Trip Report: Boyne Highlands Remains A Classic Midwestern Resort
I’ve been skiing at Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in Michigan since the mid-1970s and watched them grow over the plast 40 years. Both have added more terrain, trails and terrain parks and lots of non-ski related activities.
I took a few days midweek and stayed at the Highlands, skiing and enjoying other snowsports activities for three days with friends. It just reinforced that Boyne Highlands is one of my favorite Midwest resorts. Pull up to the main lodge and the classic three story hotel with its vine covered alpine motif and the ski hill rising behind the roofline is arguably one of the most iconic views among Heartland ski resorts.
That hasn’t changed since it first opened in 1964. The rooms and hotel’s interior have been well preserved over the years. The dining room is one of the best in the Harbor Springs area. Overlooking the lit slopes is your “eye candy” for the meal.
The Highlands rises over 550 feet, the largest vertical in Lower Michigan, and offers 55 runs, the longest over a mile, with eight lifts including the Express, a high-speed quad in front of the hotel. There are also four terrain parks, a 13-foot halfpipe, and numerous glades scattered across the ridge to dodge into.
The classic Midwest ridge, left bent and folded by the last retreating glacier some 11,000 years ago, offers a visual distinctiveness with varied slopes and contours that are rare for the Heartland. It’s one of few resorts around the Great Lakes where you really need a trail map to figure out how to get around and to the right lift. The secluded North Face runs almost feel like a separate ski area.
When we first started coming to the resort years ago, skiing was the reason. Today there are many other activities to enjoy while visiting. You can try the multiple-stage zipline tour, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fat tire biking, horseback riding and tubing in addition to skiing and riding.
They are offering a Your Turn Women’s Ski Clinic with former U.S. Ski Team member Lisa Densmore Jan. 29-31, for intermediate and advanced skiers. The program includes ski clinics with Densmore and the Highland’s top female instructors, boot fitting, demo equipment from Boyne Country Sports, breakfast, lunch and après-ski receptions. A Saturday night dinner with Densmore is optional and not included in program price. Cost for the clinic is $279, $160 for Boyne passholders. Lift tickets not included. Space is limited, and last year’s event sold out.
The resort also a February Ski and Stay package, valid Feb. 15-19, starting from $116 per person, per night based on double occupancy. It includes lodging, lift ticket, breakfast buffet and tubing.
Photos: Top -- Lisa Densmore runs a popular women's clinic at Boyne Highlands (Boyne Highlands); Below: The classic facade of the Highlands hotel awaits guests (Boyne Highlands)