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Best Michigan Area Skiing?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm 20, and I've been skiing in lower Michigan since I was 7 or 8. I usually go to Caberfae, it's only about half an hour away and their college discount is sweet, with the occasional weekend trip somewhere a little further away. Never out of the lower peninsula. I consider myself a pretty advanced skier... for where I've skied. There aren't really any runs I can't tackle at Caberfae, but those who have been there know that mastering Caberfae after 12 years of skiing isn't really much to brag about. I know full well that I'd get beat up pretty good in bigger and better places.

I'm looking for somewhere in the area that I can take a weekish long trip to. Looking for about a 1 day's drive from the Grand Rapids area of MI. Basically, I want the biggest and best I can get to in less than a day of driving. I know there's decent places up in the upper peninsula of MI or out east, but I have no idea where specifically.

A quick bit about me, for those interested, as I said I've been skiing since I was 7 or 8. I took a few years off from 11 to 13 when I fell and cracked my skull in 5 places. I've got three sets of skis in my quiver, my dad's old straight 190's (which are really fun to slide around on, I'm only 5'7" and about 150 pounds), a pair of old beat up Salomon X-Scream 9's, and a new addition this upcoming season, a pair of new Salomon 1080 Foils. I've been pretty much all downhill my whole life, but last season I started working on my freestyle and I'm planning on going big into it this season. Rails scare me to death though.

Thanks in advance!!
post #2 of 11
Hi Brady and welcome!

If you like Caberfae as opposed to Crystal, I'm sure you would like Nubs Nob too. A little farther away and a little bigger. Similar no frills atmosphere.... at least last time I visited five years ago or so.

As far as the UP, I've only been to one area, Mt. Bohemia. I really love that place. It's definitely no frills, with no snow making or grooming and no beginner runs. Really good tree skiing and interesting runs... lots of big rocks to jump off of as well as rollers and such. Way different than the wide groomed boulevard runs at most of the places in our fine state. On the down side it's a long way from anything... and it's only about 900 feet of vertical. With a little more drive time you can get to Vermont.

Other places to consider would be Searchmont... sorry couldn't find their site ..., Ontario, a few hours north of Sault Ste. Marie and Blue Mtn. Ontario, a few hours north of Toronto.

I'm sure other Bears can recommend hills I haven't been to.
post #3 of 11
Welcome Brady, you will find lots of Michigan skiers here. I have to second Nub's as one of the best places in MI.

In the southwest corner of the UP the Bessemer area there are 4 pretty nice resorts all within about 30 minutes of each other. Big Powderhorn, Mt. Blackjack, Indianhead, and just into Wisconsin is Whitecap.

It can make a nice trip trying out all the different resorts there along with Mt. Bohemia and Mt. Marquette you could pretty well fill a week. I think the resorts in the Bessemer area still offer some nice promotional deals on lift tickets.

Keep in touch and we'll hook up at Caberfae or Crystal this winter.
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brady View Post
I'm looking for somewhere in the area that I can take a weekish long trip to. Looking for about a 1 day's drive from the Grand Rapids area of MI. Basically, I want the biggest and best I can get to in less than a day of driving.
How long is a day's drive for you?

By "somewhere in the area" do you mean you want to stay in the midwest? You can get to some of the biggest and best of the east in a day's drive.

I live in the Detroit suburbs and take a couple car trips to Vermont each winter. It's roughly 12 hours, depending on weather and specific destination. Most of the time I do it in one day. From Grand Rapids, add about 2 hours, I'm guessing (cross at Port Huron/Sarnia). To get to southern or central Vermont, I pass through Ontario for the Detroit <-> Buffalo leg, then a long stretch through New York, stay south of the Adirondacks and Lake George, then it's Vermont. For northern Vermont I'd guess it might be better to stay in Canada through Toronto and stay north of Lake Ontario. I'm thinking of going to Whiteface in the Adirondacks for something different this year. I mapped it out at about 10 hours for me, staying north of Lake Ontario (12 for you, maybe?).

When I hear "a weekish long trip" I think of several possibilities:

(1) Go to a single destination resort that can hold you interest for the entire week, and stay close to it.
(2) Go somewhere within daily striking distance of several places and pick and choose at whim.
(3) Stay somewhere along the way (maybe not a biggest and best) to your main destination as a way station, as long as you don't mind relocating over the course of the week and driving in the evening or night after a day on the slopes. (Example: from Grand Rapids drive maybe 8 hours to Bristol Moutain, south of Rochester. Slide for a day or two. In the evening drive on to, say, Gore or Whiteface in New York. Or stay overnight somewhere like Glens Falls, NY, or Rutland, VT, which puts you in strking distance the next morning of central Vermont. Enjoy at leisure. Come straight home or stop somewhere along the way. Trips like this can either be loads of fun or utter hell.)

I don't want to sound like a Vermont or east coast fanboy, but if you really are talking a week's trip, I wonder if the smaller areas mentioned in this thread will hold your interest for that many days (unless you do a trip bouncing around trying all of them).

I agree that there are many fine things to do and see in Michigan (and the midwest in general). One thing that's interesting to me though, as someone not from here originally, is the strong "up north" pull. Folks seem to think nothing of driving 5-10 hours from southern Michigan to their cottages or whatnot "up north." Yet they think I'm crazy (or some exotic) for driving the same distance "back east."

