Guide to Michigan’s Winter Wonderland
Skiing and Snowboarding in Michigan
Many Michiganders may cringe at the first sight of snow, but surely there are others that cannot wait to make the first tracks. Average snowfall in Michigan can range from 50 inches near the southern parts or over 110 inches in the northwestern parts due to our famous “lake effect.” That is a ton of snow for winter sport enthusiasts to enjoy!
Winter recreation isn’t just fun for Michiganders; it is also very profitable for the state’s economy. According to statistics from Pure Michigan, there are about 50 ski areas, 40 terrain parks and slopes, and more than 6,500 miles of interconnected snowmobile trails. This all brings in a cool $2.5 billion dollars per year. So where are all these trails and slopes?
Pine Knob, located in Clarkston, is adjacent to DTE Energy Music Theatre. For Metro-Detroiters, Pine Knob is a very close and convenient ski and snowboard slope. Even when snow is lacking in Metro-Detroit, Pine Knob has a well trained snow-making staff that constantly monitors the process to ensure that the slopes are both safe and always ready to use. Pine Knob is about 300 feet vertical with a total of 17 runs, giving you plenty of room to race around!
Mount Brighton opened in 1960 and quickly became a hot-spot for southeastern Michigan families who enjoy winter recreation. Mount Brighton has 26 trails ranging from beginner to experienced, five lifts, and covers over 130 acres. Mount Brighton has just recently made $10 million in improvements for the 2013-2014 season which includes new base facilities, learning areas for children, new terrain parks and a state-of-the-art snow-making machine that has tripled the production of snow over the previous setup.
Alpine Valley, located near White Lake, is known among people as the most scenic ski area in all of southern Michigan. Alpine Valley has 25 tree-lined slopes, 9 chairlifts, 4 rope tows and a magic carpet. They have just recently expanded their snow-making capabilities and terrain parks to ensure optimal snow conditions!
Mount Bohemia is located in the Upper Peninsula and has some of the longest runs with the highest vertical hills in the Midwest. Mount Bohemia is considered a hidden gem for many skiers and snowboarders from Michigan and other neighboring states. People say that what makes Mount Bohemia so special is the “lake effect.” Due to this, the average snowfall in the Keweenaw Peninsula is 273 inches of dry and powdery snow, perfect for skiers and snowboarders. Since so much fresh snow is available, the staff at Mount Bohemia does not have to make or groom their snow! This means that the slopes will be naturally flawless as soon as they open in the morning. Of course here comes the catch: no beginners allowed! Mount Bohemia contains very complex slopes with a 900 foot vertical drop, over 500 acres and a whopping 94 runs!
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands are two favorites located in “up north” Michigan. Boyne Highlands offers hotel rooms, separate cottages and one of the longest ski runs in the Lower Peninsula, which is over a mile long. This ski resort is a great winter lodge getaway with many scenic runs and other amenities. Boyne Mountain is the larger of the two resorts featuring a luxury winter resort experience. Visit their hotel spa, indoor water park or enjoy some shopping when you are away from the slopes. Boyne Mountain has something for every level of skier or snowboarder and for those looking to enjoy new challenges with over 50 different runs. They also have a terrain park and half pipe, which was built to host the Burton Am tour.