Sleigh Ride And Cross Country Snowshoe Dining At Michigan Resorts

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Mountaintop sleigh ride and snowshoe dining have long been popular activities at western resorts. Three northern Michigan resorts are now embracing the tradition with signature style. Ski Brule, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain tender a truly unique outdoor experience.

Brule combines a sleigh ride to the resort’s 1880 Homestead Lodge where you feast on a Homestead BBQ dinner. Relax by the old fashioned pot belly stove, listen to acoustic guitar music and watch children tube on a nearby hill. It takes place every Saturday night throughout the season. The free sleigh ride departs from the bottom of Homestead Trail and operates back and forth between 5-8 p.m. The BBQ dinner is Adult $19 , Junior (age 10-17) $15, Kids (age 0-9) $11, Family $82 (includes 2 adults & up to 4 dependent children ages 17 & under).

Boyne Highlands Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner unfolds on North Peak. A 15-minute sleigh ride takes guests to the top of the peak where the mountaintop lodge is aglow with candlelight and an acoustic guitarist plays softly in the background. On clear nights, the lights of the Mackinac Bridge are visible nearly 30 miles away. Upon arrival, guests disembark at an inviting bonfire before sitting down to a three-course dinner illuminated by candlelight in a cozy cabin setting. The cost for dinner and sleigh ride experience is $148 per person for the 2023/24 season, and is available through February.

Boyne Mountain hosts the Summit-To-Stein's Snowshoe Supper every Saturday evening through mid-March. A dining experience that you won't soon forget. Take a lift up to the top of the Mountain, walk across the lit up Sky Bridge and snowshoe your way to a gourmet prime rib and shrimp supper. The all-inclusive price is $130 per person includes a ride on the famed Hemlock chairlift, one-way evening walk across the lighted SkyBridge, hot toddy at Disciple's Overlook, snowshoe rental and a guided snowshoe hike, Prime Rib back down to Stein Eriksen's for a gourmet dinner.

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Midwest Ski Area Holiday Celebrations

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Despite the uneven start of winter across the Heartland you can count on holiday celebrations and skiing these ski resorts around the upper Great Lakes.

Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands will be celebrating the sights and sounds of the holidays through January 1 with lots of planned activities, and New Year’s Eve dinners, live bands and celebrations capped with fireworks over the ski slopes. Holiday week takes place on the Mountain December 20 through January 1, and at the Highlands December 15 through December 31st. The Midwest's first eight seat, high-speed lift will be operating on the Mountain's Disciples Ridge, and the first modern bubble liftin the Heartland, which offers a very comfortable ride, will be heading up the slopes at the Highlands.

Crystal Mountain will be hosting holiday celebrations December 22 through January 6. On the 24th ski with Santa. Planned activities will be taking place every day—fat bike tours, snowshoe tours, outdoor lasar tag horse drawn surrey rides—with dinners, live entertainment and New Year’s Eve celebrations. For families planning a visit kids 17 and under sleep free any time and kids from 7-17 ski free Sunday through Thursday. Six and under kids sleep, ski and eat breakfast free any time.

Shanty Creek’s 12 days of holiday events include story time with Santa on Friday December 15 and breakfast with the jolly old elf Saturday, December 16 and a visit with Santa at Schuss Mountain that evening and stay for the Torchlight Parade at 7:15 (weather permitting) and fireworks over Schuss Mountain. On Christmas Day ski and ride free with Santa on the Schuss Mountain slopes. Just bring a non-perishable food item or clothing to donate.

Ski Brule will be hosting a New Year's Eve celebration with skiing, tubing, a dinner, torchlight parade down the ski hill and fireworks over the ski hill followed by music and dancing through midnight. They currently have $58 advanced lift tickets on sale through December 24, which are valid anytime during the 2023/24 season. It's a savings of $15 per lift ticket.

Granite Peak is hosting their first ever Holiday Themed Family Festival, December 15-17, Santa and Buddy Elf will be there on Saturday, a special fireworks show that evening. There will be groomer rides with Santa an additional $20 per person, free s'mores lots of holiday lights and cheer. Family Festival weekend packages are priced and designed for families of three or more. Packages include discounted lift tickets with a two-night stay as well as free rentals for kids 12 & under.

