Swiss Valley, located near Jones, Mich., along the Indiana border, has a unique Ski Club Program that's designed to get small groups of friends and family together. The advantage, besides being able to ski with friends and family, is affordable lift tickets and a reason to get out on a weekly basis, which is good for your health and well-being.
You only need a minimum of 10 people to qualify for the club rates. It really is geared towards small groups. The only catch is that the 10 of you have to agree on what weeknight you choose to ski. The cost is $145, which includes seven lift tickets, rental equipment and three optional group lessons. If you don't need rental equipment the cost is $124.
When you have 10 people to join you receive a punch card, which is transferable and can be shared with family or friends. There are seven punches good for seven lift tickets. Five of the punches must be used on the weeknight your club selected, which is good from 3:30-10 p.m. The other two punches can be used any evening of the week, including weekends, after 3:30 p.m.
A couple of other caveats. If your group is a School Ski Club you may bring a guest for a special rate; weeknight lift ticket for $18 and rental, if needed, is $7 for skis and $10 for snowboards. You also may bring one of your parents one time, mom or dad, your choice, and the parent must accompany the student.
Bonus cards, in case you've used up your punches, will be available in February for $57. This card is good for six more lift tickets that may be used any weekday after 3:30 p.m. It is not good on weekends. You don't have to ski or ride as a group after the initial card is done. It's a pretty sweet deal and encourages you to get out and enjoy winter.
The ski area is located just north of South Bend and Elkhart, Ind., within an hour's drive of over a million people. It's not big, but with a staff of around 60 to 70 instructors Swiss Valley annually introduces thousands to the sport of skiing each season.