Insider’s Guide to Big Snow Resorts
Big air at Blackjack. (Blackjack)
Big Snow Resort is actually two longtime Michigan resorts, Indianhead and Blackjack, that sit almost side-by-side in the ancient Penokee Mountain Range crossing western Upper Michigan and northern Wisconsin.
Between the two they offer 56 trails, 15 lifts, and three terrain parks spread over 410 acres and two mountain tops. All topped off with a 17-foot annual snowfall. Indianhead boasts a hefty 636 vertical drop for the Midwest. A shuttle runs every half-hour on weekends between the two resorts, or you can drive yourself. It’s a quick trip, less than 10 minutes.
Eat. Indianhead’s lodging and restaurants are located on top of the mountain. Enjoy the view from the appropriately named Sky Bar Mountaintop Grille, located in the hill-top day-lodge; great food, drink and great views, especially at sunset. Dudley’s Saloon in the main lodge features live music on weekends. Logger’s Lounge at Blackjack, open Thursday-Sunday, offers good pizza and wings and live music. A quick trip to Mike’s Restaurant for breakfast, especially the French toast, and Maplewood Steakhouse for a prime rib dinner is always welcome.
Stay. Indianhead offers hotel rooms in the main lodge, a 1930 converted dairy barn, plus trailside condos and mountain top chalets. Blackjack offers mountaintop chalets.
Trails. Indianhead Mountain offers some of the best cruising runs around the Great Lakes. Long, boulevard-like runs cut a wide, mile-long swath from top to bottom, and half of them are rated expert terrain. This is one UP ski area where you will feel that delicious thigh burn you experience out west after a great day of skiing. Beginners and intermediates will also find plenty to like. An added bonus, the learning center is located on top of the mountain offering great views all the way to Lake Superior in the far distance.
Blackjack may offer the most variety and some of the best black diamond runs in the region. Expert runs account for 40-percent of the resort’s terrain, and the full slope Broad Ax Terrain Park features jump lines with medium to large features top to bottom.
Deals. Coming for the weekend? A single day lift ticket is $65. Purchase a two-day online and it's $99, a three-day lift ticket is $129.
Play. Rent a snowmobile, guided tours available, or take a drive down the nearby Black River Scenic Byway and snowshoe back in on short paths to view spectacular falls as the river tumbles down to Lake Superior.