Get Ready to Hit the Slopes in Pure Michigan

Our Pure Michigan winter is just a few weeks away! If you're looking forward to hitting the slopes this season, Mickey MacWilliams, Executive Director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, has the scoop on how to take advantage of some great ski and snowboard deals in Michigan this winter! 

Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain

The Farmers Almanac is forecasting a winter with below-average temperatures for the Great Lakes Region and skiers and boarders can look forward to a fun-filled winter with plenty of places to enjoy Michigan’s snow-filled slopes and trails.  With 50 ski areas, boasting over 260 lifts, about 1,000 runs, more than 90 terrain parks and hundreds of kilometers of groomed cross-country trails, there is something for everyone.

Ski areas are always looking for ways to increase enjoyment for skiers and snowboarders.  Through the years, slope maintenance and snowmaking capabilities have improved dramatically, so much so that even if there is no snow at home, the ski slopes can be covered when the weather turns cold.  In addition, this year there have been numerous capital investments in ski slopes, lodging facilities and snowmaking/grooming equipment.  Mt. Brighton in Brighton was purchased by Vail Resorts and underwent a $10 million facelift.  Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville invested $4 million in updates, including three new runs, Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac and Mt. Bohemia the Keweenaw Peninsula both opened up new backcountry terrain, and Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands have received over $3 million in upgrades, just to name a few.  A complete list of what’s new on Michigan’s slopes and trails is available at

Photo Courtesy of Treetops Resort

This is important stuff for skiers and boarders, but for those who aren’t, 24 ski areas across the state have teamed up with Michigan McDonald’s restaurants to offer a popular and very affordable introduction to skiing and snowboarding, called Discover Michigan Skiing. The program includes: a beginner lesson, ski or snowboard rental equipment and a beginner-area ski lift pass or cross-country trail pass.  Twenty-four ski facilities are offering the package, which will be honored from January 2 through January 31, 2014.  The prices for the Discover Michigan Skiing program are: $20 for Discover Michigan Cross-Country Skiing; $30 for Discover Michigan Downhill Skiing; and $40 for Discover Michigan Snowboarding.  The program is open to everyone 7 years and older.

Photo Courtesy of Mt. Bohemia

To sign up, interested beginners must have a Discover Michigan Skiing Value Voucher.  They will be available in December at participating Michigan McDonald’s restaurants and MSIA retail ski stores while quantities last.  A printable voucher is also available online at Participants choose the ski area they wish to visit and then must call to pre-register. Program times differ from ski area to ski area.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain

Parents with children in fourth grade will be thrilled to learn that fourth-grade students ski free in Michigan with the Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport, which includes up to three “visas” for free skiing at each of the 21 participating ski areas, plus additional coupons and discounts on rental equipment, lessons and more.  Applications for the Cold is Cool Passport are available at participating MSIA ski shops and online at  Although the skiing is free, MSIA charges a $15 printing and shipping fee for each passport ordered.

Check this link to see the opening dates of ski areas across the state.

Where do you like to hit the slopes in Michigan? 

Mickey MacWilliams is the executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, which represents the ski and snowboard industry in our state.  She is an avid downhill and cross-country skier and a very timid but enthusiastic snowboarder.  You can reach her at