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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Combine Midwest Ski Trip And Romance For Valentine's Day

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With Valentine's Day approaching why not combine a Heartland ski trip with a romantic location and enjoy the best of both. Here are some great choices to consider around the Great Lakes for both great skiing and romantic nights.

Lutsen Resort, nestled along Lake Superior’s north shore, sits literally just across the road from Lutsen Mountains that rises almost 1,000 feet above the lake. The ski area offers 95 runs that tumble down four interconnected mountains. Minnesota Monthly Magazine calls the 140-year-old resort that sits right on Superior's shoreline “the most romantic resort in the state.” They offer a Ski and Stay package available throughout the winter. Combine your lodging with your ski tickets and save on both. Guests are offered round trip free shuttle service to the ski hill, just minutes away.

Wisconsin’s Granite Peak and the city of Wausau make a nice romantic combo. At night the ski area illuminates the mountain rising above the city. The Jefferson Street Inn, located on the town square, offers a romantic getaway. It's just minutes from the ski area, and after a busy day on the slopes enjoy a soak in their hot tub and a dip in the indoor pool. The Inn's Char Grillhouse is perfect for a romantic dinner. Room rates over Valentine's Day start from around $140 per night. Purchase your lift tickets online from the ski area, and the earlier you reserve the more you save.

Chestnut Mountain, near Galena, Illinois, is perched high atop a ridge overlooking the Mississippi River, and offers some of the best skiing in the Tri-State Region, Trails cut through rock bound cliffs look like they take you right to riverbanks. It's a romantic setting with rooms overlooking the ski slopes and river. The hotel's restaurant the Summit Food & Spirits also offers river views and fine dinning. Room rates midweek at that time are around $120 per night. Purchase your lift tickets ahead of time online from the ski area, and save.

The Inn at Bay Harbor, located in Petoskey between Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain, offers twenty-percent off lift tickets at either ski area with their Romance Package. They provide flowers, wine and much more in a romantic setting. All you have to do is cozy in, and celebrate your love. Between the two ski areas, about a half-hour apart, they offer over 100 ski trails, multiple lifts including high-speed, and numerous terrain parks. The Inn is one of the more romantic locations in Petoskey, often called the “Nantucket of the Midwest.”

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Heartland Ski Resorts Celebrating Significant Milestones

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No less than seven Heartland ski areas are celebrating significant milestones this season. All have been in business at least 65 years and a couple started 85 years ago, according to the International Skiing History Association.

Pine Mountain in Michigan's UP and Wisconsin’s Wilmot Mountain, near Chicago, both opened in 1938. Wilmot has arguably produced more Midwest skiers than any other ski hill in the Heartland. Terry Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota was the first ski resort to open in the Midwest. It opened two years earlier in 1936 followed closely by Granite Peak in the Badger State and the Wolverine State's Caberfae in 1937.

A decade later Wisconsin’s Mont Du Lac, Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota and Boyne Mountain in Michigan all opened in 1948. The Mountain also brought the first chairlift to the Midwest. Both are celebrating 75 years of hosting heartland skiers.

In 1958 Wisconsin’s Tyrol Basin and Michigan's Nubs Nob opened and are celebrating 65 years this season.

Midwest skiing has a long proud history. It’s developed at a pace with the rest of the country. Heartland ski areas have attitude and terrain to match, and these eight ski areas and resorts are great examples of the regions diversity. You don’t have to go far to find skiing and riding across this broad region. It’s been around for a few decades. An added bonus for Heartland skiers is that many of the ski areas also offer night skiing, which you don't find at many western ski resorts.

There are over 120 ski areas scattered across the Heartlands with the most grouped around the Great Lakes states. Michigan has the most ski areas with a little over 40 followed by 30 in Wisconsin and 19 in Minnesota. Michigan's Mount Bohemia in Michigan's UP was recently voted as the top ski resort in the United States by USA Today readers in it's annual poll.

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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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Boyne Mountain Takes Michigan Last Chair Challenge Ending Midwest Ski Season

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Boyne Mountain officially ended the Heartland's ski season last Saturday, April 16, as temperatures hit mid-80s with a handful of ski runs still open. By still remaining open last weekend they also clinched the 2023 Michigan Last Chair Challenge against Mount Bohemia. Last season they ended in a tie as the last two ski areas in the state still open, and closed at the same time. When the competition started a few years ago both skied into the first weekend of May. Mount Bohemia's last day, which has no snow making capabilities, was Saturday April 9. 

