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Hey skiers and snowboarders, Otsego Resort is now open to the public. And the beloved Northern Michigan ski resort is located at the highest elevation in Michigan’s famed snow belt. Plus, the winter events here (winter wine walk, anyone?) are uniquely Northern. Here’s what a day at the snowboard ski resort looks like. (Spoiler alert: EPIC.)

Otsego Resort is a gorgeous Northern Michigan playground for snow sports lovers. Perched on a wooded hilltop near Gaylord, the unique retreat feels away from it all, while remaining easily accessible from I-75. Since 1939, families with memberships to the then private resort have treasured the tradition of heading north to hit the slopes nestled in Gaylord’s Sturgeon River Valley. In 2017, the beloved retreat opened its doors to the public. Today, generations of club members and new visitors alike embrace its gracious, family-friendly resort atmosphere.

Built during the golden era of downhill skiing, the 1960’s-era classic ski club feeling is alive and well throughout the property. A vintage ski groomer parked outside the main entrance welcomes guests with a charming nod to the resort’s history. An engraved brass plaque in the main lodge lobby entitled “That Special Feeling,” encapsulates the aura of the property. Its caption explains that the resort’s founder, Donald B. McClouth, wanted the Otsego Ski Club to foster “comradery and an atmosphere of tradition where lifelong friendships are made on the slopes of Otsego Ski Club.” Though the resort is no longer a private club, those ideals are still present in every detail of the warm-hearted resort, from its hospitable staff to the friendly faces on the ski hills.

As soon as you arrive, tall wooden ceilings, leather sofas and fieldstone fireplaces warm you up and invite you to stay awhile. Every nook and cranny of the resort exudes idyllic winter fun and relaxation. In the main lodge, non-downhill skiers enjoy sprawling panoramic views of the ski hills. Cross country enthusiasts enjoy a snowy wooded trek along the wilderness trail. Nearby, delighted shrieks echo from the tubing runs. Across the resort property, rosy-cheeked skiers take off their gear to enjoy a break by the fire in the historical River Cabin. Everywhere you turn at Otsego Resort, you witness happy memories being made Up North.

A Winter Sportsman’s Wonderland

The resort is built on a unique portion of Michigan’s snowbelt, known for its more than 150 inches of annual snowfall. The property is wooded and hilly, making it a natural home for skiing and snowboarding terrain. And Otsego Resort takes full advantage of both, offering ski and snowboard lovers 5 ski lifts, 29 natural-terrain downhill runs, 8.5 miles of groomed cross-country ski and snowshoeing trails and a three-lane tubing run.

Fresh powder is abundant at the resort during peak winter months and the season is extended with the help of premier snow-making and grooming equipment. The downhill ski and snowboarding runs offer a thrilling mix of challenge and ease, promising a day of fun for a wide range of abilities. Short lift lines make it easy to add variety to your day on the slopes. The approachable difficulty range also makes it an ideal place to teach new skiers and snowboarders. Good to know: Otsego Resort offers ski, snowboard and snowshoe rentals onsite and a nationally-recognized Professional Ski Instructor Association (PSIA) ski school.

The River Cabin is perhaps the most unique and charming feature of the ski resort. The historical cabin is a cozy oasis accessible only by shuttle, snowshoe trail or chair lift. The picturesque ski cabin in the woods is well worth the extra trek, offering a 360-degree round fireplace area with welcoming wooden benches, concessions and a full bar. It is a favorite pitstop for skiers and snowboarders to refuel and thaw out before hopping on a lift for more fun.

gloves drying by a fire outdoors
Play All Day, Get Cozy with Onsite Dining and Lodging at Night 

After a day of outdoor adventure, settle in near one of the roaring fireplaces located throughout the resort’s main lodge, five on-site dining venues or cozy common lounge areas in several of the homey lodges and chalets. The property’s overnight accommodations include lodge and chalet options, all complete with a plush bed and northern lodge-style décor.

On-property winter dining options include The Duck Blind Grille, The Sitzmark, The River Cabin and the Logmark. The Duck Blind Grille boasts a breathtaking 27-mile view of the Sturgeon River Valley. Meanwhile, the Logmark Bar is the perfect spot for a nightcap and a game of pool. With so many mouthwatering options, there is truly something for everyone—from small bites to bar and grill classics to local seasonal fare.

This winter, return to the golden era of downhill skiing and winter vacation leisure at Gaylord’s perfectly-tucked-away cold-weather retreat.

During the winter months, Otsego Resort hosts several special events such as their famous Winter Wine Walk and Moonlite Snowshoe Hike. The resort is also well-known for its fun family-friendly events around St. Patrick’s Day that mark the end of the ski season, including the “Silly Slalom” in which skiers and snowboarders are invited to compete for best costume in a downhill ski display. These unique events are much loved by longtime members who grew up coming to the resort and who bring their kids back to share in the tradition. This generational experience is precisely what Otsego Resort is all about.

Whether you are a longtime club member with beloved memories of skiing at Otsego Resort, or a winter sports lover looking for a warm and welcoming ski destination, the tradition of Otsego Resort welcomes you. Plan your trip to get lost in wooded, river valley wilderness trails, ski through natural terrain and wooded ski runs, warm up with après ski cocoa (or wine!) at the River Cabin, enjoy a heartwarming feast at the Duck Blind Grille and settle in by the fire at Logmark Bar.

Photo(s) by Otsego Resort

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