Discover America’s most underrated but thriving ski state

When people think of skiing, they usually think of Colorado, Utah, Vermont, Montana, New Hampshire and a few others in affluent mountain regions. These states are home to such famous ski resorts as Vail, Aspen, Deer Valley, Stowe, Big Sky, and others.

Though Michigan boasts more than 40 ski resorts — the second largest in the state behind New York — Michigan rarely gets the attention it deserves when it comes to bringing downhill excitement to hordes of skiers each year. Granted, ski resorts throughout Wolverine State can’t quite match the sheer size or elevation gain of the more popular states. What they lack in size, however, they make up for in personality. After all, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Skiers visiting Michigan this year can expect to find the following improvements at resorts across the state, as recently announced by the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.

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Alpine Valley ski area300 vertical slopes, 25 slopes, 100 hectares of skiable terrain, five fun parks

Alpine Valley is the local ski area for many in Southeast Michigan. Wisconsin Resorts, the parent company of Pine Knob, Mt. Holly, Bittersweet, Alpine Valley (WI) and Searchmont Resort (Canada), bought Alpine Valley last year. Skiers now have the option to purchase a multi-area pass covering Alpine Valley (MI) and all of its sister resorts, resulting in six resort passes for one price.

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Bittersweet, 350 vertical, 20 slopes, 100 hectares of skiable terrain, two fun parks

Bittersweet installed a new high-speed lift over the summer. The resort also realigned the high-speed Sweet Express to prepare for the Snow Flier, which replaced the Snowberry chairlift and loads near the base lodge.

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The Highlands at Harbor Springs552 vertical, 55 runs, 435 hectares of skiable terrain, four terrain parks

The most important news for Boyne Highlands is the name change and transformation plans. Now called The Highlands at Harbor Springs, the resort offers more elevation and space than any other on the Lower Peninsula. Known for varied terrain and long runs, their terrain parks offer a wide variety for every type of rider and are a great place for beginners and youngest riders to hone their skills. As a destination, visitors will find tubing, zip-lining, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, horseback riding, and many winter-themed events.

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Boyne mountain500 meters of altitude, 60 pistes, 415 hectares of skiable terrain, seven fun parks

Known for its full resort experience, Boyne Mountain is about 40 minutes south of its sister resort. Boyne Mountain is a bit noisier than Boyne Highlands, with a greater emphasis on apr├Ęs ski, and is home to Avalanche Bay, their indoor water park. Among the biggest and most exciting new features is Disciples 8, also known as the D8, the first high-speed eight-person Doppelmayr D-Line chairlift in the Midwest. Bringing the latest in lift development and technology, this mega new lift revolutionizes access to the Disciples Ridge area with a three-minute ride to the top along with a host of other features such as self-locking safety bars, a kid-friendly ascent, loading carpet and whisper-quiet ride.

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crystal mountain375 meters in altitude, 59 runs, 103 hectares of skiable terrain, three fun parks

Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain invested in additional staff guns that year, bringing the total number of snow machines to 172. For the more advanced skiers and riders there is a new run, Ridge Glades, which runs through the trees between Dandy’s Delight and The Ridge.

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Caberfae Summit, 485 meters in altitude, 34 pistes, 200 hectares of skiable terrain, two fun parks

Caberfae Peaks opened in January 1938, making it one of the oldest ski resorts in the country. Located in Michigan’s lake-effect snow belt, Caberfae receives over 11 feet of natural snowfall each season. Caberfae continues to expand its terrain with the addition of East Peak. Caberfae Peaks serves the new East Peak area and has added a new East Peak triple chairlift.

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Shanty Creek Resort, 450 vertical runs, 41 trails, 70 acres of skiable terrain, four terrain parks

Conveniently located in Bellaire, northeast of Traverse City, Shanty Creek Resort offers a variety of winter experiences. Night skiers will appreciate the improved slope lighting systems. For the convenience and convenience of guests, Shanty Creek has introduced a new system of selling ski rentals, lift tickets and passes for both downhill and cross-country skis, as everything can be purchased online.

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Marquette Mountain, 600 meters of altitude, 27 pistes, 170 hectares of skiable terrain, four fun parks

Marquette Mountain is on the south side of Marquette, within sight of Lake Superior. Additional skiable terrain was added this summer on Mittelberg and on the east side. It will be exciting to see how guests make use of the additional acres, including another clearing and extensions/extensions of two other runs. Also, the areas at the top of the mountain were illuminated to expand the night skiing area.

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cold is cool

Ski areas and resorts across Michigan have partnered to bring 4th and 5th graders skiing with the Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport App. All fourth and fifth graders with a pass can ski up to three times free of charge in each of the 29 participating ski areas, that’s over 90 lift/trail passes per child. The cost to access the app is $30, including a $5 donation to snow, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing Michigan kids closer to slopes and trails, promoting diversity and inclusion, and educating about sustainability practices. Steve Kershner, chairman of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association and director of snow sports at Shanty Creek Resort, says a child in fourth or fifth grade is the perfect age to learn to ski or snowboard. “They have the coordination and enthusiasm to pick up the sport quickly.” Instructions for applying for the pass are available on MSIA’s website, goskimichigan.com, and at coldiscool.org.

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