Still time to strap these on!

Still time to strap these on!

Although daffodils are poking their little, bright yellow heads up in certain parts of the country, there are still plenty of snow and skiing options available in northern Michigan. Snow doesn’t melt in these parts until late in the Spring and there are lots of advantages to planning one more ski weekend before Spring truly arrives.

If you want to get in a few more runs, there are several amazing ski resorts you can visit to enjoy and there is nothing like skiing along on a ski run with the warm spring sunshine making it a perfect day. Warm spring days are not the only advantage to spring skiing however. There will be fewer people on the slopes, instructors are not overwhelmed with students and will be available, restaurants are less crowded making it easier to enjoy your meals, you can really enjoy the pool and hot tub without freezing when you get out, but possibly the best reason of all for spring skiing – the prices!

Special deals on accommodations are often available and this is the perfect time to stop in the ski shop and pick up some great deals on ski clothes, goggles, and other necessities at great prices. So if you didn’t get quite enough skiing this winter, check out one of these lovely resorts and make a reservation for this weekend before those pesky daffodils start appearing in Michigan as well!

1. Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, Michigan. With plenty of wonderful accommodation choices from hotel rooms to roomy, 5 bedroom mountain townhomes, Crystal Mountain can accommodate any size group at this beautiful, all season resort.Our family has stayed in the charming Cottages at Waters Edge and a Mountainside Townhome and we loved both. The cottages are near the spa and restaurants but the townhomes are more private so they both have their advantages. Both locations have full kitchens which are great when you are traveling with a family.

 

Cottage-at-Crystal-MountainIn addition to 50 downhill slopes for all skiing levels, the resort offers dog sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, fat tire biking, ice skating and hockey, and horse-drawn surrey rides, so you certainly won’t be bored here. Fat tire biking is especially interesting and unusual – and not easy at all! Make sure you are a good bike rider before you try this fun but challenging experience. My husband and I spent an afternoon snowshoeing through pristine snow at the Michigan Legacy Art Park which was an incredible experience.

The beautiful Michigan Art Legacy Park

The beautiful Michigan Art Legacy Park

Our entire family also took ski lessons one day which is a must for the first time skier.

Our grown daughter learning to ski for the first time.

Our grown daughter learning to ski for the first time.

 

Our grandson has his first ski lesson too.

Our grandson has his first ski lesson too.

The 18,500 square foot Crystal Spa is gorgeous and offers any amenity you can possibly imagine – it’s the perfect place to pamper yourself after a day on the slopes! Be sure to plan a meal at the Thistle Pub and Grille and try one of their assortment of locally brewed craft beers.

2. Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Michigan. One of Michigan’s premier all season resorts, Boyne Highlands also offers a variety of accommodations from hotel rooms to 4 bedrooms townhomes and rental houses. My Sister in Law and I recently stayed in a very comfortable room in the Main Lodge which was very convenient as it is in the same building with the main dining room where they offer a full, hot breakfast including an omelet station and waffle station – my favorites!

The Main Lodge at Boyne Highlands

The Main Lodge at Boyne Highlands

 

Fresh waffles at Boyne Highlands.

Fresh waffles at Boyne Highlands.

With 55 runs of varying difficulty they can accommodate all skiers, from beginners to experts on their beautiful snowy slopes. They also offer dog sledding, tubing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, and relaxing in their heated outdoor pool and hot tub.  This was the first place I ever tried relaxing in an outdoor hot tub and couldn’t believe how comfortable it was even though it was freezing outside and actually snowing!

The heated pool at Boyne Highlands.

The heated pool at Boyne Highlands.

It’s an experience everyone should try. I tried cross-country skiing here for the first time and found it to be quite a challenge! The Spa at Boyne Highlands is a lovely respite after a day of skiing – try a relaxing pedicure like we did. Boyne Highlands has several restaurants but be sure to check out their amazing Cafeteria. This is not your typical cafeteria fare but rather offers everything from fresh soup in bread bowls to a fresh pasta bar to a fresh deli sandwich to an ice cream bar – you have to try it out! The Zoo Bar also has great sandwiches and the best hot chocolate around.

3. Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Michigan. Treetops is smaller than the other resorts with 23 runs but it is a lovely, friendly resort which also offers very nice accommodations from lodge and inn rooms up to 3 bedroom townhomes and houses.

View from our balcony at Treetops

View from our balcony at Treetops

We recently stayed in a very comfortable lodge room which came complete with a roomy sitting area furnished with a couch and chairs, along with a nice flat screen television, a dining area and kitchenette, and a jetted tub which was truly the biggest tub I have ever seen. It was perfect to relax in after a day on the slopes! The lovely spa at Treetops offers a variety of treatments including massages, which I enjoyed during our visit. In addition to skiing, Treetops offers tubing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, dog sledding, sleigh rides, ice skating, snowmobiling, fat tire biking, and cross-country skiing. We had a great experience snowshoeing in a local, deserted, former safari park where we were the only people for miles around and the snow was perfect.

Snowshoeing at Treetops

Snowshoeing at Treetops

Treetops has several restaurants and we had a delicious pizza one night from The Sports Bar and a light dinner another night of an amazing cheese bisque soup.

Cheese Bisque Soup at The Sports Bar.

Cheese Bisque Soup at The Sports Bar.

4. Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor, Michigan. The only ski resort we have visited in Michigan located on one of the great lakes, the Homestead Resort is perched on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan.

Registration area at Homestead

Registration area at Homestead

Arranged in a unique series of lovely neighborhoods, Homestead offers an array of accommodations from rooms in a historic inn to luxurious, 5 bedroom homes all placed in different locations from beach front to the woods. We stayed in a charming Loft Level Suite at Little Belle with a separate living room with a fireplace and a large bedroom with a huge jacuzzi tub. A great location, Little Belle was just a short walk from Nonna’s Ristorante where we had some amazing Italian food and Lilyjade, the salon where I had a wonderful pedicure. It was also a short drive from Spa Amira, the tiny spa at the resort with an astonishingly beautiful view of the lake. My husband and I relaxed here with wonderful massages after a day in the snow.

Snowy scene at Homestead

Snowy scene at Homestead

With 15 runs, Homestead was the smallest of the ski resorts we visited but also one of the most family friendly with a focus on gentle, beginner slopes. They also offer ice skating, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing.

5. Crooked River Lodge in Alanson, Michigan. Crooked River Lodge is the only location we visited that does not actually have downhill skiing on the premises, but because it is located only 20 minutes from the slopes at Boynes Highlands, I decided to include it.

Crooked River Lodge

Crooked River Lodge

It’s a great winter destination because of the accommodations, indoor pool, free hot breakfast included with your stay, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing available on the property at no charge. The Lodge has a variety of accommodations from standard rooms to the plush River View Suite which sleeps up to 12 guests. Located on the Crooked River, most of the lodge rooms and suites have views of the river which is especially beautiful on a snowy winter day. We recently stayed in a spa room which had a huge jacuzzi tub and small kitchen complete with a stove top – perfect for families who want to warm up some soup or hot chocolate!

The cozy lobby at Crooked River Lodge

The cozy lobby at Crooked River Lodge

We spent an afternoon snowshoeing around the property and enjoying the chilly view of the river.

Snowshoeing at Crooked River Lodge

Snowshoeing at Crooked River Lodge

Crooked River Lodge is owned by Stafford’s Hospitality which also owns some other properties in the area, including several restaurants. You should make time to have dinner at The Pier Restaurant and the Weathervane Restaurant, both of which are located nearby. My husband and I dined at both and I can’t say enough about the quality of the meals we had. From the freshest fruit we have ever tasted to the most delicious entrees you can imagine, every bite was wonderful.

So, remember, it’s not too late to get in a ski trip before Spring has sprung!

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