Looking across the slopes at lodge and village on top of ski hill. (Otsego/Facebook)
Michigan’s Otsego Ski Club, near Gaylord, is going fully public this season and giving up its position as the nation’s oldest continuing operating private ski club. It opened in 1939.
After Osprey Recreational Properties bought Otsego Club a few years ago they opened the golf courses and lodging services to the public in summer, but kept the ski club portion private in winter. This winter they are dropping the “private” designation and fully open to the public. They are currently selling adult season memberships for $449, which are slated to go up in a few days, according to Dawn Bush.
The resort has an old world charm that you won’t find anywhere else in the Heartland, and the dining borders on gourmet. It’s truly unique, and, in my opinion, not your typical ski resort. It’s a chance for skiers and snowboarders to experience some of northern Michigan’s best and least known terrain.
The upside-down resort offers 31 slopes and trails that plunge and twist off three peaks down into the wild, scenic Sturgeon River valley. Otsego Club is located on some of the highest elevations in the Lower Peninsula. All lodging and the main lodge are located along a ridge above the broad, deep river valley. Dinner in the Duck Blind Grille with its wall of windows looking out across the valley is a treat not to be missed. In addition there are four terrain parks scattered across the slopes. Five chairlifts, including a high-speed quad and one surface tow to keep lines moving at a good pace.
There’s over six miles of cross country tails meandering down into the valley along the river and back to the top of the ridge and additional snowshoe trails. Snowmobile rentals are also available. The resort offers 117 guestrooms, suites and condominiums.