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10 Best Places to Downhill Ski in Southern Michigan

In wintertime, there is no shortage of downhill skiing opportunities in the great state of Michigan. While there are numerous Michigan ski resorts and plenty of snow in the Upper Peninsula as well as the northern half of the Lower Peninsula, southern Michigan also has plenty of great spots if you’re looking to hit the slopes.

Believe it or not, the entire state has more than four dozen ski areas with more than 200 lifts and roughly 1,000 runs. So if you’re a downhill skier, Michigan is the place to be in winter. Not only will you find great skiing, but you’ll be taken by the beauty that is Pure Michigan and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you’re looking for the best places to downhill ski in southern Michigan, we’re ready to help you find “where to downhill ski near me”!

Downhill Skiing in Central Michigan

You don’t have to venture to Northern Michigan or the Upper Peninsula to enjoy downhill skiing this winter – in fact, chances are there’s a Michigan ski resort within a few hours from your front door!

Did you know? In the United States, Michigan actually has the second most ski areas of any state, and Mid-Michigan is the first place you’ll want to stop and pull out all your ski gear if you’re trying to stay closer to home this winter.

If you’ve visited some of the popular skiing areas in the Upper Peninsula or Northern Michigan and you’re looking to ski closer to home this winter, you may wonder if there are any good spots to ski in the southern Lower Peninsula. Fear not, because there are several places you can go to hit the slopes!

Mulligan's Hollow Ski Bowl, Grand Haven - Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl | photo via @greatlakessurfgrom

Snow Snake Resort in Harrison

If you’re planning on experiencing Pure Michigan this winter, start in central Michigan at Snow Snake Resort in Harrison. Since 1949, it’s been one of Michigan’s most popular destinations for tubing and skiing.

While some may consider it to be across the line of what is “Up North,” we’re including this mid-Michigan ski resort on our list of the best places to ski in southern Michigan.

There you’ll find 10 runs, six lifts, and numerous terrain features. Weather permitting, the ski season runs from November to March, so if you like skiing, you’ll have plenty of time to visit. After all, there’s no better way to spend a bright, chilly winter day than by hitting the slopes and Snow Snake is one of the perfect places to do just that.

Ski Resorts in West Michigan

If you’re a resident of Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, or Grand Haven, there are plenty of places along US-131 you can visit for a weekend of fun or just to get in some mid-week turns. With lake effect snow coming off of Lake Michigan, there’s no shortage of ski slopes to explore on Michigan’s west side.

Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl in Grand Haven

Check out Grand Haven’s Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl. There you’ll find a ski bowl on the site of a former World War II boot camp. It’s home to six different trails and offers plenty of fun right along the lakeshore. It’s a great place for families too, as parents ski free with their kids. Mulligan’s also features six runs and a 130-foot vertical drop.

Mulligan's Hollow Ski Bowl, Grand Haven - Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl | photo via @sandwickphotography

Cannonsburg Ski Area in Belmont

If you’re looking to get out and hit the slopes around Grand Rapids, you can find great spots just outside of downtown. Cannonsburg Ski Area features 21 different runs for a range of skill levels.

The longest run there is 1,500 feet and has a 250-foot vertical drop, the longest vertical drop in the area. With a pro shop, a large lodge, and equipment rentals, you’ll find all you need for a day trip or a long weekend.

Cannonsburg also has a program for girls called Mountain Minnies, which encourages young girls to try different snow sports. Once you’re done, you can head into Grand Rapids, where you can find numerous restaurants that are among the most highly rated in the state.

Cannonsburg Ski Area, Belmont - Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Cannonsburg Ski Area | photo via @oliviaxbrierly

Bittersweet Ski Resort in Otsego

Northwest of Kalamazoo, you’ll find the slopes of Bittersweet Resort. It features 21 trails and 350 vertical feet, giving skiers a great mix of terrain. If you’re looking to get your competitive juices flowing, Bittersweet has a ski racing league that’s among the most competitive in the state.

Visitors can rent equipment of all kinds and Bittersweet has great season packages if you’re a frequent skier. This is the perfect place for a quick family trip or if you’re planning a weekend getaway with some close friends.

Bittersweet Ski Resort, Otsego - Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Bittersweet Ski Resort | photo via @hailno_98_photo

Timber Ridge Ski Area in Gobles

If you’re around Kalamazoo, be sure to visit Timber Ridge in Gobles, one of Southwest Michigan’s oldest ski hills. It features 15 trails and five chairlifts. It also features lighted runs for nighttime skiing. For competitive skiers, it offers competitive adult racing and junior racing as well.

Timber Ridge is also home to the annual Ski and Snowboard Swap, an annual event that’s been happening for more than 40 years. Pando Winter Sports Park in Rockford is another ski area to visit and has seven runs as well as a terrain park.

