The first snowfall of winter ushers in one of the most exciting seasons of the year… Ski season! Skiing and snowboarding combine exercise and fun while providing a connection with nature during the winter months. Crystal MountainHickory Hills, and Mt. Holiday are the forefront ski resorts in the TC area. All three of the resorts offer ski and snowboard rental equipment so you can get suited up on-site, as well as lessons so you can learn your sport of choice or perfect your skills. 

Crystal Mountain is the largest ski resort in the area, located about forty-five minutes southwest of Traverse City in Thompsonville, MI. Crystal boasts eight lifts and 59 trails, making it an impressive Northern Michigan downhill ski destination. In addition to being a skier’s dream, it also offers a myriad of winter recreational activities so you can truly immerse yourself in a Nordic ski vacation. At Crystal Mountain, you can embark on a fat tire biking adventure, experience a horse-drawn surrey ride, try snowshoeing, and even go ice skating! If downhill skiing isn’t your jam, Crystal also has a twenty-five-kilometer network of cross-country ski trails. Once you’re off of the slopes, there are a variety of dining and shopping options to explore. From fine dining at The Thistle to the one-stop-shop Mountain Market to the premier Après location at Vista Lounge, there’s always something to satisfy your cravings. Browse the Peak Boutique and Kinlochen Shop for activewear and apparel and take the kiddos to the Water’s Edge Shop for unique mementos and fun toys.

Skiing at Crystal

Hickory Hills is located just west of Downtown Traverse City and offers sixteen runs; beginner to advanced terrain, all powered by tow rope beside the bunny hill with a conveyor lift for learners. Mt. Holiday is also located in Traverse City, near East Grand Traverse Bay. Mt. Holiday provides beginner to advanced slopes with sixteen runs and both chairlifts and a tow rope. Holiday also has tubing which is a whirlwind of winter fun for the whole family! Hickory Hills and Mt. Holiday epitomize the homegrown, local ski experience with their rich histories that bring the community together. Founded in 1952 and 1949 respectively, both ski areas have been cornerstones of Traverse City for over seventy years. Each area has its own non-profit organization that was created by citizens who came together to preserve and improve their beloved ski hills; a testament to their value within the community.

Crystal Mountain, Mt. Holiday, and Hickory Hills offer ski and snowboard lessons and programs in different capacities, so you can dive into a new sport or hone your skills while learning safely with professionals. Crystal Mountain provides kids and adults group lessons and private lessons for all ages and abilities, as well as an after-school program for local students. In addition to downhill ski lessons, they have cross-country ski lessons. Hickory Hills is home to the Grand Traverse Ski Club, which hosts weekly developmental clinics and race clinics all season long. GTSC also offers private lessons and opportunities to join ski racing teams. Mt. Holiday has a Ski and Board School with lessons that are 1.5 hours long and include your lift ticket for the day. Holiday also has its own ski racing program, Holiday Race Team. With so many ways to get involved in the world of skiing this winter, you are bound to find the perfect fit for you and your family.

Winter skiing at Mt. Holiday

The beauty of both skiing and snowboarding is that they are lifelong sports that can be enjoyed across generations. As a former racer and avid skier myself, I am eager to create a passion for winter sports in Northern Michigan. One of my most treasured memories from my childhood was a ski vacation taken with my entire family, during which I skied with my siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins of all ages. I realized then that the time spent with your loved ones while doing something you share a love for is priceless. There aren’t many activities that a five-year-old, a seventy-five-year-old, and all ages in between can do together, but skiing is special. This winter, bring your friends and family together and make the memories that will last a lifetime. Buy your season passes, make sure your boots and helmets fit, and don’t forget to shred the gnar!

Start planning your winter getaway!