It’s time to venture into the Northern Michigan outdoors and conquer the slopes. Welcome, ski season. Whether you’re a first-time skier or a pro, here’s what you need to know about the 2015-16 season of Northern Michigan skiing at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs.
The conversation below is part of a series of MyNorth interviews with Northern Michigan ski resort managers about the 2015-16 downhill season.
With downhill ski and snowboard season at Northern Michigan resorts about to launch, we check in with Boyne Highlands’ general manager Mike Chumbler to get the latest on changes at the resort this winter.
What’s the first thing you want skiers and boarders to know about this season?
One of the biggest things that can have a lot of impact in years like this, that get off to a slow start with weather is the Boyne Low E fan gun. We’ve really been able to stretch our season and that has been a real game changer, often skiing from November and into April.
One of your colleagues told us there is a big evolution to talk about with the Low E fan gun.
Right. We’ve been testing it for over a year, a new nozzle design that reduces the air needed by 25 percent and that allows us to run many more guns. And each machine can put out four times the amount of snow. That said, it’s still in roll out stage adn we’ll be testing it further on North Challenger. That can really take us to the next level in fringe years. We developed it with a technology company out of Midland, SMI, who has partnered with us over the years.
What about changes to the ski hill itself?
Glade skiing is increasingly popular, and we are opening a big glade off of Amy’s Run. We are responding to customer feedback, because glade skiing is getting more and more popular. That will be ready to go this season. Also, on the bunny hill, we are making some changes that will make the whole loading experience better. We are also doing a lot to the funland terrain, with eight new beginner and intermediate features.
Any news on the program side of things?
We have expanded our race offerings with a lot more training sessions. So for the young person who really wants to race, there will be in-depth and advance training. We hired a new team coach, Kayla Potter, to be head coach for Boyne Flyers and Team Elite, and she has a very impressive résumé. We’ll also offer again this year what’s become a very popular women’s-only ski clinic, January 30 and 31. Lisa Densmore, who was on the Olympic team int he 70s runs that. She can help people at a whole range of skill levels, beginner to advanced.
What about inside, in the lodge or restaurants?
We’ve spruced up. We added space for 50 more people to the lounge, and that will make a huge difference on the weekends. And we are always upgrading our rental equipment. We have Burton snowboards and Head skis and our stuff is all new, so that entry level skier knows he or she is getting the latest technology.
Boyne has been promoting its MAX Pass. Give us a flyover of that.
It’s a Multi Alpine Experience, and what it means is we’ve partnered with Powder and InterWest so all Boyne Gold Pass holder have access to 20 additional resorts in North America, with five days at each mountain. So you can add that on to your Gold Pass or you can buy the stand-alone MAX Pass as well.
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