Clocktower Inn at Boyne MountainThe first time I visited Boyne Mountain on a ski trip with the Dayton Ski Club it was the mid-1970s, and you either skied or sat in the lounge watching skiers coming down the slopes. Today there is so much more to choose from on a winter visit.

I just re-visited this storied resort, this time with grandkids in tow, and we were busy skiing and riding, playing in the Avalanche Bay Waterpark, cross country skiing, visiting with Santa and enjoying all the holiday activities, and a visit to the Solace Spa Sunday morning for a sport message for me. There was more we would like to have done, but you can only get in so much during a weekend.

In addition to the activities we enjoyed there are zipline tours, horseback riding through snow covered forests, ice skating, tubing, snowshoe tours, horse drawn sleigh rides, and groomer rides at night. It used to be if the slopes weren’t in great condition you didn’t have a lot of other choices. Not true anymore.

With the addition of all the snowmaking firepower they now have compared to 40 years ago and the evolution of grooming equipment, you can be assured the slopes will be in great condition no matter what Mother Nature throws at them.

The weekend we were there temperatures had warmed up to the low 40s after a great start to winter in November that saw record amounts of natural snow and cold temperatures allowing lots of snowmaking. They had over half their skiing acreage open and groomers had packed the slopes for perfect carving conditions. The warmer temperatures actually felt good remembering the Polar Vortex that we were in last December. Heading into the holidays, Boyne now reports 300 of 415 skiable acres open for skiing.

The smaller grandkids really enjoyed the waterpark, the wading pools with small slides and the lazy river. The older ones enjoyed all the long slides and especially the new Big Couloir with its 40-foot drop.

Boyne is a bit of old and new. The village has grown and the addition of the Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa and attached waterpark offsets it from any other Heartland ski resort. There’s still the familiar old Clock Tower Lodge, which was where I stayed on my first trip years ago. It’s been nicely updated. In addition to the Stein Erickson restaurant in the Clock Tower, there is now the upscale Everett’s in the Mountain Grand and Pierson’s in the village; best chicken noodle soup I’ve ever tasted. New lifts have been added and more terrain, but the front face of the Mountain, where the Dean of Midwestern Steep, Hemlock still holds court and has changed little. It still provides some of the best skiing and riding found around the Great Lakes.

Boyne Mountain will host a variety of holiday activities through New Year’s Eve with special dinners, celebrations, torch light parades and fireworks over the mountain to welcome in 2015.

Photo: Top -- Boyne Mountain's Clocktower Lodge is decked out for the holidays (Boyne Mt.); Bottom -- Boyne Mountain has plenty of things to do for the whole family including, of course, skiing and riding. (Boyne Mt.)

Boyne Mt.