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Michigan ski resort fun for all

Heidi Klindt
Boyne Mountain resort view from “Eagles Nest” at the top of the hill

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Downhill skiing is one of the most active sports and is up and coming for the 2023-2024 winter season. Located throughout Michigan is a wide variety of ski hills and resorts. Some for with your family, some for a peaceful weekend getaway, and some for even a quick evening alone on the slopes. Michigan offers a variety of options ranging in driving distance, snow quality, and even terrain difficulty. If you’re out to shred the snow or to take Instagram-worthy photos, there’s something for everyone in Michigan. 

One thing to keep in mind is the destination of each resort. The further north you head into the state, the better the snow is going to look and feel under your skis. For more local skiing, it will be more crowded due to the size of the resort and the limit in distance for those nearby. These resorts range from 55 minutes to 9.5 hours away but despite the distance, there is a perfect hill out there for everyone to thoroughly enjoy. 

Boyne Mountain Resort

One of the most popular resorts for anyone looking for a good time is Boyne Mountain Resort. This resort offers a plethora of options for those who love to hit the slopes but also for those who would rather sit cozy by the fire. Located in Boyne Falls, Michigan, this resort is a bit of a drive for those who live in the downriver area. Upon arrival at the resort, the welcoming town-like feel and hundreds of lights set the vibe, making sure you fall in love with the coziness of the resort. Once geared up, there is a variety of different terrain on the hill for skiers. With most of the hill groomed twice a day, there is smoother terrain, but there is also a zone on the west side of the hill with pure powder. This is for the more advanced skiers, as it mimics the style of the west side of the country. Sliding off the slopes into the town, there is even more to do for those who do not enjoy the heights as much. Amenities alongside unique lodging include sno-biking, fat tire biking, ice skating, tubing, and heated pools. The resort also has its waterpark, Avalanche Bay, available for guests. 

As someone who has personally been to this ski hill, I would give it a 4 out of 5 rating. The hills make for thrilling long runs, and the lifts are quick to get you back up to the top. The amenities are the cherry on top and are perfect for whatever you need. 

Boyne Highlands

Not far away from Boyne Mountain Resorts is their sister hill, Boyne Highlands. This resort is located on one side of a valley in Harbor Springs, Michigan. With a slightly bigger acreage and a couple of steeper runs, skiers are sure to love this terrain just as much as Boyne Mountain. The town life carries through the two resorts almost exactly, and they offer similar amenities to those of Boyne Mountain. One aspect that they pride themselves on is the comfort and quality of their customers while at the resort. With many different styles of lodging and housing, the layout of the inns is more spread out. Embedded within various parts of the trees and specifically located in quaint spots, this gives the ideal comfort that tired skiers are looking for. For skiers, this terrain has a wide variety of competitiveness and texture with specific areas of the hills groomed twice a day. There is even a designated area for more advanced skiing. This kind of resort allows skiers of all types to enjoy the slopes and for those who would rather sit back and relax, there are possibilities everywhere for a peaceful weekend adventure. Once off the slopes, there is an Enchanted Trail that is open during the night. This lighted walkway is the perfect way to relax before a cozy night in the resort lodging. 

After personally skiing here, I would rate this resort a 4 out of 5. Many of the runs connect smoothly, and the lifts are quick, ensuring the maximum amount of time on the slopes. 

Nub’s Nob

Just across the valley from Boyne Highlands is the ski hill of Nub’s Nob. As a very avid skier and someone who knows what to look for on the slopes, this hill checks all of the boxes for a skier. While this terrain looks small at first glance, the runs extend deep into the back acreage of the park, many even weaving into the forest to allow for unique terrain. Despite all of the skiing this hill has to offer, there are not many extra amenities that they provide. While they do have a variety of different lodging and housing options around the resort, there is no main town for families to stay in. This hill even plays into the love of snowboarders with its award-winning terrain park. 

After going to this hill numerous times, I would recommend this hill to skiers of all levels. There is a wide range of practice runs as well as lifts that return you to the top quickly to continue the fun. I would rate this hill a 5 out of 5 because of the range of runs as well as the varying difficulty between each side. This is one of the best hills in the lower peninsula and offers the perfect amount of entertainment with different ski experiences. 

Crystal Mountain

Not far from the rest of these resorts lies Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Michigan. This resort has a two-face appearance when pulling into the town. It looks intimidating right off the bat with the two black diamond runs shaping the hill on the side, but once on the hill, it extends backward into a variety of smooth and connected runs. Each lift is highly powered and gets you back to the top on some of the fastest rides in Michigan. The runs down the middle of the hill allow for smooth gliding and even some off-road adventure into the trees. For skiers, this hill is a blast and allows for quick transitions between advanced skiing and slower more technical skiing. The bottom of the slopes dumps right into a quaint village with chalet-like lodging. Each building is uniquely designed to make the town more welcoming and friendly. As well as the beauty this resort offers, there is much to do beyond skiing. They offer a variety of amenities including horse-drawn surrey rides, ice skating, fat tire biking, snowshoeing, and an outdoor hot tub. For those who enjoy their time off the slopes, there is even an extensive amount of shopping centers that allow you to see the goodies of Thompsonville, Michigan. 