A bet of $1,000 is involved. The loser pays it to the winner's chosen charity, which this year is Top of Michigan Trails supporting the leadership efforts they have taken with bike trail-making efforts. Last year when they tied both donated to their choice. Mount Bohemia's donation will help purchase safety, way-finding and trailhead signage to mark the way for the Boyne Valley Trailway between Charlevoix and Boyne City and Boyne Falls, according to social media post by Boyne.

Boyne's last Saturday was actually a multi-sport day with the Hemlock Open, which pairs two-person teams with ski racing in the morning and a golf scramble in the afternoon. It's a two-run giant slalom format in the morning race and a 9-hole golf scramble in the afternoon. This is an annual event the Mountain holds, and a couple of years it was held the first weekend of May. The last time was 2018.

Both are very busy in summer with many activities

Boyne Mountain summer activities include world class golf, both mountain biking and paved trail biking, zip-lining, scenic chairlift rides, and a nice beach on large Deer Lake.

Mount Bohemia summer activities include wellness retreats in the summer, kayaking, hiking and biking in the area on beautiful mountain roads often offering stunning views of Lake Superior.

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Skiing Continues Into Mid April At Four Upper Midwest Resorts

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Minnesota's Lutsen Mountains is holding their Meltdown April 14-16, which will feature seven bands over the weekend. You can save up to 40-percent off lift and lodging packages. Three of their four mountains will be open to offer 50-plus runs for your skiing pleasure. They will be open daily through April 9 and reopen for the Meltdown. They originally had planned to stay open weekends through the month as in past years, but due to the installation of their new six-seat Raptor Express Chairlift on Eagle Mountain they will close for the season after skiing on Sunday April 16. The slopes are in prime spring skiing condition having received over 12 feet of snow so far this season, and more is on the way. It's a party on the North Shore.

Ski Brule, located in Michigan’s UP, plans to stay open Saturday and Sundays through April 15. They just received 18-inches of snow on April 1, no fooling. They are fully open and trails are in great shape. Sunday, April 16, is Carload Day. Pack the car as full as you can and everyone in the car gets a free lift ticket for the day. That is supposed to be their last day of the season. With all the snow they have received and the possibility of more during the month they say, on their website, that the operational schedule is subject to change, which leaves the possibility of staying open weekends later in the month. They have skied weekends through April in past years. 

Mount Bohemia, also located in the UP, plans on remaining open weekends through April. Their Nordic Spa will also remain open weekends through the month, which makes the perfect winter weekend getaway. Skiing and spa time afterwards a great combination. All the backcountry skiing is fully open and conditions are in excellent shape. Lift tickets are $87.

Boyne Mountain, in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, is staying open daily through April 9, and possibly longer on weekends as long as the snow holds out. A couple of past years they stayed open weekends into May and often the end of the month.

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Upcoming Fun Events Around Upper Midwest Ski Areas

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April Fools Day may be on the horizon, but no fooling there is still some fun to look forward to on upper Midwest ski slopes. Don't put those skis and snowboards away just yet. Get out and enjoy some of the best slope time of the season with prime conditions and longer daylight hours.

Wisconsin's Granite Peak is hosting an April Fool's Festival, Saturday, April 1, which includes clowns, a circus atmosphere and a cardboard cup race on the slopes in view of the historic deck. Sleds can only be constructed of cardboard, zip ties, & duct tape. The Peak's Pond Skim event took place Saturday, March 25.. Competitors who made it across had a shot at a 23/24 Season Pass, based on judges choice. They remain open daily through April 8.

Mount Bohemia, in Michigan's UP, which remains open weekends through April, is hosting a Beach Party on Saturday April 1. It includes a pool party, and an egg hunt for prizes. Dress up in your best Fools Day costume to hit the slopes. The winner with the best costume will receive two seats for a day in the Voodoo Mountain snowcat next season. There's also a bikini race with the winner receiving a two year season pass. The winner is voted on for both form and the best bikini. An egg hunt also takes place with prizes involved.

