It's impossible to think about Michigan without considering its winter. Often lasting four months or even a little more, from late October to late April, snow can come on at any given time. For many, snow means skiing, and in Michigan, there's plenty of both. So, when the time comes to hit the slopes, there will be no shortage of choices, which is why we're here to help with this look at 15 of the best skiing locations Michigan has to offer.
The great news about Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is that, if you happened to come a bit too late for the skiing, you'll have other options on hand. Home to two top-quality golf courses and a complete spa, this ski resort will have no shortage of great experiences waiting. Going during the holiday weeks—Dec. 16 through Jan. 7—will offer up a set of holiday-specific activities that might well make for one of the best family vacations around.
White Lake offers this noteworthy little experience, featuring a race program, several different educational options and a terrain park. All fairly normal, but it gets better: one weekend a year, the resort throws on the Annual Ski Swap event makes it just a little easier to pick up the hardware that's needed to make a ski trip everything it needs to be.
A surprisingly little ski trip in Otsego, Bittersweet Resort provides a ski getaway to the southwest lower Michigan segment that's not always easy to find. Featuring 20 runs, and a 350-foot vertical, there are four black diamond runs to be had at Bittersweet. Throw in a snowboarding course and close proximity to sprawling Kalamazoo, and an extended stay could be worth considering.
Pine Mountain is the first entry from Iron Mountain on this list, and it won't be the last, either. Home to a ski school, several different terrain options, and even golf in the warmer months, sports of all seasons are well-represented here. For when the skiing gets to be too much, settle in and relax. Pine Mountain is home to the sixth-best Bloody Mary in Michigan by MLive figuring.
It's not surprising to see that the Upper Peninsula is well represented with skiing opportunities, Marquette Mountain offers a terrain park and a complete set of ski trails including several black diamond courses. School courses, a ski shop, racing leagues and a set of programs specifically for kids rounds out the experience and allows Marquette Mountain to join the roster of great experiences in Michigan.
For all the things the Detroit area has to offer, “exciting skiing opportunities” may never have been expected on anyone's list. Mount Brighton will have something to say about that, offering several ski school options, a terrain park, and even some snowboard training. Then, when the snow melts, summer sports opportunities step in to make this unexpectedly urban choice a perfectly viable option.
Michigan's Bay Area is known for a wide variety of tourism and business options, and skiing is just one of these. Apple Mountain in Freeland will offer up a complete set of skiing options, as well as snowboarding. Golf in the summer is on hand—running to mid-November, commonly—and special events from race leagues to holiday specials like a Christmas brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus help round out the overall experience.
Those looking for more thrills in their skiing experience, meanwhile, will be inclined to hit Mohawk's Mount Bohemia. With a focus on extreme skiing and backcountry skiing—the area is entirely ungroomed, making it a hugely popular option for early-morning skiers dying for virgin powder—Mount Bohemia includes a session of snow cat skiing that's actually, reports note, the first of its kind east of the Rockies. Oh, and all but three runs are rated a minimum of “black diamond,” so this is an experts-only kind of ski.
“Big” is the word to describe Bessemer's Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort, all right, because this one certainly goes big. With 10 chair lifts on hand and 33 separate ski runs, there won't be a shortage of skiing experiences here. Throw in four separate bars and restaurants, as well as a choice of lodging options, and you've got all the makings of an extended ski vacation waiting for you on this over 250-acre property.
There are very few things that Gaylord's Treetops Resort and Spa is lacking, and the skiing is definitely not part of the lacking menu. With cross-country and downhill skiing on hand as well as an “extreme tubing” area, as well as a terrain park, there's a lot going on in winter here. Naturally, when the warmer months hit, golf and the like are afoot, and several restaurants are on hand to provide a range of menus. Those interested in staying in after a tiring day on the slopes, meanwhile, can order a 32-ounce bottle of beer known as the Treetops Growler, a mix so potent it can only be ordered by those staying on premises.
While many ski resorts have one impressive mountain to their credit, Big Snow distinguishes itself by having two: the Indianhead and Blackjack mountains. That makes skiing an absolute must, but those who aren't interested will have plenty else to do, including snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and even ice skating. Throw in several options for lunch and dinner along with live music venues and a more complete experience won't be easy to find.
In Cadillac, Caberfae Peaks offers a slate of experiences ranging from skiing to golf, so any time you hit Caberfae Peaks, it will be worth doing. For skiers, meanwhile, a recently-installed new chair lift and a complete slate of terrain options should keep skiers happy for some time. Throw in a variety of lodging and dining options—this is said to be one of the better places for wedding receptions in Northern Michigan—and this area should be a winner.
Way down in the south of Michigan, near a little town called Jones, lies Swiss Valley, one of the area's only real sources of skiing. What the area lacks in number it makes up for in quality, however, as it will offer several runs to enjoy along with a slate of special events, dining options, and more. Those in the area for New Years' are encouraged to check out Swiss Valley's New Year's Eve party.
Head for Harbor Springs to check out the marvel known as Boyne Highlands. While it's got many of the common features like golf in the summertime and a variety of skiing options, it also boasts a dinner theater and horse-drawn sleigh rides for those who'd rather let the animals do the work. Those who go during the winter months, meanwhile, are in for a treat, the Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner, located on the North Peak. Guests are taken by the aforementioned sleigh to the location, complete with bonfire and a view of the Mackinac Bridge.
Iron River's Ski Brule actually tops the ranks at On The Snow’s website, taking top marks for overall effectiveness, for nightlife, for family-friendliness, and for all-mountain terrain. That's no mean feat, and Ski Brule's success with On The Snow actually goes back several years, winning awards as far back as 2009. Ski Brule offers more than just skiing, and includes equipment rentals, a snow tubing run, and even several options for dining and lodging.