New To Ski

9 Best Ski Resorts in Michigan for Families

by Simon Knott | Updated: October 27th, 2022
2 sons with Mom skiing

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So, you’ve narrowed down the State for your family ski vacation and now you need to know which resort suits your family best? The state of Michigan is second only to New York State for its number of ski areas, so check out our research and find your ideal vacation.

Michigan has been a tourist hotspot for years with its rolling hills making the ideal backdrop to numerous smaller family ski resorts. Relaxed resorts such as Boyne Highlands and the Homestead Resort have quality lodging and good amenities, while smaller resorts such as Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl and Nub’s Nob Ski Area offer value for money.

Our Top Picks

    9. Pine Mountain

    Pine Mountain

    Family Skiing

    Pine Mountain Golf and Ski resort is a four-star, year-round destination located in the town of Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula. There is good interstate access, as well as nearby Ford Airport with its connections via Delta to Minneapolis and Detroit.

    Pine Mountain has two lifts, a beginner’s area, and 18 runs, which are mostly green and blue with a few Blacks dotted over the mountain. The resort is part of the Moving Mountain scheme for promoting adaptive skiing for those with disabilities.

    As something of a rarity, the resort is home to the Pine Mountain Ski Jump, where spectators can watch the ski jumping competitions, which usually take place in early February.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons at Pine Mountain are aimed at kids and adults of all ages and abilities. Certified instructors take the lessons, which can be on an individual basis for those wanting to concentrate on a particular technique or on a semi-private basis, where two skiers can form a group.

    Semi-private basis lessons gain a concessionary rate. The lessons can be booked for one, two and three hours. Equipment rental is available on site, where the brand choice is Head.

    Off the Slopes

    Pine Mountain Resort offers several skis and stays packages, where considerable savings can be made midweek. You can also stay at The Lodge in newly renovated rooms in different configurations for families.

    The guestroom amenities include ski-in ski-out access, 24-hour food, and drink market, as well as access to the swimming pool and fitness center.

    There are also condos available for rent around the resort. The Sitzmark Bar hosts live music at the weekend and the Farmers Restaurant offers generous portions of burgers, pizzas, and salads.

    What we love about Pine Mountain Golf and Ski Resort

    • Easy interstate connections and nearby Ford airport
    • Plenty of green and blue runs for beginners
    • Adaptive facilities for skiers with disabilities
    • The recently renovated Lodge offers family rooms and access to the swimming pool, and fitness center.

    Pine Mountain Golf and Ski Resort Stats

    Summit Elevation:1650 ft / 503 metres
    Skiable terrain: 220 acres
    Lifts:4
    Runs:35

    8. The Homestead Resort

    8. The Homestead Resort

    Family Skiing

    The Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor is an upmarket destination, where families can enjoy recreational activities while staying in individual lodgings spread over the estate. The protection of the natural environment has always been the emphasis, leading to several hospitality accolades.

    Located next to Lake Michigan the Homestead Resort operates year-round with activities transferring to the shoreline during the summer. The skiing facilities are simple but ideal for beginner families, where the easier slopes and lack of crowds will make learning that much easier.

    Two lifts service the 13, mostly shorter runs, while the double chairlift operates on the longest run, Sunnyside. This run is steeper on the top half and gentler lower down. Most skiers disembark at the halfway point on this run, which means the steeper top half is often almost deserted.

    Cross-country skiers can enjoy almost 15 miles of trails, which follow the headlands and bays around the nearby coastline. Most of the trails are groomed with a few interconnecting sections of untouched snow.

    The ascents and descents along the trails offer scenic and continually changing views. Tuition and equipment rental is available from the Homestead.

    Fun for Kids

    The Homestead Resort only employs PSIA and AASI certified instructors. Lessons are available for skiers and snowboarders on an individual basis or in small groups. All ages and ability levels will be considered for lessons. The public and non-registered guests can take part in lessons so long as they book with the resort in advance.

    Off the Slopes

    The Homestead Resort offers upmarket hospitality, while the service is friendly and laid-back. There is a choice of four dining options on the resort, ranging from family meals, such as burgers, pizzas, and salads, right up to 4-course fine dining.

    The lodgings are dispersed across the resort for privacy and they range from small cottages to entire seaside homes.

    What we love about The Homestead Resort

    • Upmarket resort on the shore of Lake Michigan
    • On-site family lodging spread over the resort
    • A good quieter resort to learn the basics of skiing

    The Homestead Resort Stats

    Summit Elevation:900 ft / 274 metres
    Skiable terrain: 16 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:15

    7. Mt. Holly Ski Area

    Ski Resort 7

    Family Skiing

    Located in Groveland Township near the small town of Holly, Michigan, Mount Holly day ski resort has been something of a local institution going back to the 1950s. The resort now has 20 runs (35% of which are classed as a beginner), three snowboard parks with an assortment of terrain features, and the only high-speed quad chairlift in the region.

