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.
January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month, and throughout the Midwest ski areas are offering discounted lesson programs. Michigan offers the only statewide program, which is available at ski areas throughout the Wolverine State. None of the other Heartland state associations offer a statewide program for easy access, cost, and simplicity. The nice thing is that if you live near either one of Michigan's peninsulas you can cross the border and enroll in a ski area near you.
Crystal Mountain may not be the biggest Midwest ski resort in terms of vertical, but they more than make up for that with great trails, terrain parks, numerous glades, and one of the best teaching areas around the Great Lakes.
Three old-time Midwest ski areas that have aged well join the “baby boomer” generation. Turning 55 this season are Big Powderhorn, Michigan’s UP, and Welch Village, located in the deep river valleys southeast of the Twin Cities. Chestnut Mountain, the senior member of the group, turns 60 this season.
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.
With the winter-like cold air that's settled in over the Great Lakes, three more Midwest ski areas plan to open later this week with a couple more scheduled to open the following weekend.
A couple of ski areas near Detroit offer a popular combination season pass that benefits thousands of snowsports enthusiasts in the Motor City. Four popular Ohio ski areas grouped around the Cleveland/Akron metropolis also offer a similar season pass, again benefiting thousands.
From a stroll in a haunted forest to great pumpkin races, and a zipline of terror a trio of Heartland ski resorts have some haunting good fun planned leading up to this Halloween. It’s also prime fall color for chairlift rides to the top of the ski hills for some brilliant vistas.
For Midwestern skiers that like to get in a lot of slope time around the country outside the Heartland, a few new options are available for this season.
With season pass sale price deadlines fast approaching, skiers across the country are googling multi-resort season pass benefits, building pass comparison matrixes in Excel, and crunching day and dollar amounts to see which pass makes the most sense for the coming ski season: the Epic Pass, Ikon Pass, or Mountain Collective.
Luckily for mountain town lovers, activities and events aren’t just for the winter. Whether you’re looking to go full-in on biking, music, beer or food (or perhaps them all), mountain resorts across the country are your destination for summer fun. Keep that adventure bucket full with this list from SnoCountry on not-to-miss summer events.
After harvesting the spring corn snow that’s still abundant this spring at many resorts around the country, you could just sit back and enjoy a frosty one on the deck. Or, you could kick up your outdoor game a notch with an afternoon bike ride that will make that end-of-day refreshment all the more rewarding.
Once again the Spring Challenge between Michigan resorts Boyne Mountain and Mount Bohemia, located in the UP, is on. Which resort will keep the lifts turning longest and skiers and snowboarders on the slopes?
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.
It’s still ski and ride season across the upper Midwest. A great time to get out and enjoy springtime warmth, sun and snow as we put a wrap on this season, which has been one of the best in recent history across the Heartland. These eight areas are still open through at least this weekend and some are planning on staying open through the month.
Early April can be a great time to hit the slopes and enjoy some spring time fever with the longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures. Seven Upper Midwest resorts are staying open into April, and some are offering enticing lift and lodging specials.
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.