Where there’s snow, there are memories to be made. Come along for a throwback trip through Northern Michigan ski hill history.
Year Opened: 1948 // Skiable Acres: 415 // Nearest City: Boyne Falls
In 1947, Michigan Senator William Pearson sold 40 acres to Boyne Resorts founder Everett Kircher for $1 saying, “Anybody damn fool enough to want to build a ski hill, well… I’ll give you the property.” With one run, a single chairlift and a warming hut, Everett began a company that now spans from British Columbia to Maine.
Beyond quenching the need for speed, Boyne Mountain has long represented the Midwest as the ultimate spot for winter vacations. It’s considered the double black-diamond standard of resorts: nine lodging options on property, a mini alpine village, an 88,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, seven terrain parks and 60 runs with a total of 500 vertical feet.
Images courtesy of Boyne Mountain Resort
Year Opened: 1956 // Skiable acres: 102 // Nearest City: Thompsonville
Benzonia High School’s principal and geography teacher, Ward Creech, gave his students an assignment: find the best place in Benzie County to start a ski area. Looking at terrain and snowfall, his class selected the Buck Hills Range. In 1956, Buck Hills Ski Area became a reality (renamed Crystal Mountain in 1960).
Crystal Mountain definitely means business when it comes to celebrating the winter season. In addition to 102 skiable acres (48 percent of the resort’s 58 downhill slopes are intermediate), there are six glade areas and three terrain parks. A great demo ski rental program helps riders looking to up their equipment game.
Images courtesy of Crystal Mountain Resort
Year Opened: 1959 // Skiable Acres: 415 // Nearest City: Harbor Springs
In 1957, Dorie and Nub Sarns first viewed the hill that would become Nub’s Nob. Skiers officially took to the hill on January 18, 1959, with three trails and one double chairlift. A one-day weekend lift ticket was $5. Season passes were $20 for individuals, $50 for families.
Today, the hill, which prides itself on being just that—a ski hill with a day lodge—has 100 percent of innovation and staff energy directed at making the best experiences possible for folks on the slopes. Some longtime favorites include the 427 feet of vertical drop on Chute and Twilight Zone, a monstrous moguls run.
Photos courtesy of Nub’s Nob