    The skiing is at a relatively lower level, so snow coverage may be a problem during some seasons, and snowmaking is not installed. It’s best to check the website or phone before you travel. The mountain has a vertical drop of 350 ft and the longest run trails of 2100 feet.

    For its size, the resort is well equipped with a ski school with certified instructors. There is additionally a ski shop, a Bavarian Lodge with a lounge, cafeteria, coffee bar, heated patio with fire pit, outdoor heaters, ski patrol, and free parking.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons can be private, one-on-one, for one hour at $75.00, or you can book 6 lessons for the price of five. Semi-private lessons can be shared between two and $75.00 for the first person and $30.00 for the second. Group lessons are charged at $30.00 per person for ages 7+.

    Off the Slopes

    Mt. Holly Ski Area is only one hour’s drive from the communication hub of Detroit. Although there is no on-mountain lodging at Mt Holly there is plenty of choice for budget and mid-priced accommodation in the surrounding towns.

    What we love about Mount Holly Ski Area

    • 35% of the runs are classed as beginner
    • A high-speed quad chairlift helps to reduce queues
    • The towns surrounding Holly offer plenty of family lodging

    Mount Holly Stats

    Summit Elevation:1105 ft / 337 metres
    Skiable terrain: 100 acres
    Lifts:13
    Runs:20

    6. Nub’s Nob Ski Area

    Ski Resort 6

    Family Skiing

    The Pleasant View township in Michigan has been host to Nub’s Nob Ski Area since it was first opened in 1958 by 2 locals, Norman, and Dorie Sarns. Norman’s nickname is Nubby, hence the resort name.

    Originally it was a small, undeveloped ski hill, with the highest peak being 1,339ft (408 m). However, its local popularity fuelled its expansion to 248 acres, with 9 lifts, 53 runs (15 of which are easy), and most of the runs covered by snowmaking. One of the two terrain parks is award-winning.

    There is plenty of variety with flat groomers for beginners, fun cruising, demanding steeper runs, and several glades. The resort additionally has a generous free beginner’s area with a lift and magic carpet, for which no lift ticket is required.

    There are two resort lodges, the Main Lodge, and the Pintail Peak Lodge, which both offer dining, restrooms, a great place to relax with lovely views, and a warm fire.

    Fun for Kids

    Private ski and snowboarding lessons are available in small groups of up to 4 at differing durations of 3, 1.5, and 1 hour. Start times are throughout the day.

    For those that can commit the Nub’s Nob Ski Academy enables youngsters from 7-14 to take part in eight weekly lessons. Cross-country skiing lessons are available on the same basis but for youngsters aged 5-15.

    Off the Slopes

    While there is no on-mountain lodging at Nub’s Nob Ski Area two nearby developments at Trout Creek and Land Masters have a selection of family-friendly condos, which are serviced by a free shuttle bus to and from the mountain. Some of the condos on the Land Masters site additionally have ski-in ski-out access via the orange lift.

    What we love about Nub’s Nob Ski Area

    • A larger resort with a good variety of easy terrain
    • There is a free beginner’s area with a lift and magic carpet which don’t require a lift ticket
    • Cross-country and skiing lessons are available for kids aged 7+
    • Some lodging is ski-in ski-out

    Nub’s Nob Ski Area Stats

    Summit Elevation:1338 ft / 408 metres
    Skiable terrain: 248 acres
    Lifts:10
    Runs:53

    5. Snow Snake

    skiresort5

    Family Skiing

    Snow Snake is a small ski resort located close to the town of Harrison in Clare County, Michigan, and is approximately 170 miles northwest of Detroit. It’s operated as a winter sports resort in the winter months and carries through into the warmer months with the golf course.

    There are two lifts and 17 shorter runs on the mountain, as well as a tubing run and two terrain parks. One of the terrain parks features a double C-box, a t-style rail, and a beginner rainbow. The terrain parks are open to snowboarders and skiers.

    Snow Snake has adequate runs for kids or older skiers to learn the initial stages of skiing, where the slopes are easier and there are no distractions of a larger resort.

    Fun for Kids

    Snow Snake is a great place to learn to ski or snowboard and all the instructors are PSIA/AASI certified. Lessons start for kids aged 6+, and progress to lessons for first-timers, beginners, intermediates, and advanced levels.

