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 January and February’s cold and snowy weather, many school districts called off classes for multiple days in a row and parents found themselves cooped up in the house with bored children.
The best solution to cabin fever? Sledding and snow tubing.
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.
The Heartland is known for its family skiing and time together on the slopes, but, as often the case, family members take off in different directions. It’s not always easy to find slopes that can accommodate all members, but SnoCountry has found five resorts with runs that can keep all members interested and together.
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 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.
Fat tire bikers at Crystal Mountain have over 11 miles of groomed trails. (Crystal Mountain)
Fat tire biking, popular at western and eastern ski resorts, has been gaining traction in the Midwest. Ski resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula and northern Minnesota are now offering rentals and trails to ride. Check it out.
Join Santa for a run down the slopes. (Shanty Creek)
It's been a good start to the Midwest ski season, and a major snowstorm is forecast for Christmas. Several Heartland resorts have plans to celebrate the season. Santa is bringing the snow get out and celebrate.
Crystal Mountain kids in lesson. (Crystal Mountain)
Many state and industry programs are offered throughout the west and east allowing elementary age kids the chance to give skiing and snowboarding a try throughout the winter. The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) offers one of the best in my opinion. It’s the only statewide program I could find being offered in the Midwest.
Great snow makes for happy snowboarders at Shanty Creek. (Shanty Creek/Facebook)
While results for the just finished Midwest snowsports season aren’t finalized yet at least northern Michigan resorts and ski areas are reporting they had a good season.
Slush cups are part of spring fun in Michigan. (Shanty Creek)
Despite a record warm February across the Great Lakes that saw some ski areas across southern Michigan, Indiana and Ohio call it a season all ready, slopes in northern Michigan are still well covered. March’s longer, warmer days bring out the fun side of northern Michigan’s ski resorts.
Kid’s Festival Weekend takes place at Boyne Mountain, March 10-12, with all kinds of events planned for kids of every age. At Boyne Highlands the eighth annual Brew-Ski Festival happens March 10-11. Lodging packages are available for both events.
Krazy Daze events include slaloms, jump the pond competition, tailgate parties, face painting, and costume judging. On Saturday there are GS races, a Silly Slalom, and, of course, a pond skimming event.
Carnival Weekend brings out the beads, bands, and costume competitions. Check out the on-hill party at Victor Warming House on Saturday. There’s outside cookouts on the Stein Eriksen Patio and live music. The spectator friendly Slush Cup takes place on Sunday. Carnival weekend packages start from $160 per person, per night.
Nubs Nob hosts Mardi Gras March 18. A family oriented event with fun and games for all; the Soaker Cup, Costume contest, Crazy Couples, races and the Petoskey Steel Drum Band on the deck.
Crystal Mountain is celebrating sun and snow with March on the Mountain. The Spring Carnival, which includes the, cardboard classic and slush cup, takes place March 10-11. The following weekend, March 17-18, is Celts and Kayaks featuring an on slope downhill kayak race, another slush cup and Celtic dancing. Retro Weekend takes place March 24-25 with a mountain run, bike races and a free slopeside concert. Friday, March 10, is 6-for-$60. Grab six friends and head for Crystal. You can’t beat an all-mountain $10 lift ticket.
The resort is offering 25-percent off peak season lodging rates throughout the month of March in limited quantities.
Shanty Creek is hosting their Cardboard Classic March 11 and Blarney Stone Rail Jam March 18. Lift and lodging packages start from $97 per person, per night, and include breakfast. Children eight and under always sleep and ski free when staying with parents.
It’s that time of year to get out and enjoy the slopes before the season ends, and have some fun along the way.
Sunset views from Shanty Creek Lakeview Restaurant and Lounge. (Shanty Creek)
Mountain top dining is a popular evening activity at ski resorts out west. We may not have a lot of opportunity in the Midwest, but there are a handful of ski resorts scattered around the Heartland that offer dinning with a view.
At Shanty Creek, also in Lower Michigan,you have the Lakeview Restaurant and Lounge located on top of the Summit Slopes. It offers incredible sunset views over Lake Bellaire and at night skiers and riders romp on the slopes below. They serve innovative regional fare, Michigan’s finest craft beers and award-winning homemade desserts. Dinner is served nightly. The sunset is free.
