IN THE D: Embrace Winter Sports with Skiing in Southeast Michigan

By: Toni Cunningham | December 5, 2014

There’s no snow on the ground right now, and if you ask me, that’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re the kind of person who loves winter sports, you’re probably itching for a fresh blanket of powder. Well, luckily for you, whether Mother Nature decides to cooperate or not, there are plenty of ski resorts in southeast Michigan that manufacture their own snow, so you can ski no matter what the sky is looking like.

Whether you’re a ski fanatic or a first timer, the following places are where you want to be if you’re looking to catch some “fresh pow” on the ski slopes.

Mt. Brighton, 4141 Bauer Rd., Brighton, has been around since 1960 and offers 25 trails and 130 acres of ski hills with five chairlifts. This year, Mt. Brighton has a few new offerings for the 2014 to 2015 season, including convenient online ticket sales, an expanded children’s center, a new terrain park layout and programs like Lindsey Vonn’s Ski Girls Rock, Women’s Ski Academy and Women’s Race Academy.

By purchasing your tickets through the Preferred Program online, you’ll receive $5 off your first visit and $15 off every future visit. Rates vary depending on the day and time, but you can view them here. Spend a Sunday evening skiing down Mt. Brighton and enjoy free fireside s’mores!

If you don’t have your own equipment, don’t worry. You can rent skis, boots and poles all for $28. Private lessons for both adults and children are available, as well as racing opportunities. There are four different bars and restaurants on the premises to take advantage of, too. On Sunday, Dec. 21, bring your kids ages 12 and under to ski for free from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.!

Mt. Brighton is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. View the trail map here.

Pine Knob, 7778 Sashabaw Rd., Clarkston, consists of a 300-foot hill with 17 different runs and 11 lifts. If you’re an expert and avid skier, you may be interested in purchasing a 2014 to 2015 season pass for $575. On the flip side, if you’re a beginner, you may want to take advantage of Pine Knob’s Ski School, which is composed of professional, certified ski instructors who teach both private and semi-private lessons.

Even if your little ones want to get in on the ski action, they are able to do so! Beginning skiers ages 5 to 10 are able to take part in Kindersparks, a ski lesson package offered on Saturdays beginning in January.

Racing programs for adults are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m., and there are various programs for kids, including Thunderbolt Training Camps for young ski racers, a middle school program for children in grades fifth through eighth, and a racing program for high school students.

Pine Knob is open for skiing daily, and rates vary depending on the day of the week and time. Take a peek at the trail map here.

Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort, 13536 Dixie Hwy., Holly, has 19 different trails of various skill levels, seven different chairlifts and a full service ski shop.

It’s no surprise that Mt. Holly is “where the north begins,” with its vast Bavarian-style lodge, fireplace room and lounge. It’s like being up north without the gas mileage.

Before you go, utilize the website to check which runs are open, and check the prices for lift tickets. Keep in mind that Tuesdays are “Tremendous Tuesdays,” where all area tickets cost just $24. If you’re pinching pennies, it’s the best day to ski!

Season passes for 2014 to 2015 are still available, and while the discounted rate periods are over at this point, if you’re a frequent skier, you’ll still get plenty of use out of the $575 pass. Seniors ages 65 and over save an additional five percent.

Ski school offers private lessons, student lessons and racing for both adults and children.

Alpine Valley, 6775 Highland Rd., White Lake, has 25 slopes, nine chairlifts, four terrain parks and four tow ropes. You’ll always know what the snow conditions are and which slopes are open and closed thanks to this handy online tool.

Individual and group rates are both available, and you can purchase a lift ticket, beginner pass or ski rental pass. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s ladies day, meaning you gals get a discounted lift ticket, and same for the fellas on Wednesdays. Children ages 5 and under always ski for free Monday through Friday.

With 11 different beginner slopes, six intermediate and eight advanced, there is a trail for everyone! Just don’t switch to the next one before you’re ready, or you’ll find yourself swiftly tumbling down a hill with a vertical drop of 300 feet. You can see the full trail map for yourself here.

Lessons are available for all walks (and skis!) of life, from children to students to adult beginners.

Skiing is great exercise, it’s an excuse to get outside during Michigan’s cold winter months, and it’s just plain fun. Enjoy flying down these hills in Metro D!