Minnesota's Lutsen Mountains is hosting it's infamous and long running Sweetwater Shakedown March 31-April 2. Cool nights and warm spring sun push the North Star State maples into producing sweet maple syrup. It also produces some of the finest spring corn snow skiing around the Great Lakes. Hence the celebration of the sweet water run (maple syrup) with sweet skiing and sweet music with eight bands performing over the three days, day and night. It's one of the best spring skiing events in the Heartland. Lutsen remains open daily through April 19.

Also open daily into April are Michigan's Boyne Mountain open through April 19, Crystal Mountain and Snowriver Mountain Resort through April 2.

All are in good shape with most of their slopes and trails open heading towards April.

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Handful Of Midwest Ski Areas Celebrating Milestones This Season

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Five Heartland ski areas are celebrating significant milestones this season. All have been in business at least 65 years and a couple started in 85 and one 75 years ago, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

Pine Mountain, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and Wilmot Mountain, just north of Chicago along the Wisconsin border, opened in 1938, and celebrate 85 years this season. They opened just a couple of years after Sun Valley in the west and Bromley Mountain opened in the east, both credited with kicking off the North American ski resort industry. That first chairlift installed at Sun Valley 87 years ago was purchased by Everett Kircher in 1947, moved to Boyne Mountain and introduced the modern era of skiing to the Heartland. It's still in use hauling visitors to the top of Mountain to hike across the world's longest timber towered suspension bridge that was opened last fall. It's available to walk across year round.

Wilmot Mountain, located just north of Chicago along Wisconsin’s border, also turned 85 this season. Its unassuming vertical drop of 230 feet is offset by its stature with the million or so skiers that have skied here since it opened in 1938. It offers 25 trails, seven lifts and two surface tows to accommodate the large weekend crowds.

Pine Mountain is also home to the Kiwanis Ski Club jumping tournament that draws the best jumpers worldwide every year. Jump Weekend is where the US jumping record was set at 140 meters/459 feet and is still held here. The ski area offers a 500-foot vertical, 27 runs, three chairlifts and two surface tows.

Lutsen Mountains, 75 years old, opened in 1948. It's the largest ski resort around the Great Lakes with a nearly 900-foot vertical, the only gondola in the Heartland, and 95 runs scattered across four mountains. It lives up to its namesake “Mountains of the Midwest.” It's located in Minnesota's Arrowhead offering gorgeous views of Lake Superior from most of it's trails.

Michigan's Nubs Nob and Wisconsin’s Tyrol BasinPine both opened in 1958 and celebrated 65 years in business this season.

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Upper Midwest Ski Resorts Offers Great Spring Break Opportunities

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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 as well as some great activities.

 Lutsen Mountains along Lake Superior’s north shore has good snow depth and plans on staying open daily into April. With its nearly 1,000-foot vertical drop and 95 runs scattered over four mountains it offers plenty of choices to keep you exploring for days. It lives up to its namesake “Mountains of the Midwest.”

 They are offering a couple of family packages that are good through the end of March. A family spring break package offers 40-percent off on a five night stay. Family Festival Weekend, March 24-26, free rentals are included with adult and child family festival lift tickets. There's family entertainment, a pizza party and fireworks over the mountain.

 Ski Brule, located in Michigan’s UP, is fully open and plans to stay open through April. They are offering College Spring Break, March 16-26. Show your College ID and your lift ticket is $60. It also includes, from $282 per person, a weekend that includes two night's lodging, lift tickets, breakfasts, Lunches, and one dinner. Lodging package is valid for college students.

 In Michigan’s Lower Peninsula Boyne Mountain is putting a new spin on there Carnival Weekend, March 17-19, also well known as Crazy Days among Heartland skiers. There will be plenty of music with mixologists spinning beats from top to bottom of the Mountain. It includes a St. Patty's Day party in the Snowflake Lounge Friday night, a costume contest on Saturday at Disciples Overlook, and the Slush Cup Sunday at the base of North McLouth.

Crystal Mountain is offering a Hot Lodging Dates with up to 25-percent off on select dates through the months of March and April. Daily activities will be taking place. For families staying at Crystal, kids six and under sleep and eat breakfast free (up to two kids eat free, per paying adult). They are fully open with 59 trails. During the month they are hosting some great weekend activities including Spring Carnival March 11, St. Patrick's Day March 18 that includes a kayak race down the Mountain, and Retro Party Day March 25. Bring back your decade in costume and win a prize.

