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Calling all Michiganders!!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hey guys thanks for having and providing this awesome website for those of us just starting out -  its good to know information is available for those of us willing to do the homework

I plan on buying a season pass for this season and can't decide on which resort to go for. I recently moved to Plymouth MI, having lived in Ann Arbor for 20+ years, I know that all the snow is up north in the Petosky area ranging from Nubs, Boyne, Treetops , Caberfae, Crystal and others. I dont mind the commute since it takes me roughly 4hrs to get to the U.P. so, weekend trips are the way to go. I have friends in Cadillac and Manistee which I plan on visting=] so Crystal Mtn is a definite possibility.

Of course there are the locals, (Brighton, Mt Holly, Alpine Valley, and Pine Knob) but I haven't heard good things about them - not bad reviews just not good enough reviews for me to justify getting a season pass.

That being said, I hope to have an amazing winter and hope to make some friends here who share the same passion!

-Regards
post #2 of 27
Welcome to skiing in Michigan.  For my money Caberfae is about the best value, convenience and quality.  The lodge is retro and they don't do the best job of managing snow or crowds but it works for me.

I'm just over an hour away from Caberfae, almost 3 to Nub's and Highlands.

My winter plan is a pass at Caberfae, a Colorado pass, and a few weekend trips to Petosky to ski at Nub's.
post #3 of 27
I grew up in Mt. Pleasant and would almost always end up at Caberfae for the same reasons pedalbiker already mentioned.  Cabefae would also be convenient to your friends in Cadillac and Manistee.

If you are used to driving up to the UP, and you are feeling saucy towards the end of the year, maybe you could make a weekend trip up to Searchmont (about 30min. NE of Sault Ste Marie).  They have about 1.5 times the vertical of anything in MI and its a pretty drive after you cross the bridge.  Or you could just say screw it and fly out to the Rockies!
post #4 of 27
 Welcome to EpicSki Doidosso!!

Its good to have another MIchigander around!

I live in Cadillac which is 20 min away from Caberfae and 40 min away from Crystal Mountain.  We tend to get a season pass for Crystal Mountain because its a great meeting point for me and my family, which is located a bit further north and comes from the other direction to meet at Crystal.
While Crystal  has a resort feel, Caberfae has a great rawr vibe.
You have missed the window of opportunity to get the best deal on the Crystal pass but Caberfae is just starting to sell theirs at the hot rate!

As Pedalbiker says, Caberfae doesn't have the best snow management, but they make up for it in other ways, which include an amazing season pass price......http://caberfaepeaks.com/

I'll be spending time at both resorts this year.  Hope to see you there.
post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks Trekchick=] Michigan is definately a place that many people should get to know and I feel like these days its been getting a bad rep for reasons that I cant seem to wrap my head around..

I looked into Crystal Mtn and apparaently the deadline for the deal on the pass has expired like you said (Oct 1) but just for kicks I tried to buy it anyways and it went through to the last screen right before confirming my order. I wonder if it is a bug in the code..If not maybe they are giving some extra time for lack meeting a quota?? In any event I'd rather buy one there if it outweighs Caberfae -If not, I will go ahead and get the pass for Caberfae and make it a weekend trip for me this season. Also, I really enjoyed Treetops's hospitality and staff when I stayed there for a week last February, I will be stopping there form time to time as well=]

Quote:
 
Caberfae has a great rawr vibe.

Does this include overwhelming crud on piste? I really like the corduroy and maybe I just need to wake up earlier to get first dibs...

See you around!
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hey champagne, Searchmont is definitely on the radar since I plan at least one ski trip in the UP, and vertical is always welcome After my recent trip to Valle Nevado I haven't been able to describe the tenacity of descending at such high altitudes which has led me to think about a week in Utah and all of its glory. Maybe its this months issue of SKI mag, but I never knew Utah has so many top rated resorts and the Rockies as a backdrop, well, that just speaks for itself.

Thanks for the tip and I will see you around the forums
post #7 of 27
Welcome doidasso!

I agree with the advice you've gotten so far.  As for skiing in the SE, I find Mt. Holly and Alpine Valley worth hitting up when I have a few hours to spare in the morning or evening.  I hope to get some days in at both this year.  I'll probably pop up to Crystal and the Mighty C a time or two as well.  I won't argue with the peeps who say that Nubs is the best and worth the extra drive but I haven't made it up there in a few years now.

