10 Breathtaking Places to Go Snowboarding and Skiing near Detroit
By Kay Rodriguez
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Updated June 24, 2021
While most may not think of Detroit as an outdoor adventure hotspot, there are a surprising number of fantastic resorts for skiing and snowboarding in the metro Detroit area and within driving distance. Winters in the Midwest can be brutal, but these ski resorts near Detroit are the perfect way to enjoy the cold weather and enjoy some adrenaline-inducing terrain. We created this guide to the best places for snowboarding and skiing near Detroit so you can get out and enjoy the slopes this winter!
If you’re looking for a quick winter getaway, Alpine Valley is a great spot for snowboarding and skiing near Detroit. With around 25 trails spanning easy greens to double black diamond challenge terrain, Alpine Valley caters to all levels of skiers and riders. Despite its small size, about a third of the trails are specifically for advanced/expert athletes! Because it’s less than 1 hour from the city, it’s a great spot for a quick day trip or even a post-work ski session.
Despite being one of the smaller resorts on our list, Pine Knob‘s 17 trails offer a lot of variety in a smaller resort. There are trails suitable for all levels here, but it’s truly a mountain that appeals more to skiers and riders with some experience under their belts.
With the majority of trails rated as blue, black diamond, or double black diamond, you’ll find more challenge here than in most ski resorts in southeastern Michigan. They’re also open until 10 PM for night skiing every night of the week except Sundays, so it’s a convenient spot for skiing after work or during the evening hours, too. During the summer months, Pine Knob turns into a concert venue that hosts musicians from around the world, so needless to say, it’s a pretty unique spot!
As one of the most beloved hills in the area, Mt. Brighton is one of the best and most convenient ski resorts near Detroit. While it’s not a huge mountain, it’s a fantastic spot to get a quick ski/ride session in or for first-timers and beginners to learn how to navigate the slopes. Mt. Brighton is beloved by locals for being a friendly learning environment that has excellent service and is well maintained.
With a front side largely catered to beginner and intermediate skiers, it’s a fantastic option for leveling up and getting more experience under your belt that’s close to the city. The back side of the mountain has more black diamond and double black diamond runs, which are great for more seasoned practitioners.
Another beloved local place for snowboarding skiing near Detroit is Mt. Holly. It’s on the smaller side of the ski resorts near Detroit, with just 20 trails, but it’s got a little bit of everything, from an entire dedicated learning area for beginners to some more advanced runs and terrain parks for those looking for a bit more thrill.
Largely geared to beginner and intermediate skiers and riders, it’s a great place to level up and gain more experience without going too far from the city. As with most resorts, there are great programs for learning to ski or ride here, as well as rentals and a sizable indoor lodge area. Many regulars enjoy coming back to this resort because of its well-groomed slopes, and many state that it’s their favorite snow sports area in southeastern Michigan.
Located about 2.5 hours from the metro Detroit area, Bittersweet Ski is a wonderful winter getaway for families and groups with a variety of skill levels. Boasting 21 trails largely catering to beginner and intermediate skiers, Bittersweet is a great place to learn skiing or riding and gain more experience to step up your game.
Many locals continue to return here because they grew up skiing or riding on the resort’s hills, which are typically well-groomed and maintained. Bittersweet has also got a spacious lodge where you can grab a bite or take a break from the slopes.
Clocking in at nearly 3.5 hours each way, Caberfae Peaks is definitely not the closest of the ski resorts near Detroit on our list. However, we’ve included it on here because it’s an absolutely wonderful and beloved choice for skiing and snowboarding near Detroit. With its location in Michigan’s “snowbelt,” there’s no shortage of fresh powder here between natural means and its monster of a snow machine.
The resort has 34 ski slopes of all levels with a 485 foot drop, plus an entire backcountry area for experienced skiers and snowboarders to explore. Onsite, there’s a hotel to grab some food or stay for a weekend.
Distance from Detroit: 250 miles (3 hours, 40 minutes)
Accommodation available? Not on site
Experience levels: All levels
For a comprehensive winter sports experience that feels a bit more like a traditional ski resort experience, Shanty Creek is a wonderful place for snowboarding and skiing near Detroit. Shanty Creek’s ski and ride area spans 2 mountains – Schuss and Summit Mountains – and has 55 runs that span all experience levels.
In addition to the downhill options, there are also several Nordic trails for those wanting to do some cross-country skiing. Although it’s close to 4 hours from the Detroit metro area, we’d say this beautiful, well-run resort is well worth the drive to escape the city and enjoy the winter air. Many visitors to the area love Shanty Creek for its fantastic value, with several stating it is their favorite ski resort in lower Michigan.
We wouldn’t suggest you drive close to 4 hours from Detroit without a good reason. Luckily, skiing or snowboarding at Crystal Mountain is a fantastic reason! Here, you’ll find a whopping 58 trails on Crystal Mountain Resort’s grounds, ranging from beginner-friendly bunny hills to monster black diamonds.
When you think of a winter getaway, you probably think of something close to what Crystal Mountain Resort offers. They’ve got hotel rooms and cabins for rent that are suitable for any number of people, plus tons of amenities outside of skiing/snowboarding, like a spa, fitness center, pool, shopping, and dining.
Accommodation available? Yes, at Boyne Highlands Resort
Experience levels: All levels
As one of the larger ski resorts on our list, Boyne Highlands is a favorite local ski and snowboarding recreation area in Michigan. In addition to its 55 trails across 435 skiable acres, the resort is home to the longest ski run in Michigan, at 1.25 miles.
There’s a fairly even spread of trails here for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skiers and riders, meaning it’s a wonderful place for beginners to gain experience and for more experienced folks to enjoy challenging terrain. As a full-service resort, there’s lodging, dining, shopping, and other apres-ski entertainment available on site, making Boyne Highlands a great spot for winter getaways spanning a weekend or even longer.
With 53 well-groomed runs, Nub’s Nob is one of Michigan’s absolute favorite ski resorts. Clocking in at 4 hours from Detroit, it’s a bit of a drive, but the variety of the slopes and the fantastic terrain and conditions of Nub’s Nob make it one of the most coveted winter destinations for snow sports junkies in the Midwest.
The resort’s trails span two mountain faces, the front side and the south side. The front side has mostly intermediate and advanced runs, while the south is home to a complete variety spanning from beginner learning zones to expert-friendly glades. Skiing and snowboarding is the focus here, and you’ll find excellent service and resources for learning at the lodge.
Additional Resources for Snowboarding & Skiing Near Detroit
Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommendthese ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.
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