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Midwest Ski Areas Opening Across Heartland

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Between natural snow and cold temperatures allowing for multiple days of snowmaking in a row, several Midwest ski areas were able to open a surprising number of runs to kick-start the season this past weekend. Some will close again for more snowmaking mid-week, and reopen the following weekend for hopefully the season.

Ski areas in Michigan from Bittersweet in the southern portion of the state and all those around Detroit—Mt. Holly, Alpine Valley, Pine Knob and Mt. Brighton—were able to be open last weekend. The large resorts—Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Nubs Nob, Treetops, Shanty Creek, Crystal Mountain and Caberfae Peaks—in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula were also open.

Last week end saw Perfect North, one of the most southern Midwest ski areas near Cincinnati, also able to open a limited number of runs. Many ski areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin were able to open Temperatures in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin appear to hold promise for snow making this week to supplement their snow already on slopes.

Lutsen Mountains, overlooking Lake Superior in Minnesota's Arrowhead, and Snowriver Mountain Resort, on the western end of Michigan's UP, have been able to open several runs. Both owned by Midwest Family Resort, who also owns Wisconsin's Granite Peak, are offering half-off lift and lodging specials through much of December, Lutsen's special offer is through 12-22-23, and Snowriver's is through 12-22-23. Lutsen guarantees to have at least 20 runs open by the first weekend in December, which is nearly 10 miles of trails.

Snowriver will have it's new lift, the UP's first six-seat, high-speed lift operating. It services the resort's main slopes and a big improvement over the tired, old quad chairlift that had been in use for a few decades; much faster, more capacity back up the 630-foot ski hill. It's an upside down ski resort with all the facilities and lodging on top, and that's where you start.

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Northwestern Lower Michigan Ski Resorts Opening

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Downhill ski season is underway in northwestern Lower Michigan. Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands and Nubs Nob have been able to open a few slopes for this coming weekend

 Between natural snow and cold temperatures that have allowed for multiple days of snowmaking in a row the resorts are able to open limited runs to kick-start the season. They will close again next week to allow for more snowmaking mid-week and reopen in early December for the season.

 Boyne Mountain celebrates 75 years this season, which makes it the sixth oldest of over 100 ski resorts in the Midwest. The Mountain made big news last ski season with the opening of their SkyBridge and the Heartland's first eight-person, high-speed lift. Continuing improvement of their uphill capacity they will open two more new chairlifts this season. Both are in areas that needed the upgrades, Superbowl and Boyneland. Both have loading conveyors and RFID gates. The Boyneland lift will also allow quicker access to the new Disciples 8 lift. The old conveyor carpet lift in the beginner's area has been replaced with a new covered conveyor lift.

 MoonBikes, the world's first fully electric snow bike, are making a return for the second year, and will be available to rent at the Mountain. Guided tours are available. It's the only place in the Midwest that you can find these bikes to rent. New color changing LED lights and music are being added in the Top Notch Terrain Park, and the SkyBridge will also have a dazzling new light display.

 Boyne Highlands, which celebrates 60 years this season, will also have a new chairlift. It's the Heartland's first modern bubble lift, which offers a very comfortable ride up the slopes. In addition to being protected from the elements with the bubble, it is also heated and has extra wide, ergonomically designed seats. A height-adjustable loading carpet makes it ideal for families with kids. The Highlands will be open midweek nights on Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. This season for the first time. Night skiing lift tickets will be $25 for adults and $20 for youth and seniors. A new glade area will be open on the south end ending at the Valley runs.

 Across the valley from the Highlands, Nubs Nob replaced their main front slopes lift, the old Green Lift, with a new quad lift that's also painted green and will carry the same name. The old lift was first installed 45 years ago. That lift delivers skiers to about two-thirds of Nubs 53 runs. It's the largest capital investment at the ski area in over 20 years. They will also be offering a new learn-to-ski program for ages 9 and up called 2024: A Ski Odyssey. After two group lessons you are eligible to purchase a Bargain Pass for remainder of the season for $100 and receive a $100 discount off a ski package at Bahnhof Ski Shop in Petoskey.

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New Lifts Being Added At Some Big Midwest Resorts

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Three of the Heartlands largest ski resorts have added new high-speed lifts to improve uphill access and one also for comfort. The new lifts will be operational for the 2023/24 ski season.

