Fat tire winter biking, an option at some resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and northern Minnesota, also now offers rentals and one even lift service. Check it out.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer passport programs that allow elementary-age kids to give skiing and snowboarding a try for free. In Michigan, it covers both fourth and fifth graders. Minnesota’s program covers just fourth graders. Surprisingly Wisconsin, the Heartland state just behind Michigan for a number of ski areas doesn't offer such a program.
Boyne Highlands' classic three-story hotel with its vine-covered alpine motif and ski hill rising behind the roofline is arguably one of the most iconic views among Heartland ski resorts. Rising over 550 feet, the largest vertical in Lower Michigan. An upgrade, transforming the iconic lodge into an upscale, luxury hotel is taking place in four phases with the first phase beginning this winter. When complete 85 newly furnished rooms and suites should be ready for next season.
The resort’s Saturday night Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner held during January and February is a must; a sleigh ride up to the North Peak Lodge, elegantly set and a gourmet dinner with strolling minstrels tops off the evening. The popular dinner is being held nightly Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 1 and 4.The hotel dining room is one of the best in the Harbor Springs area. Overlooking the lit slopes is your “eye candy” for the meal. Teddy Griffin’s Roadhouse, just down the road, is a popular offsite restaurant.
The best place to stay is the hotel; the high-speed lift is right outside the door to the slopes. Two more nearby options: The Bartley House, a longtime family favorite, is home to the largest hot tub in the Midwest; the Heather Highlands Inn, just a short stroll from the main lodge, also offers hotel rooms and condominium suites.
The ski hill offers 55 runs, some over a mile long, four terrain parks, numerous glades, and eight lifts, including a high-speed quad. This classic Midwest ridge, bent and folded by the last retreating glacier, offers a visual distinctiveness with varied slopes and contours that are rare for the Heartland. It’s one of few resorts around the Great Lakes where you really need a trail map. The secluded North Face runs feel like a separate ski area. The front face offers over a dozen black-star slopes, one double-black and plenty of long cruising runs in between. Beginners have their own area and chairlift plus a magi-carpet.
Midweek three-night packages start from $98 per person, per night and include lift tickets and a hot buffet breakfast each morning. They are available all season long excluding holidays.
When I first started visiting the resort years ago skiing was about the only reason you went. Today there are many other activities to enjoy. You can try the multiple-stage zipline tour, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, horseback riding, and tubing in addition to skiing and riding.
It’s the time of year when many consider ski pass purchases for next season. If you are happy skiing your favorite area only and not interested in passes offering multiple options, read no further. There are a few a few options for Heartland skiers that like to ski many areas over the winter, and three of the alternatives offer options for those that like to take a winter trip or three to the mountains.
Looking for some opportunities to ski over spring break? You don’t have to head out of the Heartland to find plenty of opportunity across the upper Midwest. Save on travel time, expense and enjoy some prime late season slope conditions.
Spring season is a great time to hit those moguls building over the course of a season. Mogul busting is a springtime tradition at these resorts scattered across the upper Midwest. SnoCountry checks them out.
It’s been a great winter across the Heartland. Lots of snow still on the slopes, longer days to enjoy them, and many areas celebrate the season with spring carnivals. SnoCountry takes a look.
With all the recent winter storms marching across the Heartland, the Midwest appears to be in great shape heading into March. Could we see a repeat of last season that saw many upper Midwest ski areas staying open well into April, and six -Boyne Mountain, Ski Brule, Mount Bohemia and Big Snow, Granite Peak, Lutsen Mountains—stayed open into May?
Mountaintop sleigh ride and snowshoe dining have long been popular activities at western resorts. Four northern Michigan resorts are now embracing the tradition with signature style. Ski Brule, Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain and Treetops tender a truly unique outdoor experience.
The recent cold snap to hit the Heartland brought with it some great snow conditions for Midwest ski areas. The coldest weather that forced many to suspend operations for two or three days fortunately came midweek. The bookend weekends brought out good crowds with great slope conditions.
Boyne Mountain, credited with many industry firsts for lift innovations and snowmaking, first opened in January 1949. They had the first chairlift in the Midwest, and can also lay claim to pioneering the four season resort concept now popular throughout the country when they started adding golf to the activity list.
Michigan snowboarder David Zemens and friend Sabato Caputo have set a new North American record for snowboarding the most ski areas in a 24-hour period. They were able to hit 16 ski areas starting Friday evening, Jan. 11 in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula and ending Saturday evening on Jan. 12 near Detroit.
January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Throughout the Midwest ski areas are offering discounted lesson programs. Michigan offers one of the best programs for cost and simplicity, and it’s available at ski areas throughout the Wolverine State.
Winter is off to a great start across the Heartland, and several Midwest resorts have plans to celebrate the season. Santa may also take advantage of the good conditions.
The 2018-19 winter is off to a great start all across the Midwest. Most ski areas across the upper tier of the Heartland and around the Great Lakes opened in November, and the rest across the Lower Midwest, Ohio, Indiana and Missouri, opened this past weekend or scheduled to open next weekend.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) is offering a White Gold Card that allows you to ski or snowboard a full day at 33 Michigan ski areas, and Skiing Wisconsin offers a coupon book allowing you a day at 17 participating Badger State ski areas. It keeps your lift ticket cost for the day to around $8.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer passport programs allowing elementary age kids the chance to try skiing and snowboarding for free. In Michigan it covers both fourth and fifth graders, and Minnesota’s program covers fourth graders.
Winter has arrived across the upper Midwest. Many ski areas and resorts are opening this weekend, and Thanksgiving Weekend also looks good if you want to get away for that first ski trip of the new season.
Family friendly terrain, ski and snowboard teaching programs, and a good variety of advanced and expert terrain. Here are my top five recommendations for ski resorts in the Midwest to keep a family of differing abilities happy.
Just like for skiers and ‘boarders, golfers want to squeeze in that last day of the season. Even as most U.S. resorts are turning on their snow guns and warming up the snowcats, many still keep the golf course open for those late-season die-hards.