Northern Michigan Resorts Make Major Improvements
After a good 2012/13 season, one of the longest in recent memory, destination resorts across northern Lower Michigan have made some major improvements over the summer getting ready for the upcoming winter. Let it snow.
Crystal Mountain replaced the old quad chairlift on Buck with a new, faster version and widened, regraded the old Buck slope and added a new Buckaroo slope. New glades have been opened off the side of Buck and Gorge, which now brings Crystal to 48 slopes and trails. New snow guns were added along Buck, and a Winch Cat groomer was added to the fleet of groomers. Wild Tomato underwent a complete remodel, including new kitchen and new menu, and Clipper Café added more seating around the fireplace.
Nubs Nob’s terrain park was again voted the top park in the Midwest by Outside magazine, and the ski patrol was named outstanding patrol in the Midwest. On the terrain side, a new Piston Bully groomer was added to the fleet, which now brings their fleet total to four. It’s one of the largest in the Heartland. A new Wintersteiger ski tuning machine was purchased to fine tune skis and snowboards, and new carpet covers the ski lodge.
Boyne purchased new Piston Bully 400 winch cat groomers for both Boyne Mountain and Highlands and added more Boyne Low-E fan guns at both resorts. The Low-E snow guns allow them to make more snow in marginal conditions. Boyne’s snow guarantee says if you're not satisfied with snow conditions simply return your lift ticket within one hour of purchase to receive a voucher for future use.
Rental equipment has been upgraded at both locations with new Head skis and boots and Burton Learn to Ride (LTR) snowboards. A new 110-foot suspended rope bridge crossing a valley has been added to the Highlands’ zipline course. The Highlands turns 50 this season. Stay tuned for season-long events.
Treetops Resort will be open seven days a week for the first time in many years, and is the only resort in northern Michigan with an Olympic-style airbag available daily. They’ve also expanded the terrain park with new features and added a Border Cross Course. Olympic snowboard coach Tom Hutchinson will be back again this winter as a snowboard instructor.
It’s a longer season at Shanty Creek this winter. They will be open seven days a week, and it’s scheduled all the way through March for the first time in many years. New rental equipment from major manufacturers has been added; Volkl, Marker, Dalbello, Tecnica, K2, Burton and Scott. Snowmaking upgrades were made, and terrain improvements have been made for the Schuss Mountain Monster Park, Big Air Launch Pad, and the NASTAR racing hill.
The Homestead is celebrating its 30th anniversary with events and activities. Beppi’s Plaza has been remodeled adding outdoor seating and two large firepits where local entertainment will be performing on weekends throughout the winter.
Caberfae Peaks is opening 25-acres of new ungroomed backcountry terrain; seven new runs, trees, glades, chutes and plenty of untracked powder. “Depending on low you go, you’ll have to hike back to the lift from some terrain,” said GM Pete Myers. Snowmaking has been improved with additional low energy and more tower mounted guns. The MacKenzie Lodge and Beatie’s Bar & Grill were renovated with exposed pine and slate tile.
Photos: Top -- Caberfae Peaks (Caberfae); Bottom: Crystal Mountain jumper (Crystal Mt.)