Michigan Ski Resorts: Find the Right Destination
Michigan ski resorts are easily divided into two different areas. There’s the northern half of the Lower Peninsula (L-P), and the western portion of the Upper Peninsula (U-P). There are ten major ski areas and over thirty smaller ones that are local favorites. The following is a list of the eight most popular Michigan ski resorts, starting with the U-P, and including a short summary of each resort.
Michigan Ski Resorts
- Blackjack Ski Resort
- Indianhead Mountain Resort
- Ski Brule
- Big Powderhorn Mountain
- Boyne Highlands
- Boyne Mountain
- Shanty Creek
- Crystal Mountain
Blackjack Ski Resort
Blackjack Ski Resort is located in the western U-P close to the Michigan and Wisconsin border. This area is known as the Lake SU-Perior Snowbelt and receives a huge amount of precipitation because of the lake-effect snow. Blackjack has 19 trails over 101 acres with a vertical of 465 feet. The ski area is mainly focused on steeps, but has a terrain park with a dedicated half-pipe near the main lodge. Four double chair lifts ferry skiers to the top while two rope tows service the terrain park.
Indianhead Mountain Resort
Indianhead is located just a short distance from Blackjack. The resort has a vertical of 638 feet with 30 trails on 230 acres. Compared to most Michigan ski resorts, this one has an upside-down design with the main lodge located at the peak. There are a large number of steeps and glades with seven lifts running skiers from the base back to the peak. Indianhead is also in the Lake SU-Perior Snowbelt, but if Mother Nature fails to cooperate, over 95 percent of the resort has snowmaking capabilities. The largest trail, Voyagers’ Highway stretches over 40 acres, and is over one mile in length.
Brule is located in the western part of U-P, just southwest of Iron River. Seven quad lifts provide coverage to 16 trails and 3 terrain parks. From the peak, two gentle novice trails run the edge of the mountain, with two expert steeps and one double-black diamond glade that winds down to the right edge of the resort. Among the Michigan ski resorts, this one is known for being family-friendly and for its free Learn to Ride program for first-time skiers. If you’re looking for early skiing, Brule has promised since its inception that it would be the first resort to open, a promise that comes with advanced snowmaking infrastructure.
Big Powderhorn Mountain
Big Powderhorn sits on the edge of the Ottawa National Forest in western U-P. This resort covers 253 acres with snowmaking over 228 acres. Ten lifts provide access to 33 runs and 2 terrain parks. The mountain features a 600-foot vertical drop, and every run takes advantage of them. No matter what your ability level on skis, Big Powderhorn has a run that will challenge and thrill you.
Boyne Highlands has the highest vertical for any of the Michigan ski resorts in the Lower Peninsula, measuring 552 feet. The ski resort has 55 runs with a difficulty mix of 35 percent beginner, 29 percent intermediate, 35 percent advanced, and a single double black diamond run. Boyne Highlands also features nighttime skiing with over 150 acres lit for your enjoyment. The resort has over 435 acres of skiing with snow coverage on 400 of them. With two peaks to take advantage of, there are numerous steeps, glades and runs for skiers
Boyne Mountain is located in the northern part of the L-P, just west of Boyne Falls and is the sister resort to Boyne Highlands. Boyne Mountain has 415 acres with 380 acres covered by snowmaking. There are seven terrain parks with a featured Burton Riglet Park. There are 12 total lifts, with one six-seater, four quad chairs, three triples, two doubles, and two rope pulls, leading to 60 total runs. There are over 33 beginner runs, making Boyne Mountain the easiest mountain in the L-P to ski. Like the Highlands, the Mountain offers night skiing, with over 200 acres lit for after-hours enjoyment.
Shanty Creek is located on Schuss Mountain, with the resort stretching across two mountains. Summit Mountain has two lifts that ferry skiers to eleven trails and a terrain park. Schuss Mountain has two different faces with three terrain parks and five quad chairs taking skiers to 41 trails. Most of the trails are wide-open cruisers, but tree-lined runs can be found on the north face and on the edges of the east face. The park covers 70 acres in total with full snowmaking coverage and full night skiing. The mountain has a 675-foot vertical and receives about 180 inches of snow annually.
Located just minutes from the shore of Lake Michigan, Crystal Mountain is located in Michigan legacy Art Park, near Thompsonville. The ski area has a gentle 375-foot vertical drop with 50 runs laid out on 85 acres over three separate peaks. Crystal Mountain has night skiing with 56 acres lit, and has over 98 percent snowmaking coverage. For freestyle skiers and snowboarders, there are five terrain parks, serviced by six chair lifts and two carpet lifts. Crystal Mountain is a family operated resort with a huge resort center at the base to meet all the needs you might ask for from Michigan ski resorts.