We checked in with 11 Northern Michigan ski and snowboard resorts across the upper and lower peninsulas to find out what their teams are excited about this season. Here’s what’s new this winter Up North on, and off, the slopes.

ONE | The Highlands at Harbor Springs

600 Highland Drive, Harbor Springs | Previously Boyne Highlands | View The Highlands Website | The Highlands Current Ski Conditions

Luxe Lodge Reno | The Main Lodge’s 87 guest rooms were expanded to offer more spacious layouts and sleek accommodations. Deluxe, premium and suite options are available, some with sitting areas and sleeper sofas, and all featuring modern conveniences such as coffee bars with a mini smart refrigerator and Nespresso machine. And you’re going to love the bathrooms—yes, the bathrooms—with their marble floors and wall tiles, British fixtures, Euro-style toilets and custom-designed lighted mirrors. Oh, and fluffy robes await in the wooden wardrobes. The resort is also introducing Stay & Save— all lodging guests at Boyne Highlands get 10 percent off lift ticket purchases during their stay (for each member in the group!).

On the Slopes | A new Pistenbully ParkPro 400, precisely tailored to the needs of park builders, will allow for the creation of exceptional features within the resort’s four terrain parks. Boyne has also added five new HKD Impulse tower guns to its snowmaking fleet. These ultra-efficient snow guns enable snowmaking in marginal temperatures, much like the resort’s proprietary Boyne Low-E fan guns. For beginners or those returning to the sports, a new 300-foot Sunkid Covered Conveyor is replacing the Wonder Carpet on North Camelot.

The Highlands at Harbor Springs

Photo by The Highlands at Harbor Springs

The Enchanted Trail Returns | Okay, we admit this isn’t brand new, but it is downright magical. The nearly two-mile round-trip trail can be hiked or snowshoed and features a dazzling display of thousands of twinkling lights. There are photo opportunities along the way, plus a decorated yurt and crackling bonfire at the midway point. Hot chocolate and s’mores are included in the experience. Tickets range from $15– $25 and ages 2 and under are free. Beverage tickets are extra. Available most Thursdays–Sundays with expanded holiday dates. Reservations required.

Rental Packages | At Equipment Rental, find 135 sets of new HEAD BYS ski and boot packages. The skis are constructed to provide more stability and their shaped design makes turning easier. For snowboarders, the resort has added 35 of the latest Burton boards. Rentals can be reserved online in advance for a full day or multiple days.

A Grand Vision | Boyne Highlands has a four-phase transformation in the works, led by the renovation of the Main Lodge. The plan also includes a multi-level European-style spa facility, reimagined restaurants, modernized conference facilities and a new swimming complex. View the construction timeline at highlandsfuture.com.

Skiing at The Highlands at Harbor Springs

Photo by The Highlands at Harbor Springs

Related Read: Searching for more tips to hit the slopes? View our Northern Michigan downhill skiing and snowboarding page

TWO | Boyne Mountain

1 Boyne Mountain Rd, Boyne Falls | View the Boyne Mountain Website | Boyne Mountain Current Ski Conditions

European-Inspired Guest Haus |  The former Edelweiss Lodge has been reimagined with a top-to-bottom renovation creating a contemporary alpine escape. The new Chalet Edelweiss reinvents the traditional lodging experience with 35 rooms and suites filled with modern mountain character, a lush lobby living room and an onsite Nordic sauna.

Solar Power | A solar array stands to power the equivalent of the resort’s 300-plus homes and condos. The 1.7-megawatt system was constructed by a CMS Energy subsidiary and is just one of many initiatives that are a part of the ForeverProject, a guiding sustainability plan established by Boyne Mountain’s parent company, Boyne Resorts. The marquee goal of the ForeverProject is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 and working with CMS Enterprises has accelerated the effort by already eliminating approximately 70 percent of the company’s carbon footprint driven by its electrical usage.

Boyne Mountain resort rooms

Photo by Boyne Mountain

Swift Chairlift Access | Both Boyne Mountain and Highlands have installed dual-frequency RFID (radio frequency identification) technology with scanning at all lifts. RFID facilitates direct-to-lift access for ticket and season pass holders, and also provides a streamlined purchasing process enabling guests to purchase lift tickets or season passes online, and reload a media card with additional tickets or pass purchases season after season.

Big Moves Ahead | In September, the resort announced Renaissance 2.0, a plan to guide growth and development through 2030. Included in the plan are national-level attractions, new technology and lift innovations, hotel developments, green initiatives and more. Among the first projects is the soon-to-be-completed SkyBridge Michigan, which will be the world’s longest timber-towered suspension bridge. SkyBridge Michigan, which will be open year-round, is being constructed between the peaks of McLouth and Disciples Ridge with an anticipated opening in June. Guests will ride a chairlift to the mountain’s top, then walk along the 1,203-foot-long and 118-foot-high pedestrian bridge with panoramic valley views and light displays, and can also then connect to Boyne Mountain’s extensive paved trail system. A few more Renaissance highlights: an outdoor addition to Avalanche Bay waterpark, a new Pete Dye golf course and a music venue. Learn more at 2030.boynemountain.com.