Timber Ridge Ski Area, Gobles - Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Timber Ridge Ski Area | photo via @deondewalt

Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area in Jones

The Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard area in Jones, about 30 miles from Kalamazoo, has 11 trails with three lifts and four tow ropes. As it is just a one-hour drive for millions of people, it regularly draws visitors from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.

Like Timber Ridge, it also has lighted runs for nighttime runs and also has a beginners’ area. It has Southwest Michigan’s highest vertical peak at 225 feet. The Swiss was actually one of the first areas in the country to embrace freestyle skiing and sponsored a competitive ski team for many years.

The Swiss remains an attractive draw today and has drawn a number of well-known people to its slopes. Rumor has it that Joe Montana learned to ski there during his college football days at Notre Dame.

Swiss Valley Ski And Snowboard Area, Jones - Winter Olympic Sports, Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area | photo via @skiswissvalley

Southeast Michigan Ski Areas

Southeast Michigan is often overlooked by skiers in the state looking for snowier areas. But make no mistake, the metro Detroit area gets plenty of snow in wintertime and there are plenty of great ski areas for mid-week skiers and weekend warriors alike that don’t disappoint.

While you may find cities a little more crowded and the traffic a little heavier along I-75, you’ll also find some of Michigan’s most quaint ski areas, which offer plenty of the challenges, amenities, and fun you would expect to find at a large resort.

Mt Holly Ski Resort in Holly

Start at Mt Holly in Holly. The ski area features seven chairlifts and includes other features such as a high-speed detachable quad and several rope tows. Mt. Holly features 20 trails and has a little bit of everything.

There’s a dedicated area for those learning to ski and there are more advanced runs for experienced skiers. Skiing, like a lot of outdoor winter activities, can be fun for the whole family and a great way to beat the winter blues.

For parents looking to show their children how to ski, Mt. Holly offers learn-to-ski programs and ski rentals. Plus, there’s a huge indoor lodge area, so there’s plenty of room to warm up when you’re ready to take a break.

Mt. Holly Ski And Snowboard Resort, Holly - Winter In Fenton, Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Mt. Holly Ski and Snowboard Resort | photo via @mthollyskischool

Alpine Valley Skiing in White Lake

If you’re looking for a quick getaway, you can’t go wrong with visiting Alpine Valley, in White Lake, near Detroit. It offers some of the most beautiful surroundings with 25 tree-lined slopes, nine chair lifts, and four rope tows.

It caters to all levels of skiers and offers a variety of challenging terrain. As an added bonus, it’s less than an hour from Detroit, so after hitting the slopes, you can head into the city for a great meal and more fun adventures. If you’re looking to take in the beauty of Michigan as much as you’re hoping to ski, Alpine Valley is one spot you absolutely have to visit.

Pine Knob Ski Resort in Clarkston

If you’re looking for a smaller resort to visit that doesn’t skimp on the skiing experience, visit Pine Knob, located about 45 minutes from Detroit. Many a Michigander knows Pine Knob as one of the best music venues in the state during the summer, but during wintertime, it can be a paradise for skiers.

It’s smaller compared to some of the area’s other resorts, but it offers 17 trails suitable for skiers of all skill levels. The majority of the trails at Pine Knob are rated black diamond, double black diamond, or blue, so you’ll actually find quite a bit of challenge there.

Pine Knob Ski Resort, Clarkston - One Of The Top Michigan Ski Resorts: Pine Knob Ski &Amp; Snowboard Resort, Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Pine Knob Ski Resort

Mount Brighton Ski Area in Brighton

Don’t forget about Mount Brighton, which also sits about 45 minutes from Detroit. It’s one of the most beloved ski hills in Metro Detroit and is considered one of the best.

While it’s not as big as some of the resorts in the Upper Peninsula, it’s a great spot for first-timers and beginners to learn their way on the slopes. With a huge space largely catered to beginners, first-time skiers can level up in a great spot. It’s also perfect for more experienced skiers since the resort offers great service and is well maintained.

Mt. Brighton Ski Resort, Brighton - One Of The Top Michigan Ski Resorts: Mt Brighton Ski Resort, Southern Michigan Downhill Ski
Mt. Brighton Ski Resort

More Winter Fun in Michigan

It’s true that Michigan’s Upper Peninsula sees an average snowfall of anywhere from 40 to 200 inches, depending on where you live. But there’s plenty of snow to be found further south too. No matter if you go south, east, or west in Michigan, there’s no shortage of fun things to do during winter in Michigan.

You can experience the best the Mitten State has to offer and take advantage of all the white stuff on the ground with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and igloo dining. So if you’ve got your skis, poles, and warm clothes packed and ready to go, a fun ski trip in Michigan isn’t very far away.

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