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11 Michigan Ski Resorts to Book for a Snow-Packed Fun Big Family Vacation

    While Michigan may not be the first place that comes to mind for great skiing, with more than 40 resort areas to choose from in the Great Lake State, Michigan actually finishes second for the total number of ski areas in the U.S. Between the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula, Michigan offers more winter fun than almost any other vacation destination in the country. To help you decide which resort is best for your big family, we’ve consolidated the details of 11 of the best Michigan ski resort for families and compiled a comparison chart.

    Wanda Skiing at Big Powderhorn

    Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Bessemer, Michigan

    Located in the western portion of the Upper Peninsula, Big Powderhorn draws skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. In all, the ski area encompasses 45 trails served by nine double chair lifts, two parks, and 253 acres of skiable terrain. Twelve beginner slopes make the Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort a favorite with families and novice skiers. Children aged 6 and under ski free every day at Big Powderhorn. The resort also offers free lift tickets to kids between the ages of 7 and 9 with the purchase of one adult lift ticket. Getting to Big Powderhorn takes a little over four hours by car from Minneapolis and six and a half hours from Chicago. Just five minutes away from the resort, the Gogebic-Iron County Airport (IWD) offers flights daily. 

    Big Powderhorn Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 45 runs, 253 skiable acres, and 600’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 27% beginner, 40% intermediate, 31% advanced, 2% expert
    • Average Snowfall: 215″
    • Lifts: 10 – 9 double chairs, 1 surface lift
    • Kids Club and Day Care: None available
    • Lessons and Ski School: Beginner (age 9+), Powder Club (ages 6-8), Private
    • Kids Ski Free: 6 and under ski free, one free child (9 and under) with the purchase of a regular adult

    Big Powderhorn Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Big Powderhorn

    Big Powderhorn Ski Vacation Packages

    Winter at its best

    Boyne – The Highlands, Harbor Springs, Michigan

    One of Michigan’s largest and most popular ski locales, Boyne consists of two resort areas — Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain. Both Northern Michigan resort areas attract skiers for their top-notch ski schools and learn-to-ski programs. Along with skiing, Boyne Highlands reserves terrain for snowboarding, ice skating, tubing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. Other popular activities include horseback riding, fat-tire biking, and ziplining. The Pellston Regional Airport serves the resort area for those who prefer not to make the six-hour drive up from Chicago.

    The Highlands Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 53 runs, 435 skiable acres, and 552’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 36% beginner, 31% intermediate, 31% advanced, 2% expert
    • Average Snowfall: 141″
    • Lifts: 10 – 1 high-speed quad, 3 quads, 4 triples, 2 surface lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: No
    • Lessons and Ski School: Adult (ages 13+), Private, Child (ages 4-12)
    • Kids Ski Free: 5 and under ski – $1

    The Highlands Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near The Highlands

    The Highlands Ski Vacation Packages

    Boyne Mountain Resort, Boyne Falls, Michigan

    The other half of the Boyne Resort area, Boyne Mountain, features 60 trails, 415 acres of skiable terrain, 12 lifts (including America’s first high-speed, six-seat chairlift), and plenty of snowmaking. Nearby, the state’s largest indoor waterpark makes Boyne Mountain a popular year-round destination for family vacationers. Overnight guests at the resort’s lodge also receive a complimentary beginners area lift ticket, a perk that attracts families to Boyne Mountain as well. A wide range of accommodations, from rustic cabins to luxury hotel rooms, makes the Boyne ski area the perfect place for a weekend or week-long getaway. Lift tickets, including one-day tickets, are valid at both Boyne Mountain Resort and The Highlands at Harbor Springs.

    Boyne Mountain Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 60 runs, 415 skiable acres, and 500’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 29% beginner, 41% intermediate, 30% advanced
    • Average Snowfall: 140″
    • Lifts: 12 – 1 high-speed sixes, 4 quads, 3 triples, 2 doubles, 2 surface lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: Currently not accepting reservations
    • Lessons and Ski School: Adult (ages 13+), Private, Youth (ages 7-12)
    • Kids Ski Free: Kids 5 and under ski/ride for $1 each day, all season with a paying adult skier or snowboarder

    Boyne Mountain Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Boyne Mountain

    Boyne Mountain Ski Vacation Packages

    There's an Upside and a Downside

    Crystal Mountain Resort, Thompsonville, MI

    Less than two hours drive from Grand Rapids in the northwest part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the Crystal Mountain Resort area routinely pops up on numerous lists of the 10 best family ski resorts in the United States and Canada. Some of the more family-friendly resort features include an indoor pool, an 18,500-square-foot LEED-certified spa, evening campfires, and a large play area for the kids. Their ski school also offers ski and snowboard lessons for children as young as 3 years old, and kids 6 years of age and younger ski for free. Seventy percent of Crystal’s 58 trails are rated as beginner or intermediate. And, for skiers who can’t get enough runs in during the day, Crystal Mountain also has 27 lighted trails for nighttime fun. 

