With more than 40 ski resorts and areas, Michigan has an abundance of opportunities for fun in the snow. Although many of them are noteworthy, Ski Brule is high on our list of family-friendly resorts in the Upper Peninsula. Located in Iron City, just a few miles from the Wisconsin border, the ski resort has everything from skiing and snow tubing to kids’ programs and club discounts. It’s even open in the summer (though not for skiing)! Here’s everything that you need to know about the Ski Brule Michigan ski resort in Iron City to plan the perfect trip.
Getting to Know Ski Brule Michigan Ski Resort
With 150 acres of skiable terrain, Ski Brule is a premier ski resort in the middle of 3,000 acres in the Upper Peninsula. Since 1977, the resort has provided quality, affordable winter family fun, which was the promise that the founder, George, made.
Ski Brule has remained under the same family management all this time, which is longer than any other ski resort in the country. As the years have passed, though, the family and staff have added promises to be the friendliest and most outgoing resort with an array of activities.
Getting an annual average of 150 inches of snow, the Ski Brule Michigan ski resort elevation starts at 1,360 feet and rises to 1,860 feet, which means that the Ski Brule vertical drop is 500 feet. It has 17 trails that are suited for all skill levels — four for beginners, eight for intermediate skiers, three for advanced skiers, and one for experts. One trail is for snowmobiling, and there are three terrain parks and two terrain trails too.
All 11 lifts take you up the hill to the same general point, and the trails spread out from there. You can see the layout of everything on this Ski Brule map.
For all of these reasons, you’ll find such glowing reviews of Ski Brule online. In fact, the Detroit Free Press listed the resort as one of the top 10 Michigan downhill ski resorts in 2016. For 2020, PlanetWare and SnowPak included it on their lists of top ski resorts in the state.
1. Making and Grooming the Best Snow
The snow itself is another reason why Ski Brule stands out among the many other Michigan ski resorts. Once the resort starts making snow (when the temperature drops into the teens and humidity is low), it doesn’t stop. Constant snow-making and grooming allow the resort to be the first open and the last to close for the season.
The earliest that Ski Brule has opened is Oct. 24, the latest it has closed is May 15, and its longest skiing and snowboarding season is 182 days. Depending on the weather, the resort aims to open by Nov. 8 and stay open for as long as possible.
Even with state-of-the-art equipment, it takes a team of experienced and knowledgeable people to make and groom the snow at Ski Brule. They use a few trade secrets, too, ensuring that you can’t tell the difference between their snow and the snow that Mother Nature makes. When the conditions are ideal, the resort can have enough snow on a trail for skiing and snowboarding in just 24 hours.
2. Ski Brule Snow Activities
The fun that you can have in the Ski Brule Michigan snow is almost endless. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to go skiing and snowboarding. The Homestead side of the hill has the best slopes for families. The cruising terrain features an 1800’s homestead, spruce trees, open meadows, and the Brule River.
Ski Brule is a favorite destination for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing because of the rolling and wooded terrain. The three terrain parks offer fun and diverse terrain, and they have a progressive design so that you can learn and develop your skills as you glide down the hill. Many visitors say that it has the best tabletops, quarter-pipe, and half-pipe in the Midwest.
Fat tire biking has grown in popularity as a winter sport, and the bike trails at Ski Brule run around the base of the mountain. Additionally, the resort has direct access to the snowmobile trail system, which stretches for 3,000 miles across the Upper Peninsula.
Something that not all ski resorts offer is snow tubing, and Ski Brule has two tubing parks — Whitewater and Homestead — that are suitable for all ages. Sleigh rides are also available on some occasions.
3. Equipment Is Available to Rent or Buy
No matter what you want to do at Ski Brule, you can rent all of the equipment that you need at the Rental Center. It has skis, snowboards, snowshoes, fat-tire bikes, boots, and helmets for kids and adults. The changing area gives you plenty of room to get ready for the slopes, and there are lockers for storing personal items.
If you prefer to purchase your own gear, visit Bear’s Den Pro Shop. The friendly staff can help you choose the best equipment for the activities that you want to do. If you have gear that needs a tune-up, stop by the Tech Shop. The experienced, Marker-certified and Salomon-certified technicians can mount bindings, sharpen, wax, and repair your winter sports equipment.