Hope to see you out there!
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by doidasso View Post

Hey champagne, Searchmont is definitely on the radar since I plan at least one ski trip in the UP, and vertical is always welcomeAfter my recent trip to Valle Nevado I haven't been able to describe the tenacity of descending at such high altitudes which has led me to think about a week in Utah and all of its glory. Maybe its this months issue of SKI mag, but I never knew Utah has so many top rated resorts and the Rockies as a backdrop, well, that just speaks for itself.

Thanks for the tip and I will see you around the forums

 
Valle Nevado?  Did you happen to meet our friend Finndog!?

I'm soooooo jealous!!!
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
It was great - I got 3 out of 5 bluebird days and got to check out some other resorts like El Colorado and Farellones. Maybe next time Portillo will be awesome to check out..Just have to find some people to go ..

Finndog, I take it he was there? I was there from July 19-25 - Is he from Finland? If so, 'Sisu' to you man! - if not, well, Sisu anyways! We could all use a little

Im definitely going to try and make it back there and take the gf to see it. The food is AMAZING especially if you like fish. I drank a lot of wine in a couple of the vineyards in the outskirts of Santiago (mind you I don't normally drink wine but became a fan after trying some of the local blends) . The people are pretty cool, and the weather is a lot like the UP here in Michigan but not so much lake effect snow. The city was very modern and clean, but the road to the top of the mtn was an adventure all in its own. Hairpin turns that had one-way traffic preference and heavy-duty chains on the tires were a must if you did not know the road.

All in to me it was everything I thought it would be and then some more! The only thing I would recommend is if you are going there just to ski, I would recommend staying at base elevation in one of the resort hotels. The trip up and down the mtn is not worth it because you lose a lot of time getting up there and back down (2 hrs up and 2hrs down) cutting into your day. I would also make sure you have a good driver who knows the trail well, because on our first day our driver decided the conditions were too risky and turned back around and we had to find another one and we lost pretty much the whole day... I wasn't used to the altitude either so - vertigo goes without saying

Maybe I'll write up a review later on.. See ya
post #10 of 27
I know there's a great tradition in Michigan of going north, but from southeastern Michigan, don't discount going east.

 

If memory serves me, Holiday Valley and Bristol Mountain in western New York are about 5.5 and 6.5 hours away, respectively. Vermont resorts are in the 12 hour or so range.

 

I'm in the Detroit suburbs, and this year I have a season pass to Whiteface, in the Adirondacks, which is about 10 hours away.

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 
Holiday Valley and Bristol Mountain in western New York are about 5.5
Yeah, my bootfitter actually recommended Holiday Valley and invited me to go this season.. Do you cut through Canada and then just cross over in NY?
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by doidasso View Post
 Do you cut through Canada and then just cross over in NY?

Yep. Takes awhile longer to go around to the south of Lake Erie, so cutting through Canada is the key. For Holiday Valley it's generally quickest to cross the border at the southernmost crossing at Buffalo. For Bristol, onward to VT, etc. the northernmost crossing at Lewiston works best. Note that in the past year or so some expressways finally got connected around Hamilton, Ontario, allowing you to bypass the city and the big bridge, and shave a few minutes off the trip. 
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Strange, i did a quick map route on a couple of different sites and they all tell me to go around the southern side of lake Erie.. The difference being 5- 10 mins faster.. Oh well i guess i must live right at the midway point.. Thanks for the info on the construction - can't see those on the map=]
post #14 of 27
Here are a few Threads recapping Finns adventure(s)
Hola! Greetings from Valle nevado
Much thanks to Dan for his clinic!
Dan Egan and Katie hucking a 20 footer
Eric Lipton rippin a chute video

Quote:
Originally Posted by doidasso View Post

It was great - I got 3 out of 5 bluebird days and got to check out some other resorts like El Colorado and Farellones. Maybe next time Portillo will be awesome to check out..Just have to find some people to go ..

Finndog, I take it he was there? I was there from July 19-25 - Is he from Finland? If so, 'Sisu' to you man! - if not, well, Sisu anyways! We could all use a little

Im definitely going to try and make it back there and take the gf to see it. The food is AMAZING especially if you like fish. I drank a lot of wine in a couple of the vineyards in the outskirts of Santiago (mind you I don't normally drink wine but became a fan after trying some of the local blends) . The people are pretty cool, and the weather is a lot like the UP here in Michigan but not so much lake effect snow. The city was very modern and clean, but the road to the top of the mtn was an adventure all in its own. Hairpin turns that had one-way traffic preference and heavy-duty chains on the tires were a must if you did not know the road.

All in to me it was everything I thought it would be and then some more! The only thing I would recommend is if you are going there just to ski, I would recommend staying at base elevation in one of the resort hotels. The trip up and down the mtn is not worth it because you lose a lot of time getting up there and back down (2 hrs up and 2hrs down) cutting into your day. I would also make sure you have a good driver who knows the trail well, because on our first day our driver decided the conditions were too risky and turned back around and we had to find another one and we lost pretty much the whole day... I wasn't used to the altitude either so - vertigo goes without saying

Maybe I'll write up a review later on.. See ya



 
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by doidasso View Post

Strange, i did a quick map route on a couple of different sites and they all tell me to go around the southern side of lake Erie.. The difference being 5- 10 mins faster.. Oh well i guess i must live right at the midway point.. Thanks for the info on the construction - can't see those on the map=]
 


Yeah, from Plymouth to Holiday Valley I can see it getting mapped to the south of Lake Erie.


There a couple factors at play for my seemingly odd preference for going through Canada to which I should confess.


(1) Different starting points in southeastern Michigan. Although in the past I've started such trips from Ann Arbor or Northville, I currently live in Royal Oak, which is going to tip towards the north-of-Lake-Erie route. For me, the eternal debate is whether to cross at Port Huron/Sarnia or Detroit/Windsor, not which way around the lake.


(2) Slightly different destination. I have relatives just north of Buffalo, and I tend to crash with them the first night of a weekend trip, so that tips towards the north-of-Lake-Erie route.


(3) Slightly different destination. I have a marked preference for Bristol over Holiday Valley. If you map Plymouth to Bristol (using "South Bristol, NY" for the resort) Google maps defaults to the north-of-Lake-Erie even for Plymouth. (I tend to stay in Victor, NY, when going to Bristol, which, again, tips to the northern route.)


(4) My somewhat irrational avoidance of certain roads, and the entire state of Ohio, when possible. I have relatives, whom I visit with some frequency, in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. So I drive that Toledo <-> Cleveland stretch of the Ohio turnpike often enough that I tend to want to avoid it when possible. The drive through southern Ontario is just about equally mind-numbing, but at least some signs are in French and I can occupy my mind with the question of how many demerits one gets for various infractions. Also, route I-90 from Cleveland to Buffalo can be subject to lake-effect snow. This can be a good thing for Holiday Valley, but it can make getting there from the west a pain. Using the north-of-Lake-Erie route, you're  in the general lake-effect zone for just the last hour. Using the south-of-Lake-Erie route, you could be in lake-effect snow for 2-3 hours. I swear the only time I've passed Erie, PA, on I-90 not in a blizzard or ice storm has been in July. So check the weather forecast.


Didn't check all online maps, but Google maps, at least, takes the "new way" around Hamilton.
 

post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Yeah I think Ill take the Canadian route..Every time Ive been to Toronto I've enjoyed the relaxed speed limit laws and the lake effect you speak of is crucial for me since I don't own a 4X4 ..yet..

Ohio = forget about it. Can't stand the smell of the factories..  Bristol, hmmm....  will have to look into that one, although I can't imagine I will be driving that far every weekend.. Although maybe for a week-long trip?

Royal Oak heh? I might see you at Alpine Valley if ever go there... Do you know anything about comparing Alpine to Pine-knob? Those two seem to be the  closest to where I live.. Im pretty sure Caberfae will be a pass I can't 'pass' up just for the deal, but it would be cool to have a closer place to drive to...
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hey Trekkie - live long and prosper with those awesome pictures of VN I wish I could post some up here, except I committed a crime, my mistake was thinking that I could get away with storing my camera in my breast pocket of my coat - wrong... The minute i decided to take a pommel lift (at Farellones) My posture for climbing the slope 'induced' a squeezing of my awesome pectoral muscles and making the camera slip out of my half-unzipped pocket.. I lost about 4 gigs of pictures and video and cannot explain in words the level of madness and frustration I was experiencing...

The memories are all in my head though, and the 26th slide in the link you posted was definitely a piste that I thought was awesome and had a challenging incline for my experience level. I really wished I had hired a local guide as well since the mtn was so HUGE and the lack of marking between dif leveled-pistes got pretty confusing but only on the first time around.. Finndog really hit the nail on the head when he said its like a lunar escape, because without trees you feel desolate and alone..

Even through the mishaps Valle is a trip that you must take and I have nothing but the utmost respect for such a beautiful and majestic place!!
post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
Btw - the only picture I was able to salvage form VN is my profile pic, that I decided to upload onto Facebook the night before I lost the camera... It was really late and I wanted to get enough sleep for a full day at the park so I didnt dump them into a flash drive (vacation tip #212)
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by doidasso View Post

Royal Oak heh? I might see you at Alpine Valley if ever go there... Do you know anything about comparing Alpine to Pine-knob? Those two seem to be the  closest to where I live.. Im pretty sure Caberfae will be a pass I can't 'pass' up just for the deal, but it would be cool to have a closer place to drive to...

