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The Ultimate Michigan Ski Guide 2002 - 2003
By Jim Neff


Michigan ranks among the nation's leaders for the number of ski areas. Here's a look at what the state's ski resorts have to offer in 2002-2003.


Upper Peninsula

Big Powderhorn - Bessemer
Big Powderhorn is a favorite in the Upper Midwest, and there's infinite variety in the runs. The vertical is a solid 622 feet, one of the highest in the Midwest. Lodging at the area features an array of chalets and condos, and a family friendly ski village means there's plenty to see and do. Big Powderhorn is part of Big Snow Country, offering special programs and prices with Blackjack, MI and Whitecap, WI. This year the Caribou Lodge has been renovated and will open as a base area day lodge.

Vertical Drop: 622 feet
Lifts: 10 (9 chairs, 1 surface)
Terrain: 35% novice, 35percent intermediate, 30percent expert.
Trails: 25
Cross Country: 7km
Snowboards: 2 terrain parks
(906) 932-4838, (800) 501-SNOW.
Website: http://www.bigpowderhorn.net

Blackjack - Bessemer
Blackjack Ski Resort is located in the beautiful Black River Valley in the Lake Superior snowbelt of Michigan's western Upper Peninsula. The area is one of the most snowboard-friendly ski areas in the Midwest, with multiple halfpipes and terrain parks. Blackjack also caters to families with a wide variety of terrain and programs. The resort is part of Big Snow Country with Big Powderhorn, MI and Whitecap, WI, with special prices and programs.

Vertical Drop: 465 feet
Lifts: 4 chairs, 2 surface
Terrain: 20percent novice, 40percent intermediate, 40percent expert.
Trails: 22
Snowboards: 2 Parks and 3Pipes
(888)906-9835, (800) 848-1125.
Website: http://www.skiblackjack.com

Indianhead Mountain - Wakefield
Indianhead Mountain Resort in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula offers 195 acres of skiable terrain and wide open runs reminiscent of the Rockies. The base lodge and facilities are actually at the top of the mountain, which treats guests to stunning vistas. Snowmaking and grooming are a specialty of the resort, which typically opens earlier and stays open later than most other ski areas in the region. This year the resort has a newly expanded health and recreation area.

Vertical Drop: 638 feet
Lifts: 5 chairs, 4 surface
Terrain: 21percent novice, 37percent intermediate, 42percent expert.
Trails: 22
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(800) 346-3426
Website: http://www.indianheadmtn.com

Marquette Mountain - Marquette
Known as a skier's mountain, Marquette Mountain features a great race program and plenty of challenging terrain. The area contains a 4,000' alpine terrain park and two legal tree runs. The city of Marquette, the home of Northern Michigan University, is only five minutes away, so there are many lodging and dining options near the resort.

Vertical Drop: 600 feet
Lifts: 3 chairs, 1 surface
Terrain: 15percent novice, 50percent intermediate, 35percent expert.
Trails: 23
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(906)225-1155, (800)944-SNOW.
Website: http://www.marquettemountain.com

Mont Ripley - Houghton
Mont Ripley is operated by Michigan Tech University provides a comfortable chalet featuring a cafeteria and lockers as well as a ski shop and ski school. The terrain is varied, with something for beginners and experts alike. The area is also known for its professional National Ski Patrol unit. Mont Ripley sits adjacent to the Keweenaw National Historic Park. Ripley recorded 103 ski days last season.

Vertical Drop: 420 feet
Lifts: 1 chair, 1 surface
Terrain: 25percent novice, 50percent intermediate, 25percent expert.
Trails: 16
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(906) 487-2340
Web Site: http://www.aux.mtu.edu/ski/

Mt. Bohemia - Keweenaw
Located in the Keweenaw Peninsula, Mt. Bohemia boasts the states highest vertical and steepest terrain. Mt. Bohemia offers the biggest vertical drop in the Midwest, featuring expert slopes and some cliff-like drops on some of the steeper runs, a true western experience. The area also has the largest skiable glade between the Rockies and Eastern resorts, extreme back country terrain, and upwards of 300 inches of powder per winter. Four new expert glade runs and one intermediate run have been added this year, and ladies can ski free every day.

Vertical Drop: 900 feet
Lifts: 2 chairs, 1 surface
Terrain: 7percent novice, 39percent intermediate, 54percent expert.
Trails: 41
Snowboards: Park and Pipe
(888)937-2411, (906)289-4105
Website: http://www.mtbohemia.com

Norway Mountain - Norway
Skiers recognize Norway Mountain for its varied terrain and friendly staff. The lodge and trailside condos are located on the summit of the mountain, making for easy access to the ski runs. The resort has excellent programs for kids and families, and you can even purchase lift tickets and resort merchandise via their on-line store.

