Contact: Mickey MacWilliams, MSIA Executive Director
Office phone: (248) 620-4448
What's new on Michigan's ski slopes for the winter of 2012/2013
Clarkston, MI (2012/1013) – 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 a combined total of 51 ski areas, boasting over 260 lifts, about 1,000 runs, more than 50 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.
The following is a rundown of improvements and special offers for the 2012-2013 season. It is important to note that early discounts abound. Most ski areas offer discounts on their season ski passes if they are purchased before the snow flies. For more information, visit goskimichigan.com, which has quick links to Michigan ski area websites.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula slopes are busy getting ready for winter. Big Powderhorn in Bessemer is celebrating the first fill winter season for the Gun Barrel Lodge. A fire destroyed the original lodge. The Gun Barrel has received high praise for its convenient and modern design features. All skier services are on the lower level with direct access to the beginner area and convenient access on and off the other slopes. The second floor offers ground level ski-in/ski-out access, two fireplaces and an outdoor gas fire pit on the patio. The third floor has a large gas fireplace, bar and restaurant with outstanding views of the slopes. In addition, they are offering one free ski day at Pine Mountain, Mont Ripley and Mt. Ashwabay to all season pass holders. First-time skiers and snowboarders eight years and older can take advantage of “Learn It & Love It.” The program includes one 2-hour lesson, ski or snowboard rental and beginner slope lift ticket. The price is $55 for the ski package and $65 for snowboard. 1-800-501-SNOW (7669) bigpowderhorn.net
A few miles away at Blackjack Resort, in Bessemer, there are continued improvements in snowmaking as well as added glade skiing (runs cut through the trees). “Board ‘til You Drop” will be held on March 9 and 10. This unique event involves lapping the terrain park to raise money for Special Olympics. (906) 229-5115, skiblackjack.com.
Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain will partner with the Kiwanis Ski Club to host the Pine Mountain Ski Jump Weekend. The top jumpers in the world will be participating in this event. Records in all classes have been set at Pine Mountain and the U.S. record is still held there. (906) 774-2747 or 1-877-553-PINE, pinemountainresort.com
The skiers at Mount Bohemia in the Keweenaw Peninsula will be pleasantly surprised with the addition of new runs and the possibility of a new snocat skiing area. There are also plans of more cabins at the base of the slopes. Season passes just $99 if purchased on December 1. (231) 420-5405, mtbohemia.com
Mont Ripley in Houghton has also made changes by increasing the size of their rental department and ski shops. (906) 487-2340, www.mtu.edu
The folks at Marquette Mountain in Marquette have been very busy over the summer. They have marked nine new gladed runs for this year (runs through the trees). Snowmaking capacity has been increased with the purchase of additional snowmaking guns and work continues on a new terrain park layout. In addition, Marquette Mountain is adding more weekday hours by opening at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. (906) 225-1155 or 1-800-944-SNOW, marquettemountain.com
Ski Brule in Iron River is teaming up with school districts in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois to reward students with good grades and attendance. Students who earn perfect attendance or all “A” status during the first or second marking periods will receive a free day of skiing or snowboarding. The free day includes a lift ticket, rental, and lesson. 1-800-DO BRULE, skibrule.com
Heading into the Lower Peninsula Nub’s Nob Ski Area of Harbor Springs once again increased snowmaking capacity and made some significant changes in distribution infrastructure with the addition of 6 guns to the Easy Mile Slope bring the total snowgun arsenal to 282. The purchase of a new Pisten Bully snow grooming machine and advanced alpine tiller enlarges the size of Nub’s grooming fleet. Parents and little ones alike will be excited about the addition of a “just for kids” trail on the Nub’s Nob South and additional night lighting were added to sections of Nub’s South and Dorie’s Bowl. Nub’s has earned a top spot in Transworld Snowboard magazine’s 2012 annual readers survey poll of top snowboarding parks in the Midwest. (231) 526-2131 or 1-800-SKI-NUBS, nubsnob.com
Also in Harbor Springs, Boyne Highlands has a new spa facility available to guests this winter and the Main Lodge hotel, offering ski-in/ski-out accommodations, has undergone upgrades. Snow making capacity has been increased with the addition of 40 Low-E fan guns and the resort has added electronic live-time signage at the base of the slopes providing easy access to the open/close status of trails and chairlifts. Boyne Highlands has partnered with Burton Snowboards to develop Riglet Park for the 2012/2013 season. Riglet Parks offer on-snow play areas with fun terrain and features designed to introduce children ages 3 to 6 to snowboarding. 1-800-GO-BOYNE, BOYNE.com.
In Boyne Falls, Boyne Mountain’s snowmaking efficiency and capacity has been upgraded with the installation of an additional 1,000 gallons-per-minute water pump and 10 Boyne Low-E fan guns. New live-time signage provides immediate access to the open/close status of trails and chairlifts, and Boyne Mountain’s beginner chairlift, Boyneland, will see increased up-hill capacity this season with the addition of 13 triple chairs on the lift. Boyne Mountain is also introducing a Riglet Park this winter and opening a Burton-exclusive store at the resort. Boyne Mountain’s tubing park is being expanded and the resort is introducing winter fly fishing trips. 1-800-GO-BOYNE, BOYNE.com.
