In the Michigan region there are almost 50 ski areas with more than 240 lifts and around 1,000 runs with an excess of 80 terrain parks. You don’t have to travel to the mountains of Colorado or Utah to get your ski fix on, if you live in the Great Lakes region.
This means the region is positively overflowing with opportunities for skiers and snowboarders to test themselves on the slopes while having fun on the runs. Michigan offers a wide range of options, from gentle, groomed runs to untamed backcountry hills. As we have noted in the past, sometimes you can actually get more skiing in if you are 20 minutes from a smaller ski hill, than if you try to fly to a major ski resort. Plus, some of the ski areas in Michigan offer several hundred acres of skiing and plenty of vertical to improve your skills.
Here are some of the best:
Located at Lac La Belle, Mt. Bohemia is a remote resort that attracts accolades from the experts for its ungroomed terrain, including the highest vertical drop in the Midwest at 900ft, the deepest powder with around 275 in. of snowfall each year, and the longest run in the state – the 9,200ft Ghost Trail.
There are 585 skiable acres and 108 runs here. Of these, 11% are expert rated, 88% advanced and only 1% intermediate. The numerous unique runs include the Flying Squirrel, which features a 41 degree, 900ft vertical run. A series of gladed trails that is called the Backcountry is rated as worthy of triple black diamonds.
The Mt Bohemia’s Voodoo Mountain section measures 200 acres and provides snowcat skiing. The 17 skiers a day are transported by snowcat to the summit where they can experience 12 runs winding through hardwood and pine forests as well as open areas that feature stunning views of Lake Superior.
Mount Bohemia is in Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula (about 39 miles north of Houghton/Hancock).
Big Snow Resort
Big Snow Resort is made up of Wakefield’s Indianhead Mountain and Bessemer’s Blackjack Resort. Together these popular established resorts offer skiers access at a single price with shuttles in between.
Indianhead scores highly with aficionados for its 230 skiable acres, 638ft vertical drop and 30 runs along with its terrain park.
Blackjack competes with a 490ft drop, two terrain parks, 170 skiable acres, 26 runs and expert-level glade trails.
Since combining these resorts have enjoyed significant new investment and many upgrades which the managers insist have made for a much more diverse getaway experience.
Big Snow Resort is located at 500 Indianhead Rd., Wakefield, MI 49968
Ski Brule in Iron River
Ski Brule, which has been named by some as Best Overall Resort in the Midwest by some outlets, bills itself as family friendly. Among its stand out features are a 500ft vertical drop, 150 skiable acres, 11 lifts and 17 runs. According to our research, its vertical drop is 2nd in the Midwest, only behind Lutsen in Minnesota. In addition, the resort has three terrain parks plus a tubing park. With advanced snowmaking technology Ski Brule is able to generate enough snow in 24 hours to open a trail. For experts, there are two wooded trails and the longest run there is 5,300ft. Ski Brule boasts best snow in the Midwest.
Ski Brule is located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, just over the Wisconsin/Michigan border.
For more than 50 years Big Powerhorn has been providing some of Michigan’s top forest and terrain views.
Its 300+ Bavarian-style chalets give the resort a rustic feel, but these have modern amenities and allow quick access to the slopes.
There are 253 acres of terrain, the vertical drop measures 622ft, there are 33 runs and 11 lifts. The longest run measures 5,280 feet. Its signature run is called the Cannonball. And the resort is proud to advertise it has an adventure to suit every level of ski ability. Of the runs, 35% are for novices, 35% are more difficult, and 30% are for the experts.
The philosophy here is that the commitment to excellence doesn’t stop on the slopes. The management prides itself on great customer service, good food, an ‘outstanding’ snow sports school and helpful, professional staff.
Big Powerhorn is found at Snow Strasse Ln, Ironwood, MI 49938.
Boyne Resorts is made up of two locations around 30 miles apart. They are Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands.
It is almost impossible to summarize everything the Boynes have to offer. The two resorts together represent the biggest ski resort in Michigan and as a result they have a wealth of activities to offer. Plus, Boyne is a large ski operator that offers the ability to go to some pretty cool ski areas on the same pass — one of them being Big Ski in Montana, one of the best ski resorts in the world and one that is also operated by Boyne.
Of the two, the Boyne Highlands slopes are slightly bigger, with 435 skiable acres compares with Boyne Mountain’s 415 skiable acres. In addition, Boyne Highlands has the Lower Peninsula’s highest 552ft vertical. However, Boyne Mountain is able to offer more nightlife. Boyne Highlands, on the other hand, offers a lower-key and more relaxed feel.
Both resorts have winter offerings that include winter horseback trail riding, zip-lining, tubing, snow biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Boyne Mountain also offers Avalanche Bay, Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark with a capacity of 88,000 sq. feet, as well as the largest spa facility at 19,500 square feet. Together, the two resorts feature 115 runs, eight terrain parks and 18 lifts.
Boyne Highlands in located at 600 Highland Drive, Harbor Springs, MI 49740, while Boyne Mountain is at 1 Boyne Mountain Rd, Boyne Falls, MI 49713.
Don’t underestimate skiing in Michigan. Especially as you get to the Northern part of the state, there is some excellent skiing and the prices are right, when you compare to places like Vail, Whistler, or Utah. Many great skiers over the years have been made in Michigan.
Paul Miller is the Founder of Family Skier. He is an advanced skier and has extensive experience with family travel and ski schools. An accomplished skier, he has skied in 15 states and provinces and 6 countries. In addition to FamilySkier, his writing can be found on many ski-related websites, and as curriculum for many ski clubs in North America.