There are five other resorts that make up the bulk of the region’s ski hills. Here’s a look at what they’ve added to enhance your skiing and snowboarding pleasure this season.
Treetops Resort, near Gaylord, is adding extreme tubing to its winter lineup of activities. It will be located adjacent to the slopes so you can hop from skis to tube without having to change anything. Ski packages start from $79 per person this winter.
Shanty Creek Resort, between Bellaire and Mancelona, has several new attractions. The halfpipe is gone and has been replaced with a Big Air Park, more jumps and ramps. The Monster Energy Park, tripled in size, will now stretch across three runs and features over 150 feet of new rails and boxes. A new run will connect the top of the red chairlift with the base of the purple lift, and a new beginner’s terrain park, called Low Rider, will feature small jumps, rails and boxes.
The Cedar River Tubing Park has been expanded to eight lanes. This winter marks Shanty’s 50th anniversary. Look for lots of specials and activities to take place throughout the season. Ski packages start from $78 per adult/per night in the Lakeview Hotel.
Caberfae Peaks, west of Cadillac, added over 30 new tower mounted snowguns increasing coverage on Canyon, No. 1, Cruiser, Easy Street, Liberty, and Charlie runs. Beginners can now access the top of North Peak enjoying an easy run down Smiling Irishmen and Easy Street, which follows one of the original runs cut by the CCC 75 years ago. It’s one of the first ski areas opened in the nation, and they will be offering lots of specials throughout the season celebrating the anniversary. Season passes start at $149, and you can purchase a punch pass, good for four midweek visits, for $49.
Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, near Thompsonville, is adding snow bikes to its rental equipment and will be offering northern Michigan’s only dedicated snow bike trail system. They also increased snowmaking capacity. Mountain Sports To Go, a new retail outlet adjacent to the rental and lift ticket area, will take care of any last minute needs before hitting the slopes. New Lift Ticket Value Cards, offering season-long lift ticket discounts, are available for $49 only through Saturday, Dec. 8. The resort’s Simply Ski And Ride Package, good for a night’s lodging and full day on the slopes, starts from $119 per person.
The Homestead, nestled among towering sand dunes along Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, is one of few Heartland ski areas that limits lift ticket sales. It's done to provide an un-crowded ski and snowboard experience, which allows you to experience the wonderful view of Lake Michigan without worrying about overcrowded slopes; also great for families and beginners to the sport.
The Homestead is open weekends, Friday-Sunday, Dec. 21, 2012 through March 10, 2013. During the holidays the resort is open daily. Afternoon lift tickets, starting at 1 p.m., are $20 Friday, $29 on Saturday and $25 Sunday. Lift and lodging packages start from $66 per person, per night and includes a breakfast buffet. A two night minimum stay is required. The offer is good Dec. 28, 2012 through March 10, 2013.
Photo: The Homestead