    Lessons can be booked over weekends, holidays, and some weekday nights. The resort has a tradition of offering free lessons on Sundays during January. These classes are naturally popular, and they must be booked in advance.

    Off the Slopes

    Harrison and the surrounding towns host a variety of budget and mid-priced hotels and inns. The resort also offers an inclusive package of lift tickets and lodging at the nearby Doherty Hotel in the beautiful town of Clare.

    What we love about Snow Snake

    • A smaller day resort, ideal for beginners of any age
    • A tubing run and two terrain parks offer variety on the slopes
    • The resort has a ski and stays offer with the nearby Doherty Hotel in Clare

    Snow Snake Stats

    Summit Elevation:1230 ft / 375 metres
    Skiable terrain: 40 acres
    Lifts:6
    Runs:12

    4. Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl

    Ski Resort 4

    Family Skiing

    Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl is situated in the city of Grand Haven, which is located on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan and is known for its sandy beaches. Gerald R. Ford International Airport is close by in Grand Rapids, making international connections straightforward.

    Since 2009 Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl has been operated as a not-for-profit association. The passion and commitment of donors and volunteers have enabled them to raise enough funds to build a new lodge, a storage barn, a groomer, snow guns, as well as maintenance equipment to keep everything running smoothly.

    The ski area consists of six slopes with adjoining trails, five rope tows, and 7 acres of open terrain for skiing and boarding. The highest elevation is 1300 ft (396 m) and the longest run is 700 ft. (213 m). The entire ski area is floodlit for night-time skiing and the resort offers a membership freestyle club.

    Fun for Kids

    Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl offers private ski and snowboard lessons throughout the season from Thursdays to Sundays. Group lessons are available for all ages starting from 4 years+ and these lessons are usually spread over six weeks. The price of the lessons does not include the lift ticket. Rental of ski equipment is also possible on site.

    Off the Slopes

    Nearby Grand Haven has plenty of reasonably priced lodging in B & B’s and hotels. Additionally, condos and townhouses are available for private rental through Air B&B and VRBO.

    What we love about Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl

    • Good road communication and a nearby airport
    • Good customer service as the resort is operated as a not-for-profit
    • An excellent resort for beginners with floodlit night-time skiing

    Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl Stats

    Summit Elevation:700 ft / 213 metres
    Skiable terrain: 10 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:6

    3. Treetops Resort

    skiresort3

    Family Skiing

    First opened in 1954, Treetops Resort manages to pack in 23 straightforward ski runs and 9 miles of cross-country ski trails in its 80 acres of skiable terrain. The marked cross-country trails are a great way to take in the local wildlife and natural springs, as you pass through the woodland.

    The cross-country trail can also be upgraded to a family Skiable Feast, where you must work for your meal, as you stop off at five attended food and drink stations along the trail.

    Treetops Resort has been designed as a great destination to learn to ski as a family, as the skiable area is compact and difficult to get lost in.

    There are numerous family activities outside of the slopes too, such as wilderness sleigh rides through the forest pulled by a team of horses, tubing, and dogsledding, pulled behind a team of 10 enthusiastic dogs.

    Fun for Kids

    Lessons are well organized, starting with a beginner package for ages 13+. The lesson lasts for one hour and aims to get a complete beginner able to ski green runs and feel comfortable taking the chair lift. Private lessons are organized for ages 3-6, on skis or snowboards, with concessions for midweek bookings.

    A family lesson for skiing or snowboarding is available for families of between four and six, where the instructor will spend most of their time coaching the least experienced. Kids ages 6 and under always ski for free at Treetops resort.

    Off the Slopes

    The Treetops Resort offers lodging in family rooms, that all have a refrigerator and microwave. For dining on-site, there are five different options, and residents can also make use of the indoor swimming pool and hot tub. The nearby town of Gaylord additionally offers several economies, chain hotels, and motels for those who prefer to stay off-site.

    What we love about Treetops Resort

    • The ski area is compact, so it’s unlikely anyone will get lost
    • Numerous family activities available on top of skiing and snowboarding
    • On-site lodging in family rooms with access to a swimming pool and hot tub, along with several dining options

    Treetops Resort Stats

    Summit Elevation:1345 ft / 409 metres
    Skiable terrain: 80 acres
    Lifts:5
    Runs:23

    2. Norway Mountain

    Ski Resort 2

    Family Skiing

    Named after the small, local town of Norway, Norway Mountain is in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, just east of the Wisconsin border. It’s a small resort with 160 skiable acres but considering its small size it offers a good variety of beginner and intermediate runs.

    The Lodge was refurbed in 2014 and the resort has a reputation as a friendly family place to stay. Reasonably priced but limited ski-in ski-out lodging is also available on the mountain.

