The Northern Michigan Skiing Experience

Northern Michigan, in winter, is a snow-covered wonderland that blends the natural beauty of the scenery with a variety of trails for all levels of skiers and riders. The Highlands creates that northern Michigan skiing experience with warm hospitality and various winter activities. Whether you are looking for adventure on the blacks or a family moment hitting the greens and blues, there is something for everyone.

Choosing the Perfect Time for Northern Michigan Skiing

Skiers on the Chairlift and a skier on the slopes overlooking the valley at The Highlands

Fresh powder days: Those magical days when Mother Nature delivers fresh powder are hard to predict. But there is nothing quite like skiing on fresh snow and feeling like you are in a snow globe

Midweek: Picture this - gliding along the quiet and peaceful terrain with plenty of space to spread out and explore. Perfect for those who want to avoid the crowdsand enjoy a laid-back winter experience. Be sure to join us on Wednesday and Thursday nights and extend your ski day with Slopes After Sundown. For $25, you can access the slopes from dusk until close, making your midweek evenings more fun.

Holiday Magic: There is something about the holidays that creates fond ski trip memories. The holiday week is the start of night skiing so you can maximize your time on-hill. Plus, you get to say you had a skiing holiday when your friends and coworkers asked what you did for the holidays. 

Sunny Spring Skiing: Sunny bluebird days and soft snow is one of the best times to go skiing if you are a beginner (or shed some layers and enjoy the warmer temps).

Our biggest tip is to view the Mountain Report for current ski conditions and sign up for our snow reports. Weather is unpredictable in northern Michigan, but natural snow and snowmaking capabilities allow our trails to be well-maintained so guests can utilize every minute of our beautiful Michigan resort. 

Explore Diverse Skiing Terrain

Two skiers on the trail Floradora at The Highlands

With 435 acres of skiable terrain and 54 runs, there is a good mix of beginner slopes and challenging trails to suit different skill levels. We've blended various trail difficulties all over our slopes, so each section has variety for all types of skiers and riders.

If you are starting your ski journey or are new to northern Michigan skiing, take Camelot 6 up and try our beginner run. With a length of approximately 1 mile, it is great for getting used to the current snow conditions and being comfortable with your ski form. When you are ready to move on to the next run, Camelot 6 is a quick 3-minute ride up where you can head over to the Valley area or head towards Heather Express and try the north side.

An intermediate skier? Hit Camelot 6 or Heather Express chairlifts and start heading towards North Peak. Plenty of intermediate runs, such as Floradora (a guest favorite) or Leslie's Quest, have stunning views and make for great skiing.

If you are up for a challenge, hit the black or double black diamonds or even a glade or two! Rob Roy is always a great black diamond to start on to get you ready for even more!

Need a lesson? Our Snow Sports School Instructors have thousands of hours in training and instructing and can assist you. Whether you are a beginner, want to learn more advanced skills, or need a refresher, they will create a tailored plan.

Beyond Skiing: Winter Activities in Northern Michigan

The Highlands Enchanted Trail

Snowgoers of all types come to enjoy the outdoors at The Highlands. There are activities for skiers and non-skiers alike!

From snowy woodland views on horseback to the magic of the twinkling lights of the Enchanted trail, you can fill your non-skiing hours with a bit of everything. 

Check out our top 5 favorite non-skier activities here. Highlights include:

Après-Ski Delights: Dining and Entertainment

Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner at The Highlands

From quick bites to enchanting dinner by candlelight, don't miss out on an après ski experience in northern Michigan.

Imagine a sleigh ride up the mountain, a cozy bonfire at sunset, and a candlelight dinner. The Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner is the perfect romantic evening experience to finish the day.

Need a cup of warm soup and a beverage in the middle of your ski day? Try dining at North Peak with those beautiful valley views. You might even spot the Mackinac Bridge towers on a sunny, clear day!

Planning Your Northern Michigan Ski Trip

A family taking a ski lesson at The Highlands

Packing Essentials and Needed Gear

Wearing the wrong gear and clothing can make a fun trip go sour quickly. You do not need the latest and greatest, but a few key essentials can make skiing warmer, safer, and more enjoyable.

Contrary to common belief, thicker socks are not warmer socks. Get a pair of thin merino wool or synthetic blend socks. It will pull moisture and keep your feet warm. It will also ensure your ski boots will fit properly. 

For jackets and snow pants (or bibs), something that is waterproof or water-resistant will help keep the snow off your body. You can also use a waterproof rain jacket and pants layered over fleece to be insulated from the cold but keep the snow out. 

You do not need ski or snowboard-specific gloves or mittens for the hands, but a waterproof/resistant pair of thick gloves or mittens will keep those hands nice and toasty. No one wants cold hands.

Helmets! A ski helmet keeps your ears and head warm and, most importantly, safe if you fall! You can rent a helmet from The Highlands rather than buying new. 

Boyne Country Sports is a great place to start building your ski and winter gear, with a location right at The Highlands during the winter season and several locations spread throughout Michigan. 

Need a set of skis or snowboard? Check out our equipment rental. The right skis, boots, or snowboard undoubtedly make the experience easier and more enjoyable for all ability levels. Toddler to adult, the rental shop team can help properly fit you to make the most of your time on the snow.

Best Lodging Options

Lodging Options at The Highlands

Families, Small Groups, and Couples: Centrally located with picturesque views of the surrounding natural environment and Highlands ski slopes, the Main Lodge hosts some of our most popular resort amenities. From spacious suites to cozy king beds, there is something for everyone. Enjoy stunning views, indulge in your favorite drink at the cozy Slopeside Lounge or the lobby's welcoming atmosphere, unwind in our updated accommodations, and enjoy the ease of being just a short stroll away from all the exciting resort activities.

Large Groups: If you have a large group of friends or family, the Heather Highlands Inn is an excellent central location for the ski slopes and activities. Our individually owned condo-style accommodations feature separate bedrooms and loft spaces, providing ample room for everyone. After skiing all day long, hit the indoor/outdoor heated pool! 

10+ Large Groups: Have a large group? Try a cottage or home rental with all the cozy comfort of a home away from home.

Real Skiers Share Their Northern Michigan Adventures at The Highlands

Kid skiers on a chairlift looking back at the camera at The Highlands

>> "Had a great week at The Highlands! Accommodations were perfect for our family - we stayed in the Ross Cottages, and they provided lots of space for our multi-generational vacation. Probably the best ski conditions we have had at The Highlands in years. Thanks for another great vacation."

>> "Great variety. There was something for everyone, and my wife, son, and his girlfriend rented equipment- she said the staff in rental was very kind, helpful, and professional. We had wonderful weather and a great day of skiing. The Highlands is definitely the best eastern skiing I've ever seen."

Skiing in northern Michigan with the snow globe views on a fresh powder day to all the winter activities on your off time makes for a great time to spend with family and friends! Grab a lift ticket, get your gear, and we will catch you on the slopes!