The snow’s on the ground, and the slopes. The lift lines are humming, and Michigan’s ski areas, both downhill and cross-country, are ready for the expected crowds with new features, improved snowmaking, and new fun , all to make your ski season the best ever.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights of what you’ll be seeing and experiencing this winter, by region:
NORTHERN LOWER PENINSULA
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands, upped the ante with new snow guns, more rentals, and a new 110-foot rope bridge on the Highlands Zipline tour. Boyne Highlands also is celebrating its 50th season with a weekend of festivities Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls adds more snow guns, a new extreme body slide in Michigan’ s largest indoor water park, Avalanche Bay, and more upgrades to the venerable Clock Tower Lodge.
Shanty Creek Resorts, Mancelona
Good news for visitors to this long-time two-mountain resort. The Schuss side will be open daily. Other improvements include A new fleet of rental equipment from Volkl, Marker, Dalbello, Tecnica, K2, Burton and Scott. Family-friendly, lower lift ticket prices for children 9-12 years old More discounted ticket and rental options available online for advanced purchase “Summit Only” lift tickets—Michigan’s best value—starting at only $15 on weekends, plus improvements to snowmaking and grooming capacity, and the return of a redesigned Big Air launch pad, as well as lodging upgrades at rental properties. Seniors and kids eight and under can get a $5 lift ticket or a $24 season pass.
Treetops also will be open seven days a week. It also added an Olympic snowboard coach as an instructor, plus an expanded terrain park, revamped rentals and more snowmaking. Seniors and kids under eight can buy a season pass for just $15.
This ski area added a new groomer and ski tuning equipment to make your slats and boards turn true. Adults over 70 and kids eight and under ski free.
The ski area portion of the resort near Glen Arbor celebrates its 30th year with a sweepstakes and discounts all season, plus a new personalized season pass. Seniors 70 and over ski for free.
Located near Thompsonville, Crystal has three new runs, a new four-place chair lift and more snowmaking, plus new public spaces and lodging upgrades
Just west of Cadillac, Cagerfae added increased snowmaking capacity and new “backcountry” terrain for riders and skiers who want to ski with no lift access, grooming or snowmaking. Purchase a season pass here and enjoy discounts at other Midwest areas including Crystal, Shanty Creek and Ontario’s Searchmont.
This local Traverse City area added a new rope tow and more terrain park features, and plans to open a second park. Seniors 70 and over and kids six and under ski free.
Snow Snake in Harrison along U.S. 127 updated its rentals and added snowmaking. Anyone 70 or over or six and under skis free.
Located near Belmont, Cannonsburg’s ski shop is now operated by MC Sports.
Near Gobles, TR expanded its tubing area, and kids seven and under and those 60 and over get half-off tickets. Kids six and under get half-off lift tickets and rentals.
Anyone skiing or riding over age 60 gets lift tickets and board rentals at half off, and there are daily discounts.
Near Otsego, Bittersweet skiers 60 and over get $5 off lift tickets.
Brighton is finishing up $10 million in improvements that include an overhauled snowmaking system, new chair lifts, a recontoured beginner area and new terrain park. Indoors there’s a new table service restaurant and quick serve spot too.
A favorite of many for its up north feel, Alpine, off M-59 in White Lake Township, added more snowmaking and remodeled its deck.
In Clarkston, it’s offering $5 discounts for seniors 65 and over and military.
Near Holly, it added more snowmaking, recontoured a run and removed a lift for easier loading.
Located near Bessemer, it’s improved snowmaking, purchased a new groomer and more glade skiing. Its main lodge also is updated.
Just outside Iron Mountain, it now has three terrain parks, night skiing Wednesday and $15 lift tickets Tuesday through Thursday.
In the Keweenaw Peninsula, it opened a new backcountry area with five runs, and is offering $99 season passes online on Dec. 7.
A few miles south of Bohemia, Ripley increased its rental area and ski shop.
Outside Marquette, it’s offering seniors 65 and over and military $27 lift tickets.
Located outside Iron River, Brule offers a free day of skiing for students earning perfect attendance, plus $35 lift tickets prior to Dec. 24.
Also a member of the skinny ski crowd? Roscommon’s Cross Country Ski Headquarters added a new trail, and is allowing snow bikes on its trails. Kids aged q6 and under get a pas for just $4 any day, and Silver Streak Weeks, Jan. 13-17, and March 3-7, give discounts to those 55 and older. Enjoy a night ski during every full moon of the season.
Near Grayling, Hanson Hills offers half-price trail fees for seniors. Both locations have created a paintball biathlon series for March 22-23.
For more updates both on the slopes and on the trail, go to the Michigan Snowsport Industries Web site at www.goskimichigan.com, and for cross-country skiers, the Great Lakes Winter Trails Council, www.skinordic.org.