Nubs Nob has always been a favorite spot for high school ski teams to train, and this year, the ski resort just north of Harbor Springs has upped its commitment to racers—and recreational skiers alike—with a hill dedicated to gate-snapping speed demons. MyNorth snowplowed over to general manager Jim Bartlett to get the scoop on the hill.

MyNorth: Why make a Northern Michigan ski hill just for ski racers?

Jim Bartlett: We were looking for a way to make our great race-training program even better.  To do that, we took a page from Buck Hill’s playbook (a small ski resort in Minnesota that has produced numerous Olympic skiing superstars) and created a race hill that’s both fantastic for racers and great for the general skiing public. We used to close certain hills on Saturday and Sunday for race training.  We won’t have to do that anymore.”

MyNorth: Why is this Northern Michigan ski racing hill such a stellar place to train?

Jim Bartlett: Lots of reasons—it’s steep enough to challenge the experts, but not so steep that intermediate skiers won’t be able to use, and benefit, from it.  It has its own lift, and because its designed not to be a regular ski run, racers and other skiers are both protected.

MyNorth: Define what you mean by “lift,” as we know you put in something super special to zoom Northern Michigan skiers up to the start again.

Jim Bartlett: It’s the fastest way back up the hill.  It takes just over a minute from bottom to top, and greatly improves the number of runs racers get in a 90-minute training session.  Often times, racers get maybe 20 runs.  With the high-speed rope tow, they can get in 60 runs. If, of course, they can hang on that long…

MyNorth: That sounds a little ominous.

Jim Bartlett: (Laughs) it’s a workout!  Another great aspect of this hill is that racers are exercising the entire time; there is no sitting on a chairlift.  Instead, you get not only legwork, but also tremendous effort in upper body strength too in order to hang on.  When it comes to fast racing, that becomes very important. One of the biggest ways to improve a run time is to be explosive out of the start, and that’s all about upper body.  The entire experience is about really jumping up skill levels, abilities, and core fitness.

MyNorth: What do you hope will happen with the addition of the race hill?

Jim Bartlett: We already have a ton of high school teams from around the state coming to use the hill, and we believe as word gets out, numbers will continue to grow. The hill is wide enough for us to set three separate solemn courses at the same time, and most teams are training for about an hour/hour-and-a-half and giving their kids an incredibly high impact workout. All teams need to do is call ahead and reserve a lane.  We believe we’re investing in a feeder program that has the capacity to produce skiers like Lindsey Vaughn (a Buck Hill alumni).  We’re excited.  

For more information or to reserve space on the Nubs Nob race hill call 800-SKI-NUBS or visit