4. Children’s Programs & Child Care
Are you a parent who wants to introduce your child to skiing and snowboarding? Ski Brule can help. From just 4 years old, kids can learn the basics in a fun way at the Kids Center. The teachers use games during the ski lessons, so they don’t notice that they’re learning how to ski. The basics are just a natural part of the excitement. Kids who are more skilled can join intermediate or advanced lessons.
If your kid is too young or wants a different experience, child care is available for children aged 1 year and older. Ski Brule offers indoor and outdoor activities to keep kids entertained, including face painting, storytime, arts and crafts, and STEM activities.
5. Ski Brule Michigan Summer Activities
The snow isn’t the only thing to experience at Ski Brule. The resort is surrounded by beautiful rivers and lakes, making it a wonderful destination for a summer vacation. For instance, you can go canoeing, kayaking, or fishing on one of the nearby bodies of water. Also, there are several golf courses that offer scenic views of the Upper Peninsula. The staff can help you arrange tee times.
The shooting grounds at Ski Brule feature a half-mile sporting clays course. This game involves shooting clay targets that mimic the flight patterns of pigeons or the movements of rabbits. Sporting clays is an ideal activity for hunting season preparations, and there are several acres of hunting grounds in the area.
6. Lodging Options at Ski Brule
You can complete your getaway experience by booking a vacation rental directly online or instantly near Ski Brule. The bookings are made through Brule Valley Management. Keep in mind that online midweek bookings aren’t available, but you can call to make a reservation. It’s beneficial to take a look at the resort’s lodging packages beforehand as well.
There are many vacation rentals around Ski Brule, Iron River, so you can find a vacation rental with a pool near the resort if that’s your preference. Brule Village has many different options, including chalets, condos, and an entire lodge. Ski Brule lodging options can accommodate four to 16 people, and some of them are pet-friendly. All of them are fully furnished with microwaves, outdoor gas grills, cookware and tableware, bed and bathroom linens, and free wireless internet.
Outside of Ski Brule, there are several lodging options to choose from. For example, the AmericInn Lodge & Suites Iron River is a midscale hotel. The Lake View Home is an Airbnb vacation home with an excellent view of Ice Lake.
7. Ski Brule Dining Options
All of the summer and winter activities at Ski Brule will build up your appetite, and you have a few dining options. The Brule Cafe is a great place to start the day with breakfast. However, it continues to serve lunch with sandwiches, pizzas, homemade soups, and other Upper Peninsula favorites.
At the Brule Saloon, you can order cold and hot beverages all day and late-night munchies after a long day on the slopes. The saloon’s Hillside Dining room serves appetizers, salads and soups, pizzas, and Italian dishes in the evenings.
The Homestead Lodge offers a unique dining experience in a 19th-century building. It’s decorated with antiques and vintage photos. Typically, the lodge serves lunch until 4 p.m. On Saturdays and special occasions, though, it serves an all-you-can-eat barbecue dinner alongside live entertainment.
8. Shopping for Souvenirs
If you want souvenirs of your Ski Brule Michigan vacation, stop by the Golden Bear Gift Shop before you leave. It has an assortment of branded apparel, accessories, gourmet chocolates, giant lollipops, and children’s toys. The shop is open on the weekends and holidays.
9. The Friends & Neighbors Club
Do you want discounts on your Ski Brule lodging, dining, rentals, and shopping? Join the Friends & Neighbors Club. It’s easy and free to sign up for the loyalty program online, over the phone, or when you arrive. The club makes it easy to have an affordable family ski vacation.
10. Events Throughout the Year
Since Ski Brule offers activities all year, it hosts several events. You can plan your vacation to join these special activities. There’s a Super Bowl Bash in February and Anniversary Celebration in March. Later in the year, there’s a Thanksgiving Dinner, Santa Visits in December, and a New Year’s Eve Celebration. Each event features various activities.
More Things to Experience in Iron River and Throughout Michigan
The Ski Brule Michigan resort isn’t the only attraction in Iron River. You could check out the Iron County Historical Museum and hike the Apple Blossom Trail or Iron County Heritage Trail. Across the Upper Peninsula, there are several frozen waterfalls to explore and more family-friendly winter vacation spots. There are lots of fun things to do in winter in Michigan!