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MoonBikes On The Ski Slopes Of Boyne Mountain

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Boyne Mountain has added a new element for enjoying winter at one of the Heartland's oldest ski resorts. They are called MoonBikes, which is essentially an electric snow bike. It's different than an electric fat tire bike or a snowmobile.

They have an individual ski up front. A small track on the back powers it through the snow, and they kind of handle like a moped crossed with a Jet Ski, according to Boyne's director of adventure in a recent story published in the Traverse City Record Eagle.

"Thrilling,” is the word he used to describe the experience of riding one in the article. He went on to say that it's not hard to operate the bikes. “MoonBikes are an ideal fit for Boyne Mountain to bring another standout attraction that also aligns with our dedication to sustainability. Moonbikes were built for fun, approachability and sustainability, all factors that Boyne believes in. They are battery-powered, and don't take any gas or oil to operate.”

They are built by MoonBikes, founded in France in 2018, with a secondary base of operations that was established in 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. Boyne Mountain is the first North American resort to feature them. They have a fleet of 10 for this season. They are currently featured at over 40 European resorts.

Boyne is currently offering an eight mile guided tour on the Moonbike's that takes around two hours, which includes some tutorial time learning to handle and maneuver them. Helmets are required and provided with the rental. Ski boots are not allowed for riding.

The tours have instantly become a success and are fully booked on a consistent basis. They are offered three times daily with additional night tours on Friday and Saturday. It's best to book a tour online. The tours start from $129.

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SnoCast: Region by Region Forecast Through Valentine's Day

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In this week's SnoCountry SnoCast, what's not to love as we see fresh snow for places that have been fairly quiet thus far this winter.

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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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Several New Lifts Added At Midwest Ski Areas

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Four Heartland ski resorts made some significant improvements adding new chairlifts for the coming season. Most were to improve access to already existing areas of the ski hills, and one was to create more area and add new trails.

Michigan's Boyne Mountain will have the Midwest's first eight-seat, high-speed lift in operation this winter for their Disciples Ridge replacing two older slower lifts. It will dramatically change that area. For some time it has offered some of the best terrain on the Mountain from easy to advanced, but it was way under utilized. It wasn't easy to get over there, and the lifts were very slow cutting down on slope time. All of that will change with new access and this new lift. It will be like discovering a whole new area. And, for those who say it's unneeded in the Midwest you know little about Heartland skiing and riding.

Caberfae Peaks, also in Michigan, has added a new triple chair this past summer replacing an old double that only went half way up the ski hill. The new lift will unload on a new third Peak opening up more terrain including a new trail and easier access to their 25-acre backcountry area. It will increase uphill capacity and dramatically decrease the mid-mountain congestion on the popular first Peak terrain.

In Ohio Boston Mills/Brandywine ski area, located between Cleveland and Akron, have replaced a couple of old chairlifts with quad chairlifts that will greatly increase uphill efficiency at both locations. They replaced a double on the Boston Mills slopes and a triple at Brandywine. The two Vail ski areas, which sit across a small valley from each other, operate as one area sharing a driveway entrance. Located approximately five minutes apart by car lift tickets and season passes are valid at both.

Searchmont Mountain has a new main triple chairlift that will be operational this winter, which will greatly enhance their uphill capacity. The 703-foot vertical mountain, located just north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is popular with Great Lakes skiers and riders from Michigan.

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SnoCast: It's Beginning to Look Like Ski Season

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With more resorts opening, chilly temperatures, and new snow for the Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest, we're officially calling it ski season. Let's dive into the weather outlook in this week's SnoCast. 

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Boyne Mountain Adds Sky Bridge And New Eight-Seat Lift

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Boyne Mountain is stepping up its attraction for Midwest visitors and skiers with a couple of significant new additions to its landscape.

The SkyBridge, which just opened, is the world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge. The 1,200-foot-long walking bridge is located between the resort's McLouth and Disciples Ridge peaks. The five foot walking surface is suspended 118 feet above the valley floor and will offer breathtaking panoramic views of surrounding Boyne valley and Northern Michigan's rolling hills. The scenery will be spectacular throughout the fall season with the area known for its eye-catching fall color foliage. It will be open year round for pedestrians.

