Ski Brule in Iron River, Mich. is no stranger to the red carpet, having scooped numerous OnTheSnow awards over the last half-decade or so. This year, it can add the 2013 OnTheSnow Visitors' Choice Award for Best Overall Resort in the Midwest to its collection. It’s a family-centered resort that’s used to being first. For several decades now it has promised to be the first to open (sometimes as early as October) and the last to close. A great location and first-class snowmaking allow it to make the most of each season. It’s a favorite among riders because of The Rapids and The Snowshoe Terrain Parks. Around 50 luxury chalets sleep 300 at the resort. Additional lodging is available seven miles away in Iron River, ranging from studio condiminiums to upscale log chalets.

APRÉS SPOTS: Ski Brule facilities include the main lodge, a rental center and The Homestead Lodge, which can be reached by skiing the Homestead or North Forty trails. The Homestead Lodge is a mid-hill stop built from old homestead buildings and heated by potbelly stoves. Food and drinks are served at the Homestead and main lodge.

WHERE TO SKI: The 17 trails are ideal for beginners and intermediates. Having said that, 30 percent of the trails are 'advanced' so skiers can expect challenges too; its most-challenging trail is Big Bear. Ski runs stretch up to a mile long and have a maximum vertical of 1,861 feet. There's also a terrain park, half pipe, tubing, cross-country skiing and night skiing.