Vertical Drop: 500 feet
Lifts: 3 chair, 2 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 35percent intermediate, 35percent expert
Trails: 14
Cross Country: 5km
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(906) 563-9700, (800)272-5445
Website: http://www.norwaymountain.com

Pine Mountain - Iron Mountain
Pine Mountain is one of the Upper Peninsula's most famous ski resorts. It's main lodge is a classic and the resort also offers a selection of condos. Resort spa facilities are open to all guests. While there, don't miss a visit to Famers, the location of the Upper Peninsula sports Hall of Fame. Pine Mountain Resort is located next to Timberstone Golf Course rated by "Golf Digest" Magazine as one of the top courses in the US.

Vertical Drop: 500 feet
Lifts: 3 chairs, 2 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 40percent intermediate, 30percent expert
Trails: 20
Cross Country: 8km
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(906)774-2747, (877)533-PINE
Website: http://www.pinemountainresort.com

Porcupine Mountains - Ontonagon
Porcupine Mountains ski area is located in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, Michigan's largest state park. The park is in Ontonagon County, at the western edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The park harbors the last extensive tract of old-growth hemlock forests, and is one of the Midwest's most extensive wilderness areas. The Porkies are home to one of the first alpine ski areas in the Midwest as well as some of the most scenic Nordic ski trails in the entire Great Lakes region. The chalet offers ski and snowboard rentals, pro shop, rest rooms, fireplaces, and cafeteria.

Vertical Drop: 641 feet
Lifts: 2 chair, 2 surface
Terrain: 21percent novice, 50percent intermediate, 29percent expert.
Trails: 15
Cross Country: 42km
(906)885-5275
Website: http://www.ontonagon.net/porkies/ski/index.html

Ski Brule - Iron River
Ski Brule is always the first ski resort in Michigan to open and the last to close. Snow lovers will never forget the record-breaking '95-'96 season of 181 days. The resort really caters to families and children with an array of ski programs and deals. Off the slopes families and kids can also enjoy ice skating, sleigh rides, marshmallow roasts, torchlight parades, and a visit to the Homestead Lodge for a barbeque. A new tubing park has been added this year. And Brule's Virtual Snow Report is one of the coolest things on the Internet.

Vertical Drop: 420 feet
Lifts: 7 chairs, 4 surface
Terrain: 20percent novice, 50percent intermediate, 30percent expert
Trails: 17
Cross Country: 23km
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(800) 362-7853
Website: http://www.skibrule.com

Mt. Zion - Ironwood
Run by the ski management school of Gogebic Community College.

Vertical Drop: 300 feet
Lifts: 1 chair, 1 surface
Terrain: 25percent novice, 50percent intermediate, 25percent expert
Cross Country: 3km
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(906) 932-3718
Website: http://www.gogebic.cc.mi.us

More Ski Areas

Al Quaal - Ishpeming - (906) 486-6181
Gladstone Sports Park - Gladstone -
(906) 428-9130


Northern Lower Peninsula

Boyne Highlands - Harbor Springs
Boyne Highlands is one of Michigan's best family resorts. The area is well-known for its excellent ski school and children's programs. The terrain is expansive, and the lift structure is one of the most efficient in the region. With three base lodges, plenty of ski in/ski out condos, and three hotels, the resort has plenty of capacity, and the outdoor swimming pools and hot tubs are a big favorite. Two new trails and a terrain park expansion will greet skiers this year.

Vertical Drop: 545 feet
Lifts: 8 chairs (including a high speed quad), 2 surface
Terrain: 37percent novice, 29percent intermediate, 31percent expert
Trails: 46
Cross Country: 25km
Snowboards: Terrain park and pipe
(800) GO-BOYNE
Website: http://www.boyne.com

Boyne Mountain - Boyne Falls
Boyne Mountain, the dean of Midwest ski resorts, was the first North American resort to install a six-seat chair lift, and it's where the triple and quad lifts were invented. Always known as a place with challenging and varied terrain, the Mountain also boasts a wide variety of lodging options, the Austrian/American ski school, and the best apres ski in the Midwest. Eight new trails near Disciple's Ridge, a new chair, and an expanded terrain park will enhance the fun this season.