You can see the lights of the Mackinac Bridge 30 miles away on a clear night at the Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner on top of Boyne Highland’s North Peak. The mountain top lodge is set aglow by candlelight. Wall-to-wall windows, high pine ceilings, white linen covered tables and a crackling fire greet diners. Dinners are available February 11, 14, 18 and 25 for $72 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Included is a 15-minute sleigh ride up to the lodge and back.
Heading on around the Great Lakes, Indianhead Mountain, part of Big Snow Resort is upside-down with its village and lodging on top of the mountain. It offers the newly renovated Sky Bar & Grille and Lodge Restaurant. Sunset views stretch as far as the eye can see over an endless forest all the way to Lake Superior, a glint on the horizon. The Lodge is located in an authentic swayback barn that was part of the original homestead dating back to the 1930s. Check out their Friday night fish fry with locally caught perch and bluegill.
Along Minnesota’s North Shore is Lutsen Mountains and Papa Charlie’s Nightclub, which overlooks Moose Mountain, the Poplar River valley, Eagle Mountain and Lake Superior. It’s located in the mountain village on Eagle Mountain. A laid back atmosphere, it’s considered one of the top music venues north of the Twin Cities and also one of the top restaurants along the North Shore. Before the music heats up enjoy dinner as the sun sets behind the surrounding mountain tops.
Overlooking another body of water is Chestnut Mountain and its Sunset Grille where the dining experience and the view are equally spectacular. Perched high on a bluff above North America’s largest river, the mighty Mississippi, the view stretches across three states, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Ski slopes look like they might run into the river, and sunsets are spectacular. They even put the daily sunset time on the web page.
Families feel at home on the Summit's slopes. (Shanty Creek)
Michigan's Shanty Creek offers a little taste of Europe, where they are used to skiing from village to village. Spanning 4,500 acres and offering three distinct villages--The Summit, Cedar Creek and Schuss Mountain— you can cross country ski between and all offer access to the slopes.
Santa enjoys a run down the Shanty's Schuss Mountain slopes. (Shanty Creek)
With a forecast for cold weather and lake effect snow returning to northwest Lower Michigan later this week ski resorts are getting ready to celebrate the holiday season. Let’s hope Santa brings the snow.
Shanty Creek has several holiday events scheduled including the Sardine Special on Friday, Dec. 16, when you pack the car with as many people as possible and you all ski for the price of one, and breakfast and story time with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 17 and 23. 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. Holiday Ski Packages start from $184 per person, per night and includes lodging, lift ticket, breakfast and a group ski lesson.
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands will be celebrating the sights and sounds of the holidays with lots of planned activities, dinners, holiday rail jams, and New Year’s Eve dinners, live bands and celebrations capped with fireworks over the ski slopes. For a complete event schedule you can click on either the Mountainor Highlands. Boyne’s 6-for-1 Day, six people can ski or ride at either resort for the price of one. It takes place Friday, Dec. 16, and celebrates North America’s first six-seat, high speed lift installed at Boyne Mountain in 1991.
Crystal Mountain will be celebrating holiday week Dec. 16 through Jan. 7, 2017. In honor of the resort’s 60th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 16 its 6-for $60 when six people can ski or ride for $60. 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. On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, ski with Santa that afternoon.
Treetops Resort has family activities slated all day for Dec. 30, and three different New Year’s Eve dinners and celebrations; a family party, dance party and kid’s party. Overnight rates, including lodging, lift and breakfast voucher, start from $64 midweek and $80 on weekends in limited quantity.
Find terrain for everyone in the family at Jackson Hole. (JHMR)
With winter about to start in earnest, now is the time to check the SnoCountry snow reports and book a mountain retreat. With so many great options out there, here’s a few of SnoCountry.com’s favorite holiday getaways:
It may be a slow start to the Midwest ski season, but things are supposed to improve by the holidays and several Heartland resorts have plans to celebrate the season. Let’s all ask Santa to bring the snow.
Mountain top dining is popular at ski resorts in the west. But, there are a handful of resorts scattered around the Heartland that offer distinctive mountain top dining experiences as well.
Three ski resorts in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula—Shanty Creek, Treetops and Caberfae Peaks— have been busy making improvements for the coming winter season. Look for more snowmaking capability, lodge renovations, upgraded rental equipment and cross country improvements.