As a skier, this hill looks quite small at first glance from seeing the two runs in the front, but once on the hill, it leads into a whole dimension that will captivate you. The runs are smooth and well-kept but also bring many challenges. I would rate this resort a 5 out of 5 due to the many amenities and family-oriented things to partake in, but also the real quality snow that amplifies the skiing. 

Mount Holly

A little more local to the downriver area is Mount Holly Resort, located in Holly, Michigan. This hill offers a variety of different terrain for individuals of all skill levels as well as different levels of ski instruction. This hill is even Woodhaven approved as the official WBSD Yeti Ski Club ventures to this hill for multiple trips per season. Member, Kylee Moran, has been a part of the club for almost 6 years now. Moran says “One of my favorite memories from the ski club has to be from one of my first trips with them. I had never been skiing before and my friend, who had already been going on the trips for two years, thought it would be a good idea to take me straight down the hill. One of the best parts of the club is that you do not need to know how to ski, you can learn. Once you know how to ski, it just becomes a fun place to escape to.”  The ski club ranges in levels from 6th grade up to 12th grade. The ability to send this range of students on these trips highlights the variety of terrain for everyone on the hill. Mount Holly is very family-oriented and a beginner-sized hill but they do not leave out those who want to challenge themselves. With 2 official black diamond runs and immense talent in the terrain park, there is surely a spot for everyone to flourish on the hill. For those who do not like skiing as much, there is a multi-level main lodge that has an outdoor fire pit as well as a bar for the adults. 

As a member of the Yeti Ski Club, I find this hill to be perfect for adventure with friends. Being able to fit everyone on the ski lifts and fly down the hill together has left me with memories that I will never forget. Overall, I would rate this hill a 4 out of 5 with great runs and space to adventure beyond the normal runs. 

Mount Bohemia

Heading deeper north into the upper peninsula stands some of the more challenging and advanced terrain hills. Mount Bohemia located in Mohawk, Michigan, is one of the best resorts in the state that accurately mimics the mountains on the west side of the country. With completely ungroomed hills, this terrain is designed for more advanced skiers. Numerous warning signs are posted all around this hill as there are many obstacles that a skier would have to face cautiously. When first checking the maps of the hill it seems to be a variety of runs but upon deeper investigation, each venture down is completely through the trees of the hill and does not offer a straight path. This hill is designed to mimic the rough terrain of real mountains and the unpredictability that experienced skiers have to encounter. After a tough day on the slopes, the town does house a Nordic Spa that is equipped with a hot tub to relax tired muscles. 

I would rate this hill a 5 out of 5 for the competitiveness of the terrain. I enjoy how it will push you to your limits and make you a better skier on the mountain. I would not recommend this hill for family trips due to the lack of amenities that it presents as well as the performance level needed to succeed on the hill. 

Ski Brule

Still in the upper peninsula lies Ski Brule located in Iron River, Michigan. This resort gets some of the best snowfall in Michigan and accepts a variety of skier levels. With a little bit of a smaller face than similar hills in the UP, it is entirely less intimidating as you pull into the town. This mountain offers terrain for all different types of skiers including longer runs for the more beginner level and some off-the-road terrain for the more advanced skiers. This hill is a very family-friendly hill and will send you back to the top very quickly on one of its 12 high powered lift tickets. With multiple runs feeding into each other, there is also the freedom to create your path down the mountain. Off the hill, there is a variety of amenities to choose from that are great for everyone in the family. Fat tire biking, snowshoeing, and even cross-country skiing are additional hobbies that could arise during your stay at Ski Brule. There is a variety of things for everyone to partake in whether it be on the slopes or by the fire in the town. 

I would rate this hill a 3 out of 5 because of the quality snow that is on the hill, but it lacks in size and adventure beyond the basic runs. There is only so much time you can spend on one run before the desire to try something new takes over. I would recommend this resort for a family stay of skiers of all levels or even a nice weekend getaway into the quiet upper peninsula of Michigan. 

Michigan has a plethora of resorts and hills that each have their pros and cons. For anyone looking to get away somewhere exciting during the winter break, one of these family-friendly resorts or peaceful destinations could be the perfect answer. The start of the winter season has just begun and there is so much more in store for all of these hills during the 2023-2024 ski season. 

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