    Crystal Mountain Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 58 runs, 102 skiable acres, and 375’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 22% beginner, 48% intermediate, 30% advanced
    • Average Snowfall: 132″
    • Lifts: 8 – 1 high-speed quad, 3 quads, 2 triples, 2 carpet lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: None available
    • Lessons and Ski School: Adult (ages 13+), Private, Child (3-4, 5-6, 7-12)
    • Kids Ski Free: Kids 6 and under ski free

    Crystal Mountain Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Crystal Mountain

    Crystal Mountain Ski Vacation Packages

    View from Mt. Holly

    Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort, Holly, Michigan

    Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort has an excellent beginner’s area with two rope tows and a magic carpet. One of the state’s smaller resorts with only 100 acres of terrain, Mt. Holly’s location in the southeastern part of Michigan also makes it one of the state’s most convenient ski areas to reach by car from Detroit (less than an hour). Mt. Holly has 16 trails serviced by seven chairlifts and two ropes. While Mt. Holly doesn’t offer many of the amenities found at larger resorts, its easy access from several of the state’s larger population centers, along with reasonable lift ticket and rental rates, make it a hit with families on a budget. 

    Mt. Holly Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 20 runs, 100 skiable acres, and 350’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 14% beginner, 36% intermediate, 50% advanced
    • Average Snowfall: 40″
    • Lifts: 13 – 1 high-speed quad, 2 quads, 3 triples, 1 double, 6 surface lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: None available
    • Lessons and Ski School: Private, Child (ages 3-4, 5-6, 7+,)
    • Kids Ski Free: Children 6 years and under receive half off their lift ticket and ski rentals

    Mt. Holly Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Mt. Holly

    Mt. Holly Ski Vacation Packages

    Jasmine on the ski hill

    Nub’s Nob Ski Resort, Harbor Springs, Michigan

    All the way up at the top of the Lower Peninsula and just minutes from Boyne Highlands, the free beginner’s area at Nub’s Nob attracts families looking to take a stab at the sport for their first time. Kids 8 years old and younger also ski for free at Nub’s Nob, another family-friendly perk. Winner of multiple national awards for their grooming and snowmaking operations, their slopes boast some of the best ski conditions in the state.  All told, the three hills that make up the Nubs Nob Resort area feature 53 trails, 248 acres of skiable terrain (nine experts only, eight most difficult, 21 more difficult, and 15 easy), eight chair lifts, and 315 snowmaking guns. Lodging in the area is easy to find thanks to a mix of over 3,000 rooms at various lodges, hotels, and condominiums within 15 miles of the resort.

    Nub’s Nob Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 53 runs, 248 skiable acres, and 427’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: % beginner, % intermediate, % advanced, % expert
    • Average Snowfall: 123″
    • Lifts: 10 – 3 quad chairs, 4 triple chairs, 2 double chairs, 1 surface lift
    • Kids Club and Day Care: Nub’s Cubs – infant to 12
    • Lessons and Ski School: Private, additional students added at a discounted rate
    • Kids Ski Free: Kids 8 and under ski free with skiing adult

    Nub’s Nob Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Nub’s Nob

    Nub’s Nob Ski Vacation Packages

    Pine Mountain Resort, Iron Mountain, Michigan

    Tucked away in the western Upper Peninsula, right on the Michigan/Wisconsin border, the family-friendly Pine Mountain Resort boasts the tallest man-made ski jump in North America. The ski area features over 30 trails for skiers of all abilities, snowboarding, and night skiing. More than 100 miles of snowmobiling trails snake around Iron Mountain, making the Pine Mountain Resort a popular family destination. Pine Mountain’s unique Moving Mountains Adaptive Program provides certified ski instruction to skiers with disabilities.

    Pine Mountain Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 30 runs, 160 skiable acres, and a 500’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 70 beginner and intermediate, 30% advanced
    • Average Snowfall: 60″
    • Lifts: 4 – 1 triple, 2 doubles, 1 surface lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: None available
    • Lessons and Ski School: Lessons based on six levels of ability
    • Kids Ski Free: Kids 8 and under ski free

    Pine Mountain Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Pine Mountain

    Pine Mountain Ski Vacation Packages

    Run Unknown

    Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek, Mancelona, Michigan

    Set across 5,500 acres, the two distinctive ski areas of Schuss Mountain and Summit Mountain make up the Shanty Creek Ski Area. Families with small children, as well as novice skiers, appreciate the resort’s 60 percent allocation of beginner and intermediate trails. The resort’s three terrain parks have plenty of room for tubing, fat-tire biking, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding. The resort also has a variety of family-friendly eateries and lodgings of all types to choose from. Schuss Mountain is located near the Boyne and Nub’s Nob resorts in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.    