With its timber-frame design, the bridge is a nod to the logging heritage of Northern Michigan. The four wooden timber towers, which anchor the ends of the Sky Bridge are 52 feet high. The bridge is a five foot wide walking surface suspended 118 feet above the valley floor by cables and is nearly a quarter-mile, 1200 feet, long. The bridge will be available operating on the same schedule as the daily ski lifts.

You won't be allowed to take ski equipment across. You access the Sky Bridge just beyond the Eagle's Nest restaurant and the exit ramp for the high-speed, six-seat lift. It is open daily through the end of the month from 10 a..m.-8:30 pm. From Nov. 4 through Dec. 4 it will only be open Friday through Sunday. For the winter season it will be open daily starting Dec. 9. Pricing is $25 adults, $20 seniors, and $15 children.

The other big Boyne Mountain news is the installation of the Heartland's first eight-person, high-speed lift, which is being installed on Disciples Ridge. It will be open for the 2022/23 snowsports season. It's replacing the old, slow Disciples I and II lifts. The new eight seater will get you to the top in just a little over three minutes. The old lifts used to take at least twice as long. It will feature automatic safety bars and a raisable loading carpet for young skiers and riders. Disciples Ridge was always underused. That should change this coming season.

They put the 180 Disciples chairs from the old lifts on sale this past May and sold them all in one hour raising about $100,000 for the newly formed Boyne Mountain Fund for Youth supporting programs and projects benefiting youth within Charlevoix County, home to the Mountain.

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Boyne Mountain Offers Great Biking

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Boyne Mountain offers a nice selection of summer activities, especially biking with paved bike path options as well as over 20 miles of mountain bike trails. A new paved pathway runs from Boyne Falls over to Boyne City on Lake Charlevoix, and the other paved option is on Boyne property. Both are nice rides.

The Boyne Valley Trailway offers a scenic ride through countryside mostly away from roads. It's a little over six miles one way, and the Mountain has a scenic mile connecter trail that joins the Trailway as it leaves Boyne Falls. You really feel like you're riding through countryside. Enjoy pedaling around the old town, which comes alive in summer with people and music in late afternoon and early evening. It's around 16 miles out-and-back.

The other paved ride flows over the Mountain Pass Road from the village down to the golf course area and Beach House on Deer Lake. Then ride the seven mile scenic cart path, open to bikers and hikers, that winds up along the golf course and back over the ski hill back to the village. There are nice scenic vistas from the upper trail of the countryside. As you start back down to the village it runs along the ski slopes. The total round trip is 15 miles.

An extensive collection of mountain bike trails are on the north side of the Mountain Pass. I found the lower trails offered some nice riding through forest and meadows. The upper trails, in a forest setting, are considered difficult and most difficult. There are a couple of entrances to the trails on top of the Mountain Pass Road as you head over to Deer Lake. You can also get chairlift access with your personal mountain bike to the top and trails lead over to the upper trail system. There are close to 22 miles of mountain bike trails.

Other summer activities include a nine-station zipline, paintball, horseback riding, and, of course, golf on their award winning courses.

I stayed in the newly remodeled Chalet Edelweiss, a European inspired guest haus sitting at the base of the ski slopes overlooking the village. A bike fleet is included for lodging guests to use during their stay. Luxurious would best describe it with all the amenities included.

Spend a couple of nights to divide the rides into a couple of days and enjoy riding up their chairlift for some great early evening views of the surrounding countryside. You can also get a look at the new peak-to-peak, pedestrian sky bridge being built between the peaks of McLouth and Disciples Ridge with an anticipated opening in late September. It will be the world's longest timber-towered suspension bridge stretching 1,203 feet, nearly a quarter-mile, and 118 feet high offering panoramic views of the valley.

 

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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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Easter Weekend Skiing In Midwest And Beyond

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Three ski resorts—Lutsen Mountains, Ski Brule and Boyne Mountain—plan on being open over Easter Weekend and weekends through the month. Mount Bohemia, which SnoCountry just posted last week, is also staying open weekends through April.

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