Snow machines at Boyne Mountain

Photo by Boyne Mountain

THREE | Mont Ripley Ski Area

49051 Ski Hill, Hancock | View the Mont Ripley Website | Current Ski Conditions at Mont Ripley

Park Improvements | Mont Ripley is expanding and improving its terrain park with the help of Charlie VanDemark of VanDemArc Welding & Fabrication. VanDemark has been creating, reworking and upcycling multiple features for the park to add more variety and increase the range of difficulty levels at the U.P. resort. Continued improvements are also being made at Mont Ripley’s tube park—the berms that border the park and aid the tow line are being raised and expanded to create a smoother ride and safer unloading for guests.

Snowboarding in the Upper Peninsula

Photo by Mont Ripley/Michigan Technological University

Under a New Roof | Due to COVID-19 concerns, last year’s rental pick-ups at Mont Ripley were moved outside to a tent to reduce the number of people inside the rental area. The process was such a huge success that the resort is now constructing a permanent building outside the rental area to house the daily equipment pick-ups.
Snowboarding in Michigan's UP

Photo by Mont Ripley/Michigan Technological University

FOUR | Challenge Mountain

2205 N. Springbrook Rd., Boyne Falls | View the Challenge Mountian Website

Inclusive for All | For nearly 40 years, Challenge Mountain has connected children, youth and adults with special needs to outdoor recreational opportunities in all four seasons, such as downhill skiing, snowboarding, cycling and fishing. “Programs are not just about having fun on a boat ride, climbing a ropes course or skiing down a hill,” says Executive Director Elizabeth Looze. “These experiences create positive individual and group development while building social and character skills.” The programs are offered at no charge, all funded by donors and revenue from the Challenge Mountain Resale Store. In addition, Challenge Mountain has worked to expand a growing list of area organizations that provide activities. Thanks to a recent anonymous donor, Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey is now one of those partners. Participants can learn art fundamentals and art history, then apply those skills to create everything from paintings to three-dimensional crafts.

Upper Peninsula snow sports

Photo by Mont Ripley/Michigan Technological University

FIVE | Crystal Mountain

12500 Crystal Mountain Dr., Thompsonville | View the Crystal Mountian Website | Crystal Mountain Current Conditions (Trail and Grooming Report)

Season of Snow | With 14 new snow guns from Quebec City, Canada, Crystal Mountain’s 2021-2022 season is centered around snowmaking. How much snow are we talking? “ At max capacity pumping 80 gallons of water per minute, these snow guns could cover about an acre with a foot of snow every three hours,” says Director of Mountain Operations Mike Cutler. The resort has also invested in 3,500 feet of new snowmaking pipe, bringing the total length to more than five miles. When ideal snowmaking conditions roll around—28 degrees or less, low humidity, northerly winds and high barometric pressure—Crystal’s crews are on call 24 hours a day, ready to cover the 58 downhill trails in powder.

Psssst! January is National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. Jan. 5–Jan. 28 Crystal Mountain’s snowsports instructors will be teaching beginners ages 13 and up. The lesson package is $59 per person (add rental equipment for an additional $40). Available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. Advanced reservations are required. Call 888.968.7686 ext. 2000.

Outdoors view of Crystal Mountain

Photo by Crystal Mountain

Comfy Updates | You’ll get some quality ZZZs on the new mattresses throughout the Bungalows at Crystal Glen, Cottages at Water’s Edge and Kinlochen. Kitchen renovations are underway at The Cottages, including new appliances, and the resort’s indoor and outdoor hot tubs have been refurbished.

Stay Connected | The tech team is completing a three-year project to upgrade Wi-Fi in all lodging units, and they’re also installing two cameras on the mountain that will be viewable online for guests planning their visit.

Skating at Crystal Mountain

Photo by Crystal Mountain

Crystal Mountain fireplace

Photo by Crystal Mountain

SIX | Mount Bohemia

6532 Gay Lac La Belle Rd, Mohawk | Visit the Mount Bohemia Website | Mount Bohemia Current Conditions

Shop ‘til You Drop | The U.P.’s Mount Bohemia boasts the longest runs, highest vertical drop and the deepest powder in the Midwest—a true hidden gem for backcountry skiers. This year, the resort is opening a new general store that will offer specialty food items as well as quick-service eats, and plenty of official Mount Bohemia merchandise.