    Schuss Mountain Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 53 runs, 400 skiable acres, and 450’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 36% beginner, 29% intermediate, 36% advanced
    • Average Snowfall: 160″
    • Lifts: 9 – 5 quads, 3 surface lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: None available
    • Lessons and Ski School: Adult (age 13+), Private, Child (ages 5-12)
    • Kids Ski Free: Age 8 and under $5

    Schuss Mountain Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Schuss Mountain

    Schuss Mountain Ski Vacation Packages

    Ski Brule, Iron River, Michigan

    Consistently ranked as one of the Midwest’s best resorts, Ski Brule typically opens earlier and stays open longer than any of the state’s other skiing locales. Along with Mother Nature’s generosity, some of the credit goes to Ski Brule’s exceptional snow-making capabilities, which allow them to generate enough snow in 24 hours to open any one of their 17 runs. Popular family activities at Ski Brule include fat-tire biking, tubing, and sleigh rides. The resort at Ski Brule also offers on-site daycare, specialized children’s lessons, and free skiing for kids under 9 years of age on Sundays. Ski Brule is located on the western Upper Peninsula, about 140 miles north of Green Bay, Wisconsin.

    Ski Brule Details for Families

    • Stats: 17 runs, 150 skiable acres, and 500’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 35% beginner, 35% intermediate, 24% advanced, 6% expert
    • Average Snowfall: 150″
    • Lifts: 11 – 5 chairlifts, 2 t-bars, 3 rope tows, 1 paddle tow
    • Kids Club and Day Care: Childcare for children ages 1 and up.
    • Lessons and Ski School: Private, Child (ages 4-9, 10+)
    • Kids Ski Free: Kids 9 and under ski free

    Ski Brule Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Ski Brule

    Ski Brule Ski Vacation Packages

    The Homestead, Glen Arbor, Michigan

    Another resort located in the northwestern Lower Peninsula, the Homestead ski area offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands from atop its perch on Bay Mountain. Three traditional chair lifts and two beginner lifts — the Magic Carpet and Pony Tow — shuttle skiers up to the mountain’s 15 trails. The Homestead’s location right on Lake Michigan draws families to the resort year-round. Daily lift capacity may be limited, but registered Homestead guests and Beach Club members have guaranteed access to the slopes during operating hours and discounted rates on rental equipment and lift tickets.

    The Homestead Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 15 runs, 16 skiable acres, and 375’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 27% beginner, 47% intermediate, 27% advanced
    • Average Snowfall: 150″
    • Lifts: 5 – 2 triples, 1 double, 2 surface lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: None available
    • Lessons and Ski School: Private and semi-private lessons are available
    • Kids Ski Free: Kids 6 and under ski free

    The Homestead Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near The Homestead

    The Homestead Ski Vacation Packages

    Treetops Resort, Gaylord, Michigan

    Along with skiing and snowboarding, family fun at the Treetops Resort area includes tubing, sleigh rides, and dog sledding. The resort’s “Cool School” package — a family favorite — includes lodging, meals, lift tickets, lessons, and much more at a flat rate price. Plus, kids 6 and younger stay and ski for free with each paid adult. Treetops’ location in the northern Lower Peninsula, less than a three-hour drive from both Grand Rapids and Lansing, makes it popular for day trips as well as weekend or multi-day stays. 

    Treetops Resort Ski Details for Families

    • Stats: 23 runs, 80 skiable acres, and 225’ vertical drop
    • Terrain Overview: 17% beginner, 43% intermediate, 39% advanced
    • Average Snowfall: 176″
    • Lifts: 5 – 3 triples, 2 surface lifts
    • Kids Club and Day Care: None available
    • Lessons and Ski School: Private, Child (ages 3 and up)
    • Kids Ski Free: Kids ages 6 and under ski free

    Treetops Resort Lift Tickets

    Big Family Lodging Near Treetops Resort

    • Big family friendly hotels
    • Vacation rentals in Gaylord, Michigan

    Treetops Resort Ski Vacation Packages

    Compare Michigan Ski Resorts -Kid-Friendly Amenities and Where Kids Ski Free

    Ski AreaSki LessonsDaycareKids Ski Free2022 Adult Price*
    Big PowderhornYesNo6 and under$89
    Boyne-The HighlandsYesNo5 and under – $1$49-102
    Boyne MountainYesNo5 and under – $1$49-101
    Crystal MountainYesNo6 and under$69-99
    Mt. HollyYesNoNo$52-65
    Nub’s NobYesYes8 and under w/adult$50-102
    Pine MountainYesNo8 and under$65
    Schuss MountainYesNo8 and under – $5$36-89
    Ski BruleYesYes9 and under$70
    The HomesteadYesNo6 and under$26-79
    Treetops ResortYesNo6 and under$10-30
    *price varies by day, purchased online vs in-person, other discounts
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    Theresa Jorgensen

    Theresa is the mother of four including twins. She is the owner of SixSuitcaseTravel, a travel site for big families of 5, 6, 7, 8. She enjoys helping other big families build life-long travel memories. Her family's travel bucket list includes Washington, DC (done!), Yellowstone (done!), London, and anywhere in the Caribbean.