10 Ski Slopes Michiganders Recommend
As the snow falls lightly blanketing our mitten state, Michiganders light their fires, turn on the heat and layer up for the chilly months ahead. Winter is a magical time of year when everything goes dormant and still—animals find a warm place to sleep, birds fly south, rushing water freezes, and skiers and snowboarders bring out their gear once more for a fun filled winter.
Around this time of year I’m always anxiously waiting for ski slopes to open so I can enjoy snowboarding until I hear the first calls of springs. While slopes come in all shapes and variations of amenities, avid skiers and snowboarders are picky when it comes to their perfect hill and I have done my research and have discovered the best slopes Michiganders recommend all over our two beautiful peninsulas.
1. Bittersweet Resort
Bittersweet has won the hearts of many with the hills 20 runs that are lined with snow covered trees. Located in Otsego, Michigan, this decent sized ski slope is great for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders who are looking to hone their skills on the 350 foot vertical with gentle turns and an easy downhill experience.
The ski area additionally includes three terrain parks ranging in size from small to large to allow beginners a chance to try out some tricks. In total, the parks offer 17 features if you’re looking to spice up your typical downhill ride and Poison Ivy terrain park even has its own chairlift to make accessibility easy.
If you need a break from the cold activities, stop into their lodge to pick up some delicious grub and a hot beverage. With Covid, Bittersweet has all health precautions in place to allow guests an easy and safe experience while taking a little break from the trails.
2. Caberfae Peaks
Tucked away in the forests of Cadillac sits the trails of Caberfae. Three areas are available to guests, North Peak, South Peak and the backcountry terrain. North Peak is where many guests flock to because of its wide range of skill leveled runs with drops, turns and smaller trails that take you on a ride through the trees. This side also features a 485 foot vertical with 2 terrain parks including boxes, rails and table top jumps.
Located in the Northern Michigan snowbelt, Caberfae is hit with an abundance of snow each year and lodging is available in their beautiful Mackenzie Lodge if a snowstorm hits. The lodge is conveniently placed at the bottom of the runs with 39 slope-side rooms, a heated outdoor pool and hot tub to warm up after a cold day on the trails.
3. Mount Bohemia
This behemoth of a ski resort is not for beginners, in fact beginners are not allowed to ski and board down the countless slopes offered over four sides of the mountain.
With almost every run being diamond and double diamond, Mount Bohemia is for the serious, expert skier who will love the tree littered runs of the extreme backcountry. In this area, skiers can experience chutes and cliff drops within the half mile wide forest. The mountain’s skill level is not the only intimidating factor, but having a vertical drop of 900 feet is not even for the intermediate.
Their newest addition to the family is Little Boho where skiers can find the steepest terrain on the mountain that is only accessible by hiking. Snowcat skiing is also available to avid ski and snowboard adventurers who want to experience the remote forests and enjoy the pristine terrain and wilderness.
After a long day on the mountain, there are plenty of lodging options available for any price range. A rare accommodation that Mount Bohemia offers is the new Log Cabin Hostel that provides an economical place to rent a bed and hangout with friends.
4. Cannonsburg Ski Area
Beginners and intermediate skiers love Cannonsburg because of the easily accessible 21 runs the ski area has to offer. Though the summit isn’t the highest on this list, what makes these slopes stand out are the five terrain parks offered, providing different features for all skill levels to enjoy.
Tubing is a new element to their ski area that they’ve introduced recently and fat tire biking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing are available for winter lovers to enjoy on the groomed winter trails carved out of the surrounding forest.
5. Boyne Highlands
The farther north, the bigger the hill. With 435 skiable acres, Boyne Highlands ski area brings 55 unique runs with 552 foot vertical drop. The resort’s longest run is 1.25 miles on North Peak Pass where at the summit you can find a warming house, restrooms and even dining to curb that appetite.
The impressive trails are split almost equally among all skill groups and experts can even glide on over to the 13 foot halfpipe or the five terrain parks that Boyne offers. Tubing is also available for guests and experienced skiers can try their hand at the resort's three glade skiing areas.
Average snowfall is 140 inches and with the businesses best snowmaking equipment, visitors are enticed to stay at one of the many resort’s lodgings. While enjoying time spent at Boyne Highlands, guests can experience an amazing massage at their spa, hot tubs and heated outdoor pools.
6. Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain is a beautiful ski resort with 58 expertly groomed runs and 27 lit runs for night skiing. These slopes are beloved amongst Michiganders because of the sheer size and number of amenities the ski area has to offer.
Tailored for intermediate to expert skiers and snowboarders, three terrain parks are available to practice new skills and six glade areas are spread throughout the trees. In total, four unique ski areas are available and are accessible at the summit where guests can find the mountain’s beautiful MountainTop townhomes where families have easy access to the slopes all day.
The resort provides 12 beautiful lodging options for visitors to choose from and their luxury Crystal Spa, where professionals specialize in a variety of massages and other services to aid your winter aches and pains after a long day on the slopes. Peak Fitness Center is also available to get in a workout for longer stays and if guests want to experience new winter activities, snowshoeing, fat tire biking and ice skating are also conveniently located at Crystal Mountain.
7. Nub's Nob
Nub’s Nob is the perfect ski area for beginner and intermediate skiers because 30% of the runs are marked easiest with 50% marked more difficult. The hill boasts a 427ft vertical and 53 total runs that are surrounded by trees that make guests feel they are skiing the backcountry. The area also provides two award winning terrain parks and glades to give experienced skiers trails off the beaten path.
If you have skied or snowboarded on Nub’s Nob slopes you may have noticed a major change in the magical stuff that makes all this happen. Their 300 patented snow guns that were created right at Nub’s Nob are more energy efficient and can pump an immense amount of water to create that beautiful fluffy powder we all know and love. They are dedicated to making the finest man made snow there can be, and there doing something right.
8. Shanty Creek Resort
Favored toward beginner and intermediate skilled skiers and snowboarders, Shanty Creek is perfect for experiencing a variety of runs with gentle turns and drops. Boasting two distinct areas, Schuss Mountain and Summit Mountain, guests can explore 53 runs with a 450 foot vertical drop.
The mountains also provide three terrain parks, including the award winning Monster Park, an alpine tubing park, and trails for snowshoeing and fat tire biking. More advanced guests can also find hills suited for racing because Shanty Creek is proud to host some of the region's top ski races.
If you’re looking to take a longer stay at Shanty Creek Resort, check into one of their stunning accommodations. Each lodging offers individually styled decor and amenities to keep guests feeling right at home as they experience all this resort has to offer.
9. Alpine Valley
If you are near the White Lake area, take a drive to Alpine Valley to experience a smaller skiing and snowboarding experience. With 25 runs ranging from 11 beginner to 8 advanced, guests of all skill levels can explore the 300 foot drop. The hill is complemented by natural areas where trees line the slopes, making trails feel separate from one another. With three different terrain parks and a snowcross track, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Alpine Valley is home to High School ski racing and also holds Junior and Boardercross racing. For older participants, the slopes Beer League racing is available and is sponsored by New Belgium Brewing, Shumaker's Ski & Snowboard and Peninsula Alpine Racing.
10. Pine Knob
Located in Clarkston neighboring DTE Energy Music Theatre, Pine Knob is great for intermediate leveled skiers and snowboarders who are looking for faster descents down straight slopes. Four of the 14 runs are tailored to experienced guests, one being The Wall that is featured as double diamond and terrain parks are sprinkled around the park in three locations.
If you happen to forget a piece of gear at home, don’t worry, because their shop is stocked with rental equipment and if your board needs a tune up head over to that area in the ski shop.