Crystal Mountain is Michigan's first ski resort to give up metal wickets and sticky paper for chairlift access with the installation of a radio frequency identification device (RFID) ticketing and gate system.
The derelict Sugar Loaf Resort near Traverse City, MI, once one of the top ski resorts in the Wolverine State, was sold in 2017 to Jeff Katofsky, President of J. D. Market Acquisitions. The once-popular resort was shuttered in 2000 after the ski season and has fallen into disarray.
The abrupt end to the ski season, amid all the confusion, has prompted some Midwestern ski areas and resorts to push back the deadline for securing next season's annual pass at the best price point. Some have pushed the deadline to the end of this month, and others have pushed it back even further.
Ski areas may be closed in these historic times, but the weather doesn’t stop! Here’s a look at the national snow conditions through April 1.
One of the Heartland's oldest ski areas, Wisconsin's Wilmot Mountain, is celebrating its 82nd year in business in 2020. Indianhead, part of the UP's Big Snow Resort, is celebrating 60 this spring and Mt. Bohemia, also located in Michigan's UP is turning 20.
Spring is in the air across the Heartland, which means softer temperatures and longer daylight hours to enjoy the slopes. Many ski areas celebrate the season with spring carnivals. SnoCountry takes a look at some of the best upcoming this month.
A longtime mainstay among Midwest ski areas, Marquette Mountain, in Michigan's UP, has been sold to Wisconsin industrialist Eric Jorgensen, whose company, JX Enterprises, serves the truck transportation industry around the Great Lakes.
Over the next few weeks six Midwest ski areas are hosting women’s ski and snowboard clinics. It's a great chance to brush up before heading west on your spring trip.
Family-friendly terrain, teaching programs, and a good variety of advanced and expert terrain. Here's a half-dozen of the top family resorts in the Heartland that will keep a family of differing abilities happy for a spring break getaway.
All Midwest resorts offer a good array of trails, lifts and your more common winter outings like cross country skiing and snowshoeing. A few offer fat tire winter biking, but if you really want some unusual choices for a neat winter experience check out Michigan's Treetops Resort.
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.