[R464R, The Homestead], Michigan's fresh water resort, is nestled among towering sand dunes along the Lake Michigan coastline and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  It offers incredible panoramic views from the top of the ski hill; which is actually the top of a towering perched dune. 

You can trace the gentle curve of the shoreline far below.  A broad expanse of steely blue water, often filled with ice floes, fills the frame and the Manitou Islands bob on the horizon.  It looks as if you could ski or ride right into the lake.  You don't, but it's hard to take your eyes off that view and pay attention to the slope.  Fortunately you don't need to worry.  The Homestead does an excellent job of grooming, and limited traffic helps keep it that way.

It's one of the few Midwest ski areas to limit lift ticket sales, and it's done to provide an uncrowded ski and snowboard experience.  It allows you to experience the wonderful view without worrying about an overcrowded slope.  The ski area, not overly big by even Midwest standards, offers a 375-foot vertical drop, three chairlifts, and 15 or 16 named runs.  But, did I mention the view from the top is to die for? 

The Homestead is running an attractive lift and lodging special all season long, from opening day on Dec. 18 until it closes for the snowsports season on March 7, 2010.  The special includes two nights' lodging at Fiddler's Pond, Little Belle or The Inn or in a one-bedroom condominium with skiing/riding from arrival to departure. Priced from $157 per night, double occupancy.  Book 21 days in advance and enjoy a complimentary buffet breakfast both mornings.

The resort will be operating Dec. 19-20; Dec. 26 - Jan. 3; and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in January, February, and March.  During the Holidays, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 3, lifts will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

More information.