2003 Number 1 Resort in the Midwest: Nub's Nob, Mich.

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When Nub's Nob shot to the top of the Midwest Top 10 last year