning steeps with no long run-out at the bottom. It keeps you on edge from top to bottom. North Peak, slightly higher than South, is an intermediate delight. Wide runs spill off the peak offering a variety of ways down, some nearly a mile long. Beginners can access the top of North Peak and enjoy an easy run down Smiling Irishmen and Easy Street.
Lodging is limited, but the 35-room MacKenzie Lodge, recently refurbished, offers nice accommodations. A recently added outdoor pool and hot tub complete the picture.
Ski and snowboard passes are now on sale through the end of the month, and they offer some of the best value I've found among Heartland ski areas. Both the Weekend Pass - valid every Saturday and Sunday the area is open - and the Midweek Pass - valid Monday through Friday all season long - are currently on sale for $99. The Unlimited Peak Pass - valid any day, any time - is $198 through October. An added bonus for Caberfae passholders this season is that they can ski and ride at Shanty Creek for $9 Sunday through Friday and $19 Saturdays and holidays.
The Fae also has a pretty sweet early season lodging special. Make a reservation for anytime during November through March prior to October 31,and children 17 and under sleep and ski/ride free with two paying adults.