Ski the Mitten

Thanks to abundant snow (100-plus inches annually) and snow-making at most resorts, Michigan ski areas are open for business from early December to late March. With about 1,000 runs in more than 48 destinations, the state ranks second in the U.S. for the number of ski resorts, with many catering to beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Terrain parks give all skill levels a chance to do tricks on jumps, rails and boxes. And most resorts are open into the night, making lift tickets a great value.
 
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There’s more to love than just downhill. Many resorts feature groomed cross-country trails for both skate and classic skiing. Snowshoeing, fat-tire biking, horseback riding and tubing mean even more off-slope adventures. Apres-ski activities include fun for the family, with indoor and outdoor water features for the kids, happy hours for adults, and spas for those needing some TLC. Add on-site lodging, dining and entertainment, and you’ve got a complete winter getaway.   

Treetops Resort

Gaylord
23 runs • 3 lifts
225' vertical drop
2,200' longest run

 
Ski-and-stay package deals make Treetops a top budget option, as do four-hour and night lift tickets. Bonus: Kids under 6 and adults 70 and older ski free. The full-service resort offers ski-in, ski-out lodging and caters to families, with lessons and rentals available and 80 percent of runs tagged green or blue. Extreme tubing and terrain parks are top attractions, while guests who prefer quieter sports find cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Try a Skiable Feast on a winter Sunday for an active gourmet outing with multiple dining spots along the 3.8-mile ski trail.       

Shanty Creek Resorts

Bellaire
53 runs • 6 lifts
450' vertical drop
5,280' longest run

 
Families find plenty of snowy playtime at this resort. The ski school caters to kids ages 3 to 12 and offers beginner to advanced lessons. Two mountains and four terrain parks focus on beginners, with many runs marked green and blue. Experienced snowboarders and skiers find challenges at the Monster Energy Terrain Park, while young daredevils can play at Low Rider park. Guests wanting a downhill break can go cross-country skiing (30 kilometers of trails), tubing, dog sledding, fat-tire biking or snowshoeing. The resort’s lodging includes a pool and arcade for kids and a spa and après-ski entertainment for adults.    

Crystal Mountain

Thompsonville
58 runs • 9 lifts
375' vertical drop
5,280' longest run

 
Laid-back vacationing is the speed of this upstate resort. Slope-side lodging provides easy access to the downhill runs and terrain parks; 29 are lighted for nighttime use. Beginning skiers learn the French fries and pizza techniques at Totem Park. Other options include horse-drawn surrey rides, skating, hockey, fat-tire biking and snowshoeing. The LEED-certified spa offers decadent treatments, an outdoor hot tub and a relaxation room.  
 
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 Boyne Mountain
Boyne Falls
Boyne Highlands
Harbor Springs
 
115 runs • 28 lifts
500–552’ vertical drop
6,600’ longest run
 
Versatile and kid-friendly, this duo of resorts (about 45 minutes apart) serves up superb skiing, lodging and pool time. With the highest vertical in lower Michigan, runs more than a mile long, great grooming, and terrain including open meadows, rolling bowls and drops, the resorts challenge all levels of skiers. First-timers can take lessons; experienced skiers and snowboarders can perfect skills at the snow sports academy or at one of the terrain parks. Horseback, fat-tire bike, cross-country ski and snowshoe trails offer outdoor alternatives. Avalanche Bay, the state’s largest indoor water park, warms up both kids and adults.
 

Caberfae Peaks Ski Resort

Cadillac
34 runs • 5 lifts
485' vertical drop
3,960' longest run

 
Challenging backcountry (unique in the lower part of the state), some of the longest runs in the region and 150 inches of annual lake-effect snow keep this 80-year-old resort a skiers’ favorite. Tree-lined runs on two mountains offer casual glides for wanderers, while a terrain park with both beginner and advanced features tests adrenaline junkies. Cross-country skiers access the 25-mile MacKenzie trail system. The ski-in, ski-out lodge features a heated outdoor pool and hot tub for soothing sore quads after a day on the slopes.
 

5 MORE SKI AREAS

Bittersweet Ski Resort

Otsego
Lifts, tow ropes and wonder carpets cater to beginner and intermediate skiers. Try night skiing, or play at two terrain parks. 
  

Cannonsburg Ski Area

Belmont
Slide or ride across 100 acres, including a 1,500-foot run. The 250-foot drop is southern Michigan’s highest. Plus, lake-effect snow.  
 

Mount Holly

Holly
Long runs and short rides back up the slopes draw skiers and snowboarders. The resort often starts the season earlier than others.
 

Mount Brighton

Brighton
Open every night, Mount Brighton offers rentals and lessons. Five terrain parks test all levels of skiers and snowboarders. 
 

Nub’s Nob

Harbor Springs
With 53 runs—the longest nearly a mile—the Mitten-area ski spot targets all skill levels and features a ski school.