Of the Detroit-area bumps I've tried, I prefer Mt. Holly. There are a couple of nice runs there that I do over and over, practicing skills. Alpine Valley I've been to just a handful of times. Would certainly go again, but just haven't had a reason to head over that way recently. I've been to Pine Knob just once. Nothing wrong with the place, I guess. Just didn't seem to click with me. (In fact, I drive right past it on the way to Mt. Holly.) Mt. Brighton I've never been to, so I can't comment.

From Northville, I could never come up with a great route to Mt. Holly. I imagine you'll have the same issue from Plymouth.
post #20 of 27
All SEMI ski hills are equally disappointing. Still, I spend most of my time at AV and PK. I like Holly better, but it is another 15 minutes away (up 75 from PK) and makes for a long night during the week. If you're not going northbound on the weekends, then Holly is a good quick fix. I can't comment on Mt. Brighton as I have not been there in 20 years.

As far as a local pass, you need to do the math. If you can sneak out just one night a week, it's still possible worth it. From Plymouth, the best choice would be AV.
post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 
If you can sneak out just one night a week
I just got a seasonal job at my local ski shop (super-stoked for all the discounts and freebies) so I plan on taking Thursdays and Fridays out from this semester and working there on weekends.. Between AV and PK, if you had to choose which would it be?

As far as northbound weekends, they are on the radar but that will depend solely on lodging since I plan on staying at least a couple of nights to really take advantage of it. I guess for a pass its hard to beat Caberfae and there are a few other good ones up there nearby in case I decide to stay and call in sick...=]
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapps View Post

  • Location: The Detroit Zoo


 

Hey, which habitat at the zoo? I live just down the street and visit the zoo with my kids all the time (will be there tomorrow, in fact).
post #23 of 27
 doidasso,

I too am a michigander- perhaps my username gives it away?  I mostly agree with what others have said and I also agree that Holiday Valley happens to be bigger and better than anything in Michigan (although I haven't been to Mt. Bohemia).  

So Caberfae is good for a day trip when you just have to go skiing.  Fun little place.
Crystal Mountain- its bigger than Caberfae and much more resort feel, but the vertical is pretty disappoining.
Nub's is better than either of those and is close to Boyne Highlands-which has longer runs (although not as nice of variety as Nubs)
Holiday Valley is great- twice the vert of most in Michigan and many nice steeps, glades, long groomers, etc.  Great resort.
Bristol- I go there every other summer to the lake but have never skied there.  However, I have seen it and would say that the vertical is definitely a step up from these others.  The problem with Bristol is that it is fairly isolated and has few runs (but they are long).

A final thought on your options:

Other than Searchmont, you could consider Blue Mountain in Ontario off the lake- its big although the folks here rail on the crowd problem.
Also, Blue Knob and Seven Springs in Pennsylvania is a reasonable option with almost all highway driving,
and Snowshoe, WV would be worth your trip if the snow is good and its not on a holiday (crowds).  

I'm a relentless mapper of ski resorts and have come to realize over the years that although there is indeed snow, the mountains are a long ways off in any direction.
post #24 of 27
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks fellow Michigander,

You are right about the long drives, but that's ok with me since I enjoy driving in general and Im sorta new to this and the motivational factor is waayyy off the charts!.. so much so that my gf wont talk to me anymore about anything related to skiing - she just rolls her eyes and sighs whenever I bring it up..

By the way, do you know (or have an idea) of which places usually opens up first in the season here in MI? I know Brighton is one of the last ones normally but Im not sure if its because of the latitudes..

I will be checking out Holiday valley at least once this year with some friends so maybe if time allows, I will shoot over to Bristol.
post #25 of 27
 Michigan ski resorts that open early are in the UP:

Indianhead, Marquette Mt., and Brule prides themselves on having a long season.

In the LP, Crystal and Boyne are decent bets because of their snowmaking capabilities.

Southern LP is a crapshoot based on the weather.
post #26 of 27
I think Boyne Mt. will be open first, I don't know why but they seem to get a big thrill opening before anybodey else. Last year I think they got it by two hours.
I'm not complaining mind you, I can't wait!
  ,art
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Cool if they open early then that just means I have to kick it up a notch in my P90x routine.. Feel the burn! Looks like they opened up on the 26th of Dec. last year... MUST... DO.. MORE.. SQUATS!!!!!!!!!
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