Boyne Highlands is installing the Midwest's first six-person bubble chairlift. It's replaced three older, slower three-person lifts—Camelot, Valley and MacGully. It extends to the top of Upper Camelot slope, which will allow for quicker access to a variety of scenic, popular terrain. The Camelot slope is being extensively regraded to also allow progressing beginners to enjoy the benefits of the new lift. The new lift will be the ultimate in comfort ride. It will have heated, extra wide seats that are ergonomically designed, plus individual footrests. You'll be warm and protected from the elements with a quick three-minute ride to the top in what the Highlands is billing as the fastest ride in the Midwest.

Snowriver Mountain Resort is installing the first six-seat, high-speed lift in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. A much needed improvement it will be replacing three old double chairlifts that took about a 10-minute ride to climb the 630-foot Jackson Creek ski hill, largest in the UP. It's an upside down resort where you start from the top of the ski hill and take the chairlift back to the top where the day lodge and all the lodging is located. The new lift will make it a quick ride back up in about three-and-half minutes, which will mean more slope time.

Lutsen Mountains is installing a new high-speed, six-person chairlift called the Raptor Express on popular Eagle Mountain, which will be their second high-speed, six-seater. Their first was installed a few years ago on Moose Mountain. They also operate the only gondola in the Heartland that takes passengers from Eagle up to Moose, which rises over a 1,000 feet above Lake Superior. It offers 1,000 skiable acres, an 860-foot skiable drop and 95 runs off four mountain peaks, each offering breathtaking views of Lake Superior. Eagle Mountain offers some of the best bump skiing around the Great Lakes.

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New Lifts Scheduled For Some Big Midwest Resorts

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Three of the Heartlands largest ski resorts are going to be busy this summer adding new high-speed lifts to improve uphill access and one also for comfort. The new lifts will all be operational for the 2023/24 ski season.

Boyne Highlands will be installing the Midwest's first six-person bubble chairlift. It's replacing three older, slower three-person lifts—Camelot, Valley and MacGully. It extends to the top of Upper Camelot slope, which will allow for quicker access to a variety of scenic, popular terrain. It will also serve as the primary lift for summer chairlift rides and expanding mountain bike trails. The Camelot slope is being extensively regraded to also allow progressing beginners to enjoy the benefits of the new lift. The new lift will be the ultimate in comfort ride. It will have heated, extra wide seats that are ergonomically designed, plus individual footrests. You'll be warm and protected from the elements with a quick three-minute ride to the top in what the Highlands is billing as the fastest ride in the Midwest.

Snowriver Mountain Resort is installing the first six-seat, high-speed lift in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. A much needed improvement it will be replacing three old double chairlifts that took about a 10-minute ride to climb the 630-foot ski hill, largest in the UP. It's an upside down resort where you start from the top of the ski hill and take the chairlift back to the top where the day lodge and all the lodging is located. The new lift will make it a quick ride back up in about three-and-half minutes, which will mean more slope time. Lutsen Mountains and Granite Peak owner Charles Skinner, Jr. purchased the old Indianhead/Black Jack ski hills last fall renaming it Snowriver Mountain Resort. Look for many improvements over the coming years.

Speaking of Lutsen they are installing a new high-speed, six-person chairlift on popular Eagle Mountain, which will be their second high-speed, six-seater. Their first was installed a few years ago on Moose Mountain. They also operate the only gondola in the Heartland that takes passengers from Eagle up to Moose, which rises over a 1,000 feet above Lake Superior. Travel Blue Book calls Lutsen Mountains one of the “Top Five Ski Resorts You May Not Have Heard Of.” It offers 1,000 skiable acres, an 860-foot skiable drop and 95 runs off four mountain peaks, each offering breathtaking views of Lake Superior. Eagle Mountain offers some of the best spring bump runs around the Great Lakes.

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Celebrating New Years Eve In Midwest Ski Country

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Winter has returned across the upper Midwest measured in feet of snow and several resorts have plans to celebrate the season. A welcome return in lieu of the last couple of year's subdued celebrations.

Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands will be celebrating the sights and sounds of the holidays through January 7 with lots of planned activities, and New Year’s Eve dinners, live bands and celebrations capped with fireworks over the ski slopes. The Midwest's first eight seat, high-speed lift opened December 23 on the Mountain's Disciples Ridge.