Vertical Drop: 500 feet
Lifts:10 chairs (including a high-speed 6), 2 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 38percent intermediate, 29percent expert
Trails: 69
Cross Country: 35 km
Snowboards: Terrain park and pipe
(800) GO-BOYNE
Website: http://www.boyne.com

Crystal Mountain - Thompsonville
Crystal Mountain offers lodging for over 1,200 people, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and a myriad of skier services in the Crystal Center. But where the resort excels is in family skiing, with solid terrain choices and excellent programs. Crystal's Totem Park is designed exclusively for first-timers and beginners to improve their skiing and snowboarding skills. The resort also has one of the best cross country ski touring centers in Michigan. This winter the new Kinlochen Lodge will be open in the base village, and helmet rentals for children will be available.
Vertical Drop: 375 feet
Lifts: 6 chairs (including a high speed quad), 2 surface
Terrain:19percent novice, 51percent intermediate, 30percent expert
Trails: 34
Cross Country: 40+ km
Snowboards: Quarterpipe and 4 Parks
(800)968-4676, (800)YOUR-MTN
Website: http://www.crystalmountain.com

Caberfae Peaks - Cadillac
One of Michigan oldest resorts has undergone a transformation in recent years. The South Peak and North Peak developments have totally changed the skiing at Caberfae Peaks. The resort now boasts some of the biggest vertical drops and longest and best ski runs in the Midwest. Caberfae has also added a new rental building and a beautiful new day lodge, along with paved parking. This year the welcome area and second of the MacKenzie Lodge have received some renovations, and the Easy Street run has been widened by 50percent.

Vertical Drop: 485 feet
Lifts: 4 chairs, 2 surface
Terrain: 26percent novice, 43percent intermediate, 31percent expert.
Trails: 31
Cross Country: 15km
(231) 862-3000, (800) 968-7544
Website: http://www.caberfaepeaks.com

Hanson Hills - Grayling
Publicly owned and operated, Hanson Hills is really a winter sports park. The area offers alpine skiing and some of the best cross country skiing in the state. Hanson Hills hosts many Michigan Cup XC races.

Vertical Drop: 225 feet
Lifts: 1 t-bar, 3 surface
Terrain: 50percent novice, 50percent intermediate
Trails: 11
Cross Country: 35km
Snowboards: Terrain Park
(989) 348-9266
Website: http://www.hanhills.org

Nub's Nob - Harbor Springs
Nub's Nob is an excellent family ski area famous for its excellent snow, award winning day lodge, and superb cafeteria. This is a ski-only operation, with no lodging on site, but the varried terrain keeps skiers coming back. Readers of SKI Magazine have voted Nub's as the Number One resort in the Midwest the last two years. Trails face all directions of the compass and spill off two peaks, and spectacular vistas of Lake Michigan's Little Traverse Bay are a treat. The area has one of the best snowboard parks in the state, too. Widened beginner terrain off the Purple chair and a new halfpipe will greet skiers this year.

Vertical Drop: 427 feet
Lifts: 8 chairs
Terrain: 34percent novice, 49percent intermediate, 17percent expert
Trails: 41
Cross Country: 20km
Snowboards: Terrain Park and 2 Pipes
(231) 526-2131, (800) SKI-NUBS
Website: http://www.nubsnob.com

Otsego Ski Club - Gaylord
Opened in 1939, Otsego Club is America's oldest ski club with its own facility. The club is private, but the public is invited to ski the area at selected times of the winter. The ski facilities include 27 slopes, five chair lifts including a high-speed quad, two snowboardhalf-pipe parks, and miles of marked cross country ski trails. The club's elevation is the highest point in the famed Michigan Snow/Sun Belt, and assures exceptional skiing throughout the season.

Vertical Drop: 358 feet
Lifts: Five chairlifts, including a high-speed quad
Trails: 27
Cross Country: Yes
Snowboards: Terrain Parks, two halfpipes, numerous terrain features
(989) 732-5181
Website: http://www.otsegoclub.com

Shanty Creek - Bellaire
Shanty Creek is a four-season resort located on 4,500 acres. The complex includes two ski mountains and three villages, all tied together with a transit system. Skiers can ski both the Summit Slopes and the Schuss Slopes on one Superticket. The area also offers tubing, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and 30 km of the finest cross country skiing in Michigan. Shanty is famed for its restaurants and debuts the La Vigna Italian Bistro in Cedar River Village this season. A tubing run has also been added at the Summit Slopes.

