A ski resort with terrain for all levels and closeby lodging, lots of apres ski activities and a good ski school make for great vacations on snow.
Winters in populous Michigan are cold and snowy, so it's no surprise that the state is rich in ski resorts. In fact, it's second in the nation and sports 40 alpine resorts. (New York, if you're curious, claims 43 resorts.)
Boyne Highlands offers the most vertical, longest runs and steepest terrain around. There is a 552-foot vertical spread over 435 acres with plenty of lodging at the base. Ski or ride day or night. It's near its sister resort, Boyne Mountain, as well. There's a 13-foot half pipe to keep snowboarders happy and a high-speed quad to help serve 435 skiable acres.
Boyne Mountain is a longtime favorite of Michigan skiers. There have been numerous upgrades in the past few years. Don't miss the Avalanche Bay Indoor Water Park where the temperature is always 80 degrees. Both Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain are in the Petosky-Harbor Springs area.
Caberfae Peaks is home to the highest lift-served peaks and some of the best ski terrain in Michigan. The Peaks has something for everyone, with a dedicated novice area and ski school for beginners, as well as the vertical drop and challenging terrain to satisfy experienced skiers and boarders.
Cannonsburg has one of those long runs that make a day fun. It's 1,500 feet, which is quite a feat with a vertical drop of 250 feet. annonsburg has the highest vertical in southwestern Michigan.
On a rise above the Betsie Valley and a short trip away from massive Lake Michigan is Crystal Mountain, a favorite among Midwest skiers and riders. Crystal is a family-owned and -operated ski resort, where trails and a small stream meander through the village while the Scottish-themed Kinlochen Lodge looms over the golf course and ski runs. There are 103 acres in which to play and, despite the relatively short vertical of 375 feet, one run rambles a half mile. Nine lifts serve 58 slopes of fun, 27 of them illuminated for night skiing every evening.
Indianhead Mountain Resort overlooks the Ottawa National Forest, an area known for its natural beauty and wildlife. The ski and summer resort in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula offers 195 acres of skiable terrain served by nine lifts and tows. One trail, Voyagers' Highway, is over 40 acres in area, larger than many Midwest ski areas. Snowmaking is 90%.
Ski every night of the week at Marquette Mountain (and days too, of course) on over 169 acres of terrain. The vertical is 600 feet. A backcountry ski zone is fun for advanced skiers and boarders. The area extends from outer Weasels Gulch trail to Supreme and includes Freefall - accessible from the Rocket Lift and boasting a 40% to 60% grade.
Nub's Nob has a vertical drop of 427 feet, with 53 runs on 248 acres of skiable terrain, divided between Nub's Nob South and Pintail Peak. The longest run is just under a mile. All trails have snowmaking, with only the area's gladed terrain dependent on natural snow. Terrain is weighted toward intermediates. There is a halfpipe and terrain parks. Three quad chairs, 4 triples, 2 doubles and a handle tow combine for uphill capacity of 18,275 skiers per hour. The family-owned area is a favorite among Upper Peninsula skiers and snowboarders.
Shanty Creek offers 47 trails over two distinctive ski areas. All the tough stuff is on Schuss Mountain. There are Slopeside condos and a popular tube park. Looking for a Midwest thrill ride? Make a run down Kingdom Come with its 450-foot vertical drop.
Ski Brule in Iron River is a family-centered resort that has made a promise for several decades that it will be the first to open (sometimes as early as October) and the last to close because of its location and snowmaking capabilities. The Rapids and Snowshoe Terrain Parks make it a favorite of snowboarders, and there's even a Learn-To-Ride program that's free for first-timers, age 10 and up. The Homestead Lodge is popular and has the built-in coziness of a family homestead dating to 1891. There's even a tubing park on the Whitewater Trail.
Timber Ridge has the highest natural vertical rise in Southwest Michigan, and the skiing and riding is spread over 50 acres. There's a terrain park and tubing hill. Several lodging choices are nearby. The resort is eight miles north of Kalamazoo.
Treetops Resort, long known for world-class golf and owner, swing-doctor Rick Smith, also offers a wide array of winter activities. Treetops is perched along a ridge overlooking the scenic Sturgeon River valley and offers 23 downhill ski runs and an exciting tubing area. It's the perfect winter family getaway surrounded by thousands of acres of unspoiled forests and rolling hills.
Other Michigan areas include Alpine Valley, Apple Mountain, Big Powderhorn Mountain, Bittersweet, Mount Brighton, Mount Holly, Mount Ripley, Mt. Holiday, Norway Mountain, Pine Mountain, Snow Snake Mtn., Swiss Valley and The Homestead.
The largest ski resort in Michigan is Boyne Highlands with 552 feet of vertical drop and 435 skiable acres. It’s followed by its sister resort: Boyne Mountain Resort. This one has 500 feet of vertical drop and 415 skiable acres.