With its crockpot-loving, down-to-earth Midwest vibes, Caberfae Peaks holds a special spot in the hearts of Northern Michigan skiers.

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Snow trains brought hundreds of skiers to the Cadillac area to celebrate the opening of Caberfae Peaks on January 16, 1938. Now in its 86th season, the Cadillac ski resort clocks in as one of the oldest in the Midwest. It’s known throughout the state for its nostalgic vibes and excellent skiing, making it a winter must. Co-owner and General Manager of Business Operations Pete Meyer gives us a peek back at those early days, and what makes Caberfae so darn special.

Photo by Caberfae Peaks

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1. Originally founded as a deer ranch (Caberfae translates to “stag’s head” in Gaelic), the property was reimagined as a ski area in the 1930s in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and Civilian Conservation Corps. From there, it changed hands several times before the Meyer family purchased it in the early ’80s. It’s been independently owned ever since and was the state’s first destination ski resort.

2. Caberfae had just one run when it opened. It was, appropriately, named Number One and remains operational today.

3. Fun fact: The resort’s first ski lift, a rope tow, was powered by a Ford Model A car engine.

Photo by Caberfae Peaks

4. The apex of Caberfae’s North Peak system (which measures 1,562 feet) includes the state’s highest lift-served summits. Seasonal adrenaline rush? Double check.

5. Known for its exceptional snow, the resort busts out the big guns each year—more than 150 machines, in fact—to keep its slopes covered in fresh powder.

6. For a little extra winter whimsy, Caberfae prints new chairlift tickets each day, and even season passholders make sure to snag them to collect. They feature constantly changing custom colors and prints.

Photo by Caberfae Peaks

7. Though the park is packed with amenities, including a handful of lodges, cafeterias and an outdoor deck, it’s purposefully bereft of extra bells and whistles, like spa services or ziplining. Instead, says Meyer, Caberfae’s zeroed in on providing top-notch sporting facilities, making it a true “skier’s ski resort.”

8. Part of that focus, he adds, is utility. “We work really hard at providing value and want our guests to feel like they’re getting a great product for what they pay,” Meyer notes. At Caberfae, this means wallet-friendly options like ticket deals for kids and groups, themed events and nationwide pass partners.

9. To support more affordable recreation, Caberfae is a haven for crockpot enthusiasts. So much so, that the recently renovated Skyview Day Lodge is specially equipped with counterspace and outlets to power a plethora of appliances, making it a cozy hub for potlucks and large gatherings.

10. But don’t skip the signature fries. Served up with your choice of dipping sauces, these crispy baddies are cooked in their very own fryers and seasoned with a secret spice blend. Pair with Arlo’s Ultimate Bloody Mary—an homage to a beloved bartender—and you have the perfect après ski snack.

Photo by Caberfae Peaks

Anna Faller is a Traverse City-based freelance writer with a passion for good books, great food and Michigan travel. annacfaller@gmail.com

Photo(s) by Caberfae Peaks