Vertical Drop: 450 feet
Lifts: 7 chair, 4 surface
Terrain: 37percent novice, 30percent intermediate, 33percent expert
Trails: 46
Cross Country: 30km
Snowboards: 2 Parks and Pipe
(800) 678-4111
Website: http://www.shantycreek.com

Skyline - Grayling
Skyline has undergone a transformation thanks to new ownership. The venerable ski area has long been a favorite of families. The cozy lodge is always a fun place. The resort also has a wonderful golf course.

Vertical Drop: 210 feet
Lifts: 1 chair, 5 surface
Terrain: 15percent novice, 75percent intermediate, 10percent expert.
Trails: 14
Cross Country: 10km
Snowboards: Terrain Park
(989) 275-5445
Website: http://www.skylineski.com

The Homestead - Glen Arbor
The Homestead is unique because it rests on the western shores of Lake Michigan, overlooking the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The trails loom high over Lake Michigan and lead down to a charming Village and resort neighborhoods, all close to resort activities and amenities. Guest can also enjoy a snowshoe in the woods, savor fine dining, or travel to nearby villages and explore shops, galleries, museums and historical sites.

Vertical Drop: 375 feet feet
Lifts: 3 chairs, 2 surface
Trails: 13
Cross Country: 18km
Snowboards: Yes
(231) 334-5000
Website: http://www.thehomesteadresort.com

Treetops - Gaylord
Treetops Sylvan Resort, in the heart of Northern Michigan's snowbelt, is a perfect family getaway. Located outside "The Alpine Village" of Gaylord, Treetops has a hotel at the top of its ski hill and a good selection of condos. The ski trails wind their way through the majestic hardwood forests that cover the slopes while state-of-the-art snowmaking and grooming make skiing here a joy. The excellent ski school also is a favorite with kids and families.

Vertical Drop: 225 feet
Lifts: 4 chairs, 3 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 50percent intermediate, 20percent expert
Trails: 19
Cross Country: 20 km
Snowboards: Pipe
(888) TREETOPS, (517) 732-6711
Website: http://www.treetops.com

More Ski Areas
Hickory Hills - Traverse City -
(231) 947-8566
Mt. McSauba - Charlevoix -
(231) 547-3267


Central Lower Michigan

Apple Mountain - Freeland
Apple Mountain offers every skier and snowboarder - beginner to advanced - the opportunity to enjoy their favorite winter sport just a few miles from the heart of the tri-cities (Saginaw, Bay city, Midland). Race programs challenge skiers of all ages and levels. Apple Mountain has a quad chairlift, a snowboarding park with a half pipe, and 100percent snowmaking capabilities, lighting for night skiing and a warm cozy lounge.

Vertical Drop: 220 feet
Lifts:1 chair, 4 Surface)
Terrain: 40percent novice, 45percent intermediate, 20percent expert
Trails: 12
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(888) 781-6789
Website: http://www.applemountain.com

Snow Snake - Harrison
Snow Snake has carved out a reputation as a great place for families and students. The ski area packs a lot of fun into its 40 acres, everything from skiing and snowboarding to snow tubing. Excellent lift ticket and rental prices are a big plus for the area.
Vertical Drop: 210 feet
Lifts: 1 chair, 5 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 50percent intermediate, 20percent expert
Trails: 12
Cross Country: 10km
Snowboards: Terrain Park
(989) 539-6583
Website: http://www.snowsnake.net


Southwest Michigan

Bittersweet - Otsego
Southwest Michigan's Bittersweet is in the scenic Kalamazoo River Valley. Come and features the "SWEET EXPRESS" High Speed Detachable Quad chair lift, a first for SW Michigan. The Snowberry Ski Shop has a complete line of skis, boots, and poles as well as the latest in skiing apparel and accessories. The Winner's Circle Lounge is the place to go for food and drink.

Vertical Drop: 300 feet
Lifts: 7 chairs, 6 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 60percent intermediate, 10percent expert
Trails: 17
Snowboards: Terrain Park
(616) 694-2820, (616) 694-2032
Website: http://www.skibittersweet.com

Cannonsburg Ski Area - Cannonsburg<BR> Cannonsburg Ski Area, just north of Grand Rapids, offers slopes of great variety close to home. Continuous grooming and snowmaking assures every skier from the unsteadiest beginner to the advanced racer that the best snow conditions are always at Cannonsburg. With a quad, triple, and double chair, T-bar and rope tows, Cannonsburg has plenty of capacity to move skiers up the hill. The area also have a top-notch ski school and popular adult and junior racing programs.

