Vacation at a Northern Michigan Ski Resort

Vacation at a Northern Michigan ski resort for a crisp January weekend getaway. Those lights twinkling on deep powder, the tempting pools steaming slope-side in the winter sunshine, even flaming après-ski cocktails are no longer for the downhill ski and snowboarding crowd alone. From Northern Michigan snowshoe trails in the pines to dog sled and ski groomer rides, there’s more fun than ever to be had at Northern Michigan resorts—whatever one’s adventure quotient.

Snow and Spa: Harbor Springs

So your skill level doesn’t have you zipping down a black diamond by a traditional route, you can traverse them, say, from the toasty cab of a ski groomer—if you’re at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs. Other unusual offerings have you exploring wooded trails via dogsled, horseback and now even fat tire bikes made especially for snow. But the season’s most tempting package might be the “Snow and Spa Serenity” for its Zen combo: a dose of outdoor exploration time coupled with a spa treatment of choice.

Your room cost at this Alpine-themed resort is next to nothing, once you deduct the $120 per person spa credit, snowshoe or cross-country ski rental and trail pass (there are 35K of groomed trails) from your $174/person nightly rate. And yours for the day are resort amenities like a fitness center, multiple swimming pools and a hot tub billed as the largest in the state. Hungry? Order and then dive in; new this year is the poolside food and beverage service at a newly remodeled (and well-heated) pool. 231.526.3000, boyne.com.

Don’t miss the chance to take a sled dog ride to round out your Boyne getaway.

Budget-Friendly Learning
 Package: Cadillac

The learning deal of the season can be found at Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac. Print the “Family Funday Sunday” voucher on the website, and three people get a lift ticket, rental and group lesson all for $49 on ski season Sundays. Add on other family members or friends for another $15 each. The resort’s also famed for its BYOC (C for crockpot) policy in the lower level of its cozy lodge—or try the equally famed white chicken chili and cheese fries by the day lodge fire. Sunday room rates are $99 if you want to stay over; the remodeled 36-room lodge comes with outdoor heated pool and hot tub and new indoor lockers with boot dryers. 231.862.3000, Caberfaepeaks.com.

Eat-Ski-Eat: Gaylord

If your Northwoods exercise fantasy runs something like ski-eat-ski-eat-some-more, then you won’t want to miss the Jan. 18 premiere of “A Skiable Feast” at Treetops Resort. The ultimate outing for foodies and skinny ski enthusiasts takes you over four kilometers of trails, breaking up the workout with five gourmet trailside buffets—each course paired with Northern Michigan microbrews, wines or cocktails. You can’t go far wrong with a combination of pine forests, rolling terrain and stations that include gourmet wraps, homemade soups, pastry pockets like miniature beef Wellingtons, fried local perch and bourbon-glazed apple crisp ($95/person). 989.732.6711, treetops.com.

Good Base for Off-Sire Fun

Nab a room at Crystal Mountain and keep amenities like the indoor pool and fitness center, destination spa and farm-to-table restaurant with blazing fires close at hand after half- or full-day fishing outings for steelhead or brown trout, year-round on the Manistee River and booked on site. 231.378.2000, crystalmountain.com. Or head to Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, where the amenity favorite among guests polled is the regular shuttle service to nearby Short’s Brewing Company. 231.533.8621, shantycreek.com.

Check out the fun at Crystal’s terrain park.

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