Crystal Mountain will be hosting holiday celebrations through January 7. On the 24th ski with Santa. Planned activities will be taking place every day—fat bike tours, snowshoe tours, horse drawn surrey rides—with dinners, live entertainment and New Year’s Eve celebrations. Winter Trails Day is January 7 and a great time to try free cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Treetops is hosting both family and adult-only New Years Eve parties that includes a lobster and filet dinner. Fireworks over the slopes takes place at midnight. An unusual activity that the family can partake in are dog sledding rides. It's the only Michigan snowsports resort that offers an opportunity to try dog sledding.

Ski Brule you can ride with Olympic gold medalist on December 29 and 31 and plan on staying over for the music and dancing 8 p.m.-midnight, a torchlight parade and fireworks at 9 and New Year's Eve dinner. You can also enjoy the Homestead BBQ, a bonfire, music, tubing and sleigh ride on December 30.

Granite Peak is hosting a New Year’s Eve party with a torchlight parade and fireworks over the mountain at 7 p.m. The historic Sundance Chalet will have live music, a special menu, a champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. The party is free, no cover charge, and kids are welcome at parent’s discretion.

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SnoCast: First Widespread Cold Snap of the Season

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Hallelujah! After a wild weather week, Mother Nature is about to chill out...literally. Following hurricane remnants in the East and a blizzard in the Plains, the first cold snap of the season will deliver a much needed jolt to kickstart ski season.

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Ski Midwest Gold Card Now On Sale, Limited Number Available

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How would you like to ski, and ride over 20 of the Midwest's top ski areas this winter, every day of the season for just $525?

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Celebrating Holidays With Events, Activities In Midwest Ski Country

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Winter has returned across the upper Midwest and several resorts have plans to celebrate the season. A welcome return in lieu of last year's subdued celebrations.

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Northern Michigan Ski Resorts Planning On More Normal Winter

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After a winter with mask mandates, restrictions of people on lifts, and having to reserve your place on the slopes ahead of time, northern Michigan ski resorts expect this season to be a more normal experience. Last season COVID interrupted the normal patterns and habits of snowsports enthusiasts at all northern Michigan ski resorts.

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Scenic Fall Chairlift Views Abound In Midwest

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One of the best ways to enjoy breathtaking fall views that abound across the upper Midwest is a slow chairlift ride to the top of the ski hill. Here are some of the best around the upper Midwest.

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Lift Served Mountain Biking Available Around The Great Lakes

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Several Heartland ski areas allow mountain biking on their summer slopes, but if you’re looking for lift-served, you will only find five.

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Midwest Well Represented Among Top 25 U.S. Ski/Golf Resorts

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Golf Pass, part of NBC Sports, recently released its list of the top 25 best U.S. golf and ski resorts, and the Midwest is well represented with four resorts making the list. Two were among the top four.

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SnoCast: Big Snow Targets the Rockies

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A storm system will bring heavy snow to the western mountains, especially the Colorado Rockies this weekend as a cold and stormy pattern persists. On the flip side, the East enjoys mild and spring-like conditions. This week’s SnoCast has the details through St. Patrick’s Day week.

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Glade, Backcountry Skiing Popular In The Midwest

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Glade skiing, popular out west and in the east, doesn’t take a backseat in the Heartland. Ski areas located across the upper tier of the Midwest offer tree skiing and even a few cliff jumps.

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Combine Ski Trip With Romance At Midwest Resort

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With Valentine’s Day and President's Day weekend falling at the same time it may be a busy time on Heartland slopes. Many resorts may be sold out. Consider the whole month of February for a romantic getaway with some slope time.

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Winter Ziplining At Midwest Ski Areas

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A few Michigan ski resorts have added a little zip to their attractions, literally.

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Holidays Busy At Midwest Ski Areas Expect More Filled Slopes

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The holidays were busy at ski areas across the Midwest from the Black Hills to the Great Lakes with many hitting capacities. Most expect the same experience to occur over the upcoming Martin Luther King (MLK) weekend this month and with a combination of Valentine's and President's Day weekend next month. Plan ahead for lift tickets.

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Boyne Highlands and Mountain Offer New Unique Winter Activities

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All Midwest resorts offer an array of trails, lifts, and your more common winter outings like cross country skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire winter biking. If you are looking for a little more unusual winter experience check out a couple of new offerings at Michigan's Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain.

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