Vertical Drop: 250 feet
Lifts: 3 chairs, 9 surface
Terrain: 40percent novice, 40percent intermediate, 20percent expert
Trails: 18
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(616) 874-6711, (616) 874-6728
Website: http://www.cannonsburg.com

Swiss Valley - Jones
Swiss Valley is close to the Indiana border, which explains why it's a popular destination for skier's from Indianapolis to Chicago. The area specializes in group outings, with an outstanding ski school and children's program. Swiss Valley is also home for one of the best freestyle training programs in the country, the Swiss Valley Extreme Team. With alpine themed buildings and a nifty mountain top restaurant, Swiss Valley has a lot to offer.

Vertical Drop: 225 feet
Lifts: 3 chairs, 4 surface
Terrain: 20percent novice, 60percent intermediate, 20percent expert
Trails:11
Snowboards: Park
(616) 244-5635, (616) 244-8016
Website: http://www.skiswissvalley.com

Timber Ridge - Kalamazoo
Timber Ridge has proudly offered skiing and snowboarding in southwest Michigan for the past 39 years. Special events, including Winterfest, Snowboard Competition, Mogul Challenge and Snowcross enhance every weekend in January and February. The trails cascade over beautifully wooded hills. The area also features the Snowshoe Bar with huge windows overlooking the slopes, and the Snowshoe Deli featuring specialty sandwiches, soups and beverages.

Vertical Drop: 240 feet
Lifts: 5 chairs, 5 surface
Terrain: 20percent novice, 70percent intermediate, 10percent expert
Trails: 15
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(616) 694-9449, (800) 285-6525
Website: http://www.timberridgeski.com


Southeast Michigan

Alpine Valley - White Lake
A short drive from Detroit or Ann Arbor brings you to the largest ski area in southern Michigan. This family-oriented ski area features 25 scenic slopes serviced by 10 chairlifts and 10 rope tows. And when you're ready to unwind after a fun-filled day or night of challenging snowy runs, you can relax in front of one of the many massive stone fireplaces in the spacious lodge, complete with two cafeterias and snack bars.

Vertical Drop: 300 feet
Lifts: 10 chairs, 10 surface
Terrain: 39percent novice, 26percent intermediate, 35percent expert
Trails: 25
Snowboards: Terrain park and pipe
(248) 887-2180, (248) 887-4183
Website: http://www.skialpinevalley.com

Mt. Brighton - Brighton
Mt. Brighton is one of the busiest ski areas in Michigan, a favorite with young and old alike. The area is popular with groups and does a great job with children, but that does not mean the adults are left out. Night skiing (as late as 2 A.M. on Saturday nights) and race programs are two staples on the Mt. Brighton menu. The area also boasts a massive lodge with good food and a fun atmosphere. This year the restaurant lounge has been renovated and is now a full scale sit down restaurant. The halfpipe has also been extended, and a VW Beetle has been added to the terrain park.

Vertical Drop: 250 feet
Lifts: 7 chairs, 11 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 40percent intermediate, 30percent expert
Trails: 26
Snowboards: Terrain Park and Pipe
(810) 229-9581
Website: http://www.mtbrighton.com</P>

Mt. Holly - Holly
Nestled in beautiful Groveland Valley, Mt. Holly is just one hour north of Detroit and 15 minutes south of Flint. The area offer slopes for the whole family, and uphill capacity that includes a high speed quad. Skier friendly Mt. Holly offers night skiing, complete snow making and grooming, and a friendly helpful staff. The sprawling lodge has some great dining spots, as well as the best apres ski decks in Michigan.

Vertical Drop: 350 feet
Lifts: 7 chairs, 6 surface
Terrain: 22percent novice, 39percent intermediate, 39percent expert
Trails: 18
Snowboards: Terrain Park
(248) 634-8260, (800) 582-7256
Website: http://www.skimtholly.com

Pine Knob - Clarkston
Pine Knob is close to Detroit, but has an "up north" feel. The slopes offer a lot of variety, including the double black "Wall." The day lodge is one of the classiest in Michigan, with huge windows overlooking the slopes. Beginners flock to the ski school each winter, and the Adult Racing League is one of the most active in the state.

Vertical Drop: 300 feet
Lifts: 5 chair, 5 surface
Terrain: 30percent novice, 35percent intermediate, 35percent expert
Trails: 15
Snowboards: Terrain Park
(248) 625-0800, (800) 642-SNOW
Web Site: http://www.skipineknob.com

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