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.

The three ski areas, located within minutes of each other, offer more than 175 trails and 30 lifts. It’s arguably one of the best collections of ski resorts around the Great Lakes. Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands are located about a half-hour apart and lift tickets are interchangeable. Nubs Nob is across the valley from the Highlands.

Nubs, early season through Dec. 12, is offering $40 lift tickets daily. Already known for their glade skiing, they are premiering a new Outback Jack Glade run this season. It’s located on Pintail Peak and ideally located to catch both natural and man-made snow. Its terrain park has been rated number one in the Midwest past years by both Outside and Transworld Snowboarding magazines.

Boyne Highlands kidsPetoskey, often dubbed the “Nantucket of the Midwest,” is located on Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. A couple of Petoskey New England-style lookalikes, Stafford’s Perry Hotel and Stafford’s Bay View Inn, overlook the scenic  bay, offer old world charm and partner with the ski area for lodging. The Perry Hotel has rooms from $109 per night and the Bay View Inn from $99. Both are 15 minutes from Nubs.

Both Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands added the first phase of the new patented Boyne Low-E fan gun that increases efficiency and improves snow quality. It operates at marginal temperatures for snowmaking, which allows them to start early. The new guns will be rolled out on Hemlock on the Mountain and Challenger on the Highlands. They also added new beginner and intermediate features Funland Terrain Park and improved snowmaking in Lower McGully Terrain Park at the Highlands and extending hours on the popular Ramshead chairlift at the Mountain.

Boyne Mountain ski and stay packages starts from $136 per person, per night. Juniors receive reduced rates and kids, eight and under, sleep, ski and eat breakfast for free. The package includes lodging, unlimited lift tickets, breakfast buffet and tubing. Boyne Highlands’ packagestarts from $120 per person, per night. There are some blackout dates on the packages.

Photos: Top -- It's family time at Nubs Nob (Nubs Nob); Left -- Plenty of fun for everyone at Boyne Highlands (Boyne Highlands); Below -- The front face of Boyne Mountain beckons skiers and riders (Boyne Mountain)

Boyne Mountain front face