    The resort has six lifts, 17 runs (6 beginners and 6 intermediate), and two terrain parks, one more difficult than the other. The highest peak is at 9459 feet (2883 m), which leads to a 4505 ft (1373 m) vertical drop. There are 2 miles of marked cross-country skiing trails lower down.

    Fun for Kids

    Norway Mountain has the unusual claim to fame of having the largest number of certified ski instructors in the Upper Peninsula. The upside of this fact is that it makes it possible for class sizes to be kept smaller. For kids, group lessons are for ages 13 and over with a maximum group size of six and lasting for 90 minutes.

    For those wanting more individual attention, there are also similar classes in groups of three or private one-to-one lessons as well.

    Off the Slopes

    Norway and the surrounding towns offer a range of lodging from economy to more luxury. There are inns, and hotels, along with numerous cabin and condo rentals. A free shuttle bus operates from Norway and local towns to Norway Mountain.

    What we love about Norway Mountain

    • Good variety of beginner and intermediate runs
    • Family-friendly lodging, which was recently refurbished
    • If you lodge off the resort a free shuttle bus will help you get around

    Norway Mountain Stats

    Summit Elevation:1335 ft / 406 metres
    Skiable terrain: 186 acres
    Lifts:6
    Runs:17

    1. Boyne Highlands

    Boyne Highlands
    Photo by Rachel Kramer licensed under CC BY 2.0

    Family Skiing

    The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is a continual draw for tourists, flanked by Lake Huron and Lake Michigan for summer visitors, while the Huron Mountains offer a variety of sports during the winter.

    The regional airports of Harbor Springs, Pellston Regional, and Traverse City Cherry Capital are all serviced by the major domestic airline carriers.

    There are two Boyne ski resorts on the Lower Peninsula, Boyne Mountain, and Boyne Highlands, which are about 30 miles apart and managed by the same company. Boyne Highlands is slightly larger with 435 acres and a vertical drop of 552 ft (168 m).

    Boyne Mountain has livelier nightlife, while Boyne Highlands is more relaxed and low-key. Both resorts have activities beyond skiing including zip lines, winter horse trails, tubing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

    Fun for Kids

    Kids from the age of 3-12 can take part in lessons offered by experienced instructors who are fully certified. The resort uses an award-winning technique to get first-timers confident on their skis. Called Terrain Based Learning the system uses shaped snow features to control skiers’ speed and posture. This leaves the skier feeling in control which in turn alleviates fears and anxieties.

    Classes are available for individuals or groups of similar ability and the resort also offers a flexible family lesson to enable the family to learn together. Additionally, cross-country skiing lessons are available for ages 7+.

    Off the Slopes

    There is plenty of choice of lodging from upmarket hotel rooms and condos with full kitchens to home rentals. Other chalets and condos located around the resort are designed with an Alpine theme. The Main Lodge Hotel epitomizes luxury if you’re in search of indulgence.

    What we love about Boyne Highlands

    • Easy to get to with good roads and nearby airports
    • The ski school uses its own learning system
    • Plenty of resort lodging and an upmarket hotel in the Main Lodge

    Boyne Highlands Stats

    Summit Elevation:1290 ft / 393 metres
    Skiable terrain: 435 acres
    Lifts:10
    Runs:55

    Why Choose Michigan for Skiing

    Michigan is ranked only second to New York State for the number of ski areas in the US and it has the highest vertical drop in the Midwest. The variety of resorts is wide, from budget family destinations such as not-for-profit Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl to the luxury and convenience of The Homestead Resort. In most resorts, you’ll find plenty of runs to keep beginners happy, along with more challenging intermediate runs. Lessons are a given in most resorts and some even offer beginner areas where kids don’t need a lift ticket. As a family vacation destination throughout the year, Michigan is also fortunate to have great road and air connections.

    How Did We Order This List?

    To help rank our top selection of ski resorts for this list we compared the following ranking factors:

    👨‍👩‍👦 Ranking Factor📈 Power to affect Rank
    Amount of Beginner Trails (Mi) 4x
    Amount of Skiing Area (Mi) 3x
    Cost of two adult tickets + child ticket1x
    How many magic carpet lifts1x

    We gave each factor its own weighting depending on how important we feel it is for family fun across all ages. For example, a resort with more beginner trails is higher ranked than a resort with a lower-priced family ticket – with all else being equal. That’s because while cost is a factor, it’s not a primary one. We may also use our editorial judgment to remove or add resorts that we believe should make the list.

    When taking all of this into account, it gives us our awesome list above. We hope it was helpful in planning your next family ski vacation.


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    Best Ski Resorts for Families In Michigan

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