SEVEN | Mt. Holiday

3100 Holiday Rd., Traverse City | Visit the Mt. Holiday Website

Fun for All | Mt. Holiday is back and ready to be your family’s winter staycation. The resort has been busy with improvements that will allow snowmaking and lift access to 100 percent
of the hill. As one of the last independent nonprofit ski hills in the country, Mt. Holiday is dedicated to keeping its services affordable for everyone. Visit their website for details, including upcoming winter events.

Fireside Sips | Enjoy local beers, hot chocolate and cozy fire pits at Mt. Holiday’s three new outside areas, including a newly renovated back patio and Ullr’s Beer Garden next to the resort’s family-friendly tubing hills.

Mt. Holiday tubing

Photo by Mt. Holiday

Mt. Holiday bonfire

Photo by Mt. Holiday

EIGHT | Nub’s Nob

500 Nubs Nob Rd., Harbor Springs | View the Nub’s Nob Website | Nub’s Nob Ski Conditions

Rolling Out the Magic Carpet | Come ski season, we’re much more interested in magic carpets than red carpets, and Nub’s has a new 150-foot beauty for beginners. The ski and snowboard area, home to 53 runs, also added nine snow guns and a Pisten Bully 400 Park Groomer to its arsenal.

Winter Garden | Plant your pole and head for Nub’s improved outdoor patio with snowmelt, automatic doors from the lodge and two additional fire pits. Located outside the cafeteria and pub, the Winter Garden also has outdoor heaters and picnic tables along with a food truck, with six beer taps, that made its debut last year as an answer to indoor dining restrictions.

The Goods | Nub’s has new Nordica rental skis and rental snowboards from Burton. Plus, a Wintersteiger Scout Tuning Machine for high-end base grinds and sharpening.

NINE | Shanty Creek

5780 Shanty Creek Rd., Bellaire | View the Shanty Creek Website | Shanty Creek Ski Conditions

Lit Up | For 9-5ers who love to get in some runs after work, the slopes of Schuss Mountain have improved LED lighting this season with efforts focused on The Face and Good Knight (for extended race training hours). Other slopes will also benefit from current light fixtures moving elsewhere.

WHEEEE! | Extended hours at the Alpine Tubing Park = lots more laughs. Located at Summit Mountain and available on Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays. (The final two hours on Friday and Saturday nights are recommended for adults only.)

Cross-country skiing in Northern Michigan

Photo by Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek

Optimal Performance | The Schuss Mountain Day Lodge has added a new Tuning Center featuring a Montana Crystal SR automated stone grinder and ceramic disc edger. Swing by when it’s time for a tune-up.

Safety First | All rental packages now include a helmet. If you already have one, cool—they’re just here if you need one. Shanty has also added more equipment from Rossignol for both alpine and nordic packages, plus high-performance demo equipment from Rossignol. Pro tip: Have your equipment waiting for you. Submit an online form and pay in advance for quick and easy pick-up.

Kid holding skis on hill in Northern Michigan

Photo by Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek

TEN | The Homestead

1 Woodridge Rd., Glen Arbor | View The Homestead Website | The Homestead Ski Conditions

Designed for Kids | CQ’s Cabin, located in the heart of Mountain Village just steps from Bay Mountain skiing, is being upgraded to provide experiential, family-friendly service for breakfast and lunch. Much of the playful interior design and the menus were crafted with young visitors in mind.

On the ski lift at The Homestead

Photo by Andy Wakeman

ELEVEN | Otsego Resort

696 M-32, Gaylord | View the Otsego Resort Website | Otsego Resort Ski Conditions

New Terrain | Otsego Resort’s O-Park evolves each year and continues to change throughout the season, so you’ll never get stuck riding the same lines or features. And the resort offers something for every experience level, including slope-style, street-style rails, quarter-pipe walls and a boardercross track. This winter, guests will also find (weather dependent) a kiddie park and a tots run for your littles to find their riding style.

On and Off the Slopes | With more snow guns and a new groomer, runs will always be primed and ready to ride this season. Chairlift 2 is also returning this year, making a total of five chair lifts and one handle tow. After a day of fun, guests can visit the Slopeside Bar to warm up by the bonfire or get grab-and-go food.

Winter Wine Walks & Craft Beer Trail | Whether you’re a wine lover or beer geek, Otsego has an event for you. After hitting the slopes, enjoy a scenic stroll from the resort’s historic River Cabin to a roaring bonfire at the Beaver Dam. Along the trail, you’ll visit tasting stations paired with light food. Check-in at the River Cabin begins at noon; take the shuttle from the main parking lot to access the walks. Note: this is a groomed trail that’s walkable in boots, but guests are also welcome to snowshoe or cross-country ski. Otsego Resort has limited equipment rentals available—all reservations can be made through the sports center. Tickets are $38 and are available online. Winter Wine Walk dates are Jan. 1, 15, 29 and Feb. 12, 26. Craft Beer Trail dates are Jan. 22 and Feb. 19.

Photo(s) by Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek