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The latest news, deals, and events from ski resorts throughout North America.

Michigan Fourth and Fifth Graders Ski And Snowboard Free

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Crystal Mountain kids in lesson. (Crystal Mountain)

Many state and industry programs are offered throughout the west and east allowing elementary age kids the chance to give skiing and snowboarding a try throughout the winter. The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) offers one of the best in my opinion. It’s the only statewide program I could find being offered in the Midwest.

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Northern Michigan Resorts Had Good Winter Season

Northern Michigan Resorts Had Good Winter Season

Great snow makes for happy snowboarders at Shanty Creek. (Shanty Creek/Facebook)

While results for the just finished Midwest snowsports season aren’t finalized yet at least northern Michigan resorts and ski areas are reporting they had a good season.

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Best Bets For Great Lakes Late Season Skiing

Best Bets For Great Lakes Late Season Skiing

Families enjoy Giants Ridge and the giant views. (Jim Balfour)

Spring has come early to the Heartland this winter and most of the ski areas across the lower Midwest have closed. The best bets for some late season spring skiing into April are all centered across the northern Great Lakes, and the longer, warmer, sun filled days provide some of the best conditions of the winter.

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Party Time For Skiers And Boarders In Northern Michigan

Party Time For Skiers And Boarders In Northern Michigan

Slush cups are part of spring fun in Michigan. (Shanty Creek)

Despite a record warm February across the Great Lakes that saw some ski areas across southern Michigan, Indiana and Ohio call it a season all ready, slopes in northern Michigan are still well covered. March’s longer, warmer days bring out the fun side of northern Michigan’s ski resorts.


 

Kid’s Festival Weekend takes place at Boyne Mountain, March 10-12, with all kinds of events planned for kids of every age. At Boyne Highlands the eighth annual Brew-Ski Festival happens March 10-11. Lodging packages are available for both events.

Boyne Mountain Krazy Daze

The weekend of March 17-19 Krazy Daze happens at the Highlands and Carnival Weekend takes place at the Mountain.   

Krazy Daze events include slaloms, jump the pond competition, tailgate parties, face painting, and costume judging. On Saturday there are GS races, a Silly Slalom, and, of course, a pond skimming event. 

Boyne Mountain carnival

Carnival Weekend brings out the beads, bands, and costume competitions.  Check out the on-hill party at Victor Warming House on Saturday. There’s outside cookouts on the Stein Eriksen Patio and live music. The spectator friendly Slush Cup takes place on Sunday. Carnival weekend packages start from $160 per person, per night.

NubsNob family

Nubs Nob hosts Mardi Gras March 18. A family oriented event with fun and games for all; the Soaker Cup, Costume contest, Crazy Couples,  races and the Petoskey Steel Drum Band on the deck.

Crystal Mountain kayak race

Crystal Mountain is celebrating sun and snow with March on the Mountain. The Spring Carnival, which includes the, cardboard classic and slush cup, takes place March 10-11. The following weekend, March 17-18, is Celts and Kayaks featuring an on slope downhill kayak race, another slush cup and Celtic dancing. Retro Weekend takes place March 24-25 with a mountain run, bike races and a free slopeside concert. Friday, March 10, is 6-for-$60. Grab six friends and head for Crystal. You can’t beat an all-mountain $10 lift ticket.

The resort is offering 25-percent off peak season lodging rates throughout the month of March in limited quantities.

Shanty Creek is hosting their Cardboard Classic March 11 and Blarney Stone Rail Jam March 18. Lift and lodging packages start from $97 per person, per night, and include breakfast. Children eight and under always sleep and ski free when staying with parents.

It’s that time of year to get out and enjoy the slopes before the season ends, and have some fun along the way.  



 

 

 

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Glade And Backcountry Skiing In The Midwest?

Glade And Backcountry Skiing In The Midwest?

Crystal Mountain skiers slicing through the trees. (Crystal Mountain)

Glade skiing and the backcountry, popular out West and in the East, doesn’t take a backseat in the Heartland. Ski areas located across the upper tier of the Midwest offer some fine tree runs, even a few cliff jumps.


Backcountry slopes on Voodoo Mountains cat skiing overlook Lake Superior.

When you think backcountry skiing, Upper Michigan’s Mt. Bohemia is legendary. All backcountry, it offers the only cat skiing east of the Rockies. In Powder Magazine's annual reader poll of the best backcountry powder in North America, Bohemia routinely comes out on top in the East and finished in the top four overall one year. There’s a 900-foot vertical drop spread out over 600 acres with cliffs, chutes, trees, steep drops, all natural snow and nothing groomed. The cat skiing is off 700-foot Voodoo Mountain where runs tumble down towards Lake Superior. Annual average lake effect snow is 270-inches. It’s the only Heartland area that is truly “backcountry.”

In addition there are six other ski resorts in Lower Michigan, two in Wisconsin, and one each in Minnesota and South Dakota that offer glade skiing. There’s no backcountry but alluring glades off to the side of groomed runs and some nice swaths in between runs.

A skier enjoys a run through Boyne Highlands glades.

In northern Michigan all three Boyne Country ski resorts—Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands and Nubs Nob—have gladed areas marked on trail maps.

Nubs Nob glades.

The Mountain has three advanced glades and the Highlands four scattered across the ridge. Nubs has seven glades that stretch across the front side, south side and Pintail Peak. One of their upper glade slopes can be accessed only by hiking up; just like out West.

Crystal Mountain has five glade skiing areas around the ski hill requiring varied skill levels. Shanty Creek has two advanced glade areas marked on their Schuss Mountain trail map off the red lift. 

Caberfae Peaks has a 25-acre area off the backside of North Peak marked as backcountry terrain. It’s been gladed and is nice and wide offering plenty of lines. 

Lutsen Mountains cliff jump in glades.

Wisconsin’s Granite Peak offers several acres of glades in between widely spaced runs scattered across the mountain. Minnesota’s Lutsen Mountains has glade runs scattered across three of their mountains, many well away from the groomed runs offering seclusion like you would find out West. 

It can be an exhilarating experience. Just be careful, always looking ahead, bring friend and helmets required.

 

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Perfect Time To Combine Romantic Getaway And Ski Trip

Perfect Time To Combine Romantic Getaway And Ski Trip

A scenic view of Nubs Nob slopes overlooking Little Traverse Bay valley. (Nubs Nob)

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s the perfect time to consider a romantic getaway with a little skiing and riding. It falls midweek this year, which means lower package prices. Here are some of the best choices around the Great Lakes.


Lutsen

Twin City residents have Lutsen Resort, one of the “grand old resorts” along Lake Superior’s North Shore, and it’s located just across the road from Lutsen Mountains, the Heartland’s largest snowsports resort. Minnesota Monthly Magazine calls it “most romantic resort in the state.” They offer a Romance Package, two nights lodging, breakfast daily, one dinner and champagne in your room, from $386 midweek. They offer guests roundtrip free shuttle service to the ski hill, just minutes away. Buy your Lutsen Mountains lift tickets online and save $20 per adult on two-day lift tickets.

Granite Peak

Wisconsin’s Granite Peak and Wausau make a nice romantic combo for Milwaukee and Chicago couples. The city is draped around the base of Rib Mountain. At night the ski area illuminates the mountain rising above the city. The Jefferson Street Inn, located on the town square, offers a Romantic Getaway that includes a two-night stay in a two-room suite with in-room whirlpool and fireplace, lift tickets for two days and a couple’s message. The package starts from around $700.

Detroit couples look northward for a couple of romantic getaways. Many Chicagoland skiers also head to northern Michigan for getaways.

Stafford's Bay View Inn dressed for the winter season.

Stafford’s Bay View Inn, located in Petoskey often called the “Nantucket of the Midwest,” offers a Hit The Slopes package that starts from $299 midweek, two guests per room. It includes two nights lodging, a country breakfast each morning, and two vouchers for a day’s lift ticket at either Boyne Highlands or Nubs Nub, both nearby. Superb dining, charm and hospitality make this a memorable Valentine’s stay.

Homestead Resort skiing

The Homestead Resort, nestled in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore overlooking Lake Michigan, offers a Winter Stay & Dine package that includes two night’s lodging, hot breakfast each morning and dinner at Nonna’s their signature restaurant one evening. Rates start from $89 per person, per night, and all day lift tickets can be added for around $30 per person, per day. It’s only open weekends for skiing and riding.

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Michigan Ski Areas Offering Affordable Ski Lessons During January

Michigan Ski Areas Offering Affordable Ski Lessons During January

Join Boyne Highlands for a beginner lesson and some smiles. (Boyne Mountain)

If you’ve wanted to give winter sports a try there’s no better time if you’re a Michigan resident or living just across the border in Indiana or Wisconsin.


Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and McDonald’s Restaurants have teamed up to offer an affordable lesson program for both adults and children. It covers downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing.

The Discover Michigan Ski program includes a beginner lesson, ski or snowboard rental, and a beginner area lift pass or cross country trail pass at 27 of the state’s top ski areas. The program is available throughout the month of January. The cost for the program, which is open to everyone from 7 on up, is $20 for a cross country skiing lesson and $35 for a downhill skiing or snowboarding lesson.

Treetops kids in a lesson riding the lift with an instructor

Signing up is easy. The Discover Michigan Ski vouchers are available at participating Michigan McDonald Restaurants and selected ski shops while quantities last. A printable version is also available by visiting the MSIA website. The voucher lists participating ski areas. You must pre-register with the area.

Apple Mountain ski lesson

“It’s been very popular program in past years,” Mickey McWilliams, longtime MSIA executive director, told SnoCountry. “It offers an affordable way to give snow sports a try, and many keep up with it after that initial lesson. We’ve been offering this program in January for several years now, and in that time a few thousand people, both young and old, have come out to give winter sports a try.”

A sampling of participating areas includes some of the larger resorts in the state; Boyne MountainBoyne Highlands, Nubs Nob, Shanty Creek, Treetops in northern Lower Michigan, and Bittersweet, Timber Ridge and Apple Mountain in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula. Big Powderhorn, Ski Brule and Marquette Mountain in the UP are just a few of the participating ski areas.

Getting ready for a lesson at Bittersweet Ski Area

 



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Looking For That Special Valentine Day Ski Trip In Midwest?

Homestead coupleWith Valentine’s Day just around the corner and coming on a weekend, here are some of my favorite Heartland spots to combine snow sports and romance. Enjoy.

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Michigan's Boyne Country Resorts Offer Early Season Package Deals

Boyne MountainNorthwestern Lower Michigan around the Lake Michigan villages of Petoskey and Harbor Springs is known to Midwest snowsports enthusiasts as Boyne Country, home to Nubs NobBoyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands. They are offering some attractive early season lift and lodging packages.

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Just 400 Michigan White Gold Cards Now Available; Act Fast

Homestead Ski AreaHow would you like to ski Michigan’s top ski areas for just about $7 per visit this winter? All you have to do is purchase the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) White Gold Card, which is now on sale in very limited supply for $249. 

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