(It's true that I see few Michigan plates on cars when I go to Vermont. However, I actually saw lots of Michigan plates a few winters back in Crested Butte, Colorado, but I think there's a story behind that one. Bumpfreaq -- I know you have a lot more experience in Colorado than I do. Have you done the drive? Spotted many Michigan plates there?)
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Matola View Post
How long is a day's drive for you?

By "somewhere in the area" do you mean you want to stay in the midwest? You can get to some of the biggest and best of the east in a day's drive.

I live in the Detroit suburbs and take a couple car trips to Vermont each winter. It's roughly 12 hours, depending on weather and specific destination. Most of the time I do it in one day. From Grand Rapids, add about 2 hours, I'm guessing (cross at Port Huron/Sarnia). To get to southern or central Vermont, I pass through Ontario for the Detroit <-> Buffalo leg, then a long stretch through New York, stay south of the Adirondacks and Lake George, then it's Vermont. For northern Vermont I'd guess it might be better to stay in Canada through Toronto and stay north of Lake Ontario. I'm thinking of going to Whiteface in the Adirondacks for something different this year. I mapped it out at about 10 hours for me, staying north of Lake Ontario (12 for you, maybe?).

When I hear "a weekish long trip" I think of several possibilities:

(1) Go to a single destination resort that can hold you interest for the entire week, and stay close to it.
(2) Go somewhere within daily striking distance of several places and pick and choose at whim.
(3) Stay somewhere along the way (maybe not a biggest and best) to your main destination as a way station, as long as you don't mind relocating over the course of the week and driving in the evening or night after a day on the slopes. (Example: from Grand Rapids drive maybe 8 hours to Bristol Moutain, south of Rochester. Slide for a day or two. In the evening drive on to, say, Gore or Whiteface in New York. Or stay overnight somewhere like Glens Falls, NY, or Rutland, VT, which puts you in strking distance the next morning of central Vermont. Enjoy at leisure. Come straight home or stop somewhere along the way. Trips like this can either be loads of fun or utter hell.)

I don't want to sound like a Vermont or east coast fanboy, but if you really are talking a week's trip, I wonder if the smaller areas mentioned in this thread will hold your interest for that many days (unless you do a trip bouncing around trying all of them).

I agree that there are many fine things to do and see in Michigan (and the midwest in general). One thing that's interesting to me though, as someone not from here originally, is the strong "up north" pull. Folks seem to think nothing of driving 5-10 hours from southern Michigan to their cottages or whatnot "up north." Yet they think I'm crazy (or some exotic) for driving the same distance "back east."

(It's true that I see few Michigan plates on cars when I go to Vermont. However, I actually saw lots of Michigan plates a few winters back in Crested Butte, Colorado, but I think there's a story behind that one. Bumpfreaq -- I know you have a lot more experience in Colorado than I do. Have you done the drive? Spotted many Michigan plates there?)
This is good advice. I grew up outside Detroit and did the 12 hour Vermont drive a few times. Sure beats driving to the UP or even Traverse. From GR, however, you're looking at 14 - 16 hours to Vermont.

Likewise, since you're in GR, it's only 15-17 hours to Denver from there. I visited family this summer in GR and it was an easy 16 hour drive with a stop in either IA or NE.

Of course, this all depends on your definition of a "day's drive." Frankly, I'd go insane if I had to spend more than 4 hours at a MI ski hill let a lone an entire week. So, I learned a day is rather long and I could drive far in all that time.

cheers
post #6 of 11
Holiday Valley, in Ellicottville, NY beats almost everything in Michigan except Mt. Bohemia (so I've heard).

I'd love to try Searchmont sometime, but it looks kind of small on the trailmap. I second that Blue Mt. north of Toronto may also be a good place to try.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michigander View Post
Holiday Valley, in Ellicottville, NY beats almost everything in Michigan except Mt. Bohemia (so I've heard).
These things are just a matter of preference, I know, but I like Bristol Mountain, southeast of Rochester, near Lake Canandaigua, even better. Getting there takes about 1/2 hour longer than Holiday Valley, when coming from Michigan.

(I've never been to Mt. Bohemia or any of the other UP resorts.)
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Matola View Post

(It's true that I see few Michigan plates on cars when I go to Vermont. However, I actually saw lots of Michigan plates a few winters back in Crested Butte, Colorado, but I think there's a story behind that one. Bumpfreaq -- I know you have a lot more experience in Colorado than I do. Have you done the drive? Spotted many Michigan plates there?)
Yup, I do the drive regularly. It's easy/boring until you get west of Denver. I see some MI plate but not that many. I met one guy just because we both noticed each others' MI plates and now we ski together quite a bit.

Good points about maybe venturing further for a week vacation. In my previous post I was just trying to answer the OP's question, but if it were me going for a week I suppose I would wait as long as possible then choose between VT and CO based on conditions.
post #9 of 11
The answer is obvious....none!
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by apeyros View Post
The answer is obvious....none!

C'mon man, sliding down a hill is big fun... even if the hill is small. I surely prefer CO, VT, UT or many spots I've not yet made it to but damn....

I would offer that the skiers who get big kicks out of sliding the small stuff are just as 'core, if not more so, than the big mountain shredders.
post #11 of 11
Learned to ski in MI and still enjoy it.... I would much rather be rockn CO or UT every weekend, but it's not in the cards...

to answer the original question.. Petoskey wouldn;t be a bad idea for a small getaway. You drive would be short from GR, you have 3 hills to ski (Boyne Mountain, Highlands and Nub's) also there are some nice bars and resturaunts in Petoskey. As well as the Casino, which is brand new...

my 2 cents...
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