Hanson Hills Recreation Area in Grayling has something to offer at every level in snowsports. Hanson Hoppers is a four- or eight-week program designed for children from ages 4-7 years old that teaches ski skills and fun in the snow. Another four or eight week class called the Snowboard Academy is designed for the beginning snowboarder. This program will teach students the basic fundamentals, including turning and stopping. For more advanced skiers a freestyle skills training session is available with 3-time Canadian Olympic Coach, Tom Hutchinson. 1-888-876-2196, hansonhills.org.
In Gaylord, Treetops Resort offers extreme tubing again this year. Adjacent to the ski slopes, this activity is perfect for children and adults alike, and offers another option for outdoor fun. Treetops also offers some special reduced-rate season pass programs. Any student 8 and older who has a grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 or above can receive a season pass for just $40. A GPA of 3.0 to 3.49 will qualify for a $60 season pass. However, rates go up after November 30, and the special rates are only available through December 24. For the very young and the young-at-heart, skiing is also very affordable at Treetops. Senior citizens 65+ and kids under 8 are eligible to receive a season pass for just $10. 1-888-TREETOPS, treetops.com
Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire, in partnership with Monster Energy, has completed a major renovation and expansion of its terrain parks. The ski area is retiring its half pipe and in its place adding Big Air ramps and landings to Elf Shelf. In addition, they are adding a beginner’s terrain park called “Low Rider.” Like many other ski areas, Shanty Creek has made improvements to its snowmaking equipment by adding ten new snow guns. For the cross-country skier, Shanty Creek is doubling the lighting on Moonlite Run. For additional diverse winter activity, they have expanded the tubing park and snowmobile rentals are returning this winter. Efforts have been made to simplify the process for registering and pre-booking ski lessons as well as allowing skiers and snowboarders the option of purchasing discounted lift tickets online in advance. In September, members of the Schuss Mountain Ski Patrol accepted the National Small Ski Area Patrol of the Year award. 1-800-678-4111, shantycreek.com.
The Homestead in Glen Arbor is remodeling its Snowsports School. Located at the base of Bay Mountain, the improved interior will provide a welcoming and aesthetically pleasing environment for visitors to learn about and purchase lesson programs. There is a small seating area, complimentary coffee and treats. The Homestead is also offering packages for families where kids 17 years old and under ski free. This package is available all season, in all accommodations with no black-out dates. (231) 334-5000, thehomesteadresort.com
Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville is adding snow bikes this winter for northern Michigan’s only dedicated snow bike trail system. The resort has added to their snowmaking capacity this year with new water pipes and more snow guns. More than half of the Wintergreen condominiums units have been upgraded with new kitchens (many with new bathrooms as well) and are ready for this ski season. Also new this year, a Sunday-only pass is available for $159 and kids under 8 can get a season pass for $25. 1-800-968-7686 or (231) 378-2000, crystalmountain.com
Happy 75th Birthday to Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac! To celebrate, starting in January, a family of 3 can enjoy skiing from 3 pm to close any Sunday for only $49. This program will include lift tickets, rental equipment and lessons. Additional family members can be added at the cost of $15 each. In addition, the folks at Caberfae have been busy keeping their 75-year-old runs looking young and fresh by contouring the slopes and increasing snowmaking. Thirty-two additional energy-efficient snowmaking fan guns, (22 permanently mounted, 10 mobile) along with the expansion of the snowmaking reservoir, several snowmaking pipe installations and various electrical upgrades all add up to a major increase in snow making ability, while a new Bombardier Snow Groomer will assist with keeping all that snow groomed for skiing. Plus, skiers and snowboarders will be able to purchase lift ticket and rental equipment online in advance and save. (231) 862-3000, caberfaepeaks.com.
Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon has extended the Rolling Hills Trail and installed a big outdoor bonfire pit on the sun deck of the Stone Turtle Day Lodge. Every full moon during the ski season (snow permitting) Cross Country Ski Headquarters will light the Trapper’s Cabin ski trail with torches, creating a truly unique and memorable nighttime experience. This year begins the new “Bring a Friend Skiing” program. Skiers who bring a friend can enter to win a trip for two to one of three ski destinations: Park City, Utah; Sun Valley, Idaho; or Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont. (989) 821-6661 crosscountryski.com
Mt. Holiday in Traverse City has added a new rope tow. (231) 938-2500 mt-holiday.com
Snow Snake Ski & Golf in Harrison is ready for winter with an increase to both the snowmaking capabilities and the rental equipment supply. The beginner terrain park, introduced mid-season last year, is now a permanent fixture, in addition to the main terrain park. Skiers and riders of all levels can enjoy the quick access with the rope tow for numerous park laps. The Zip Line, which will be open this winter, received new, upgraded landings. (989) 539-6583, snowsnake.net
Heading to southwestern Michigan, Timber Ridge Ski Area of Gobles has expanded ski and snowboard programs and discounts. Family Learn to Ski/Snowbard is offered on Sunday evenings, with lift tickets, lessons and rental included for $30 skiing and $33 for snowboarding. A new program called Sunday Kids is designed for children 6 to 8 years old to explore skiing. “Free Lunch Friday,” offers a $5 food coupon with every lift ticket purchase before 4 p.m. There are also discounts for military families and college students and anyone can receive a lift ticket for $14 on Tuesdays with a special Timber Ridge “Tweet” password. Details are available on the Timber Ridge website. 800-253-2928 timberridgeski.com.
In Southeast Michigan the crew at Mt. Holly of Holly has been busy expanding the snowmaking system. They added a pump and piping which will increase water output by approximately 20 percent. More water means more snow when temperatures dip below 28 degrees this winter. (248) 634-8269 skimtholly.com