Affordable North: A Great Ski and a Fab Margarita in Benzie County

By Day: Take to the groomed and tracked trails of Champion Hill Nordic Trails, just off U.S. 31 on Marshall Road in Honor. In the summer, the Nordic center is a golf course, but come winter, the rolling greens are groomed and tracked for skating and classic skiing. This is no griddle-flat golf course skiing. The over 25 K of trails wind up, down and around small knolls dotted with pine trees. After a K or so they started to climb. The downhills are worth the climb—wide swaths that leave plenty of room between you and the trees. Champion Hill Nordic Trails is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cozy clubhouse is stocked with ski rentals and snacks. Trail passes are $9 adults; $8 seniors over 60; $7 ages 9-17; free 8 and under; $25 family pass. 231-882-9200

By Evening: Lucky for you tired and hungry skier. Some of the best Mexican food in Northern Michigan is just several miles south on U.S. 31 at The Roadhouse in Benzonia. Nurse a Don Juan margarita (1800 tequila, grand marnier and house sour mix) while you wait for the Roadhouse skillet: A platter of fresh grilled peppers and onions with tequila marinated steak and jerk chicken, smothered with monterey jack, then baked golden brown and served with sour cream. You may want to settle into your booth for a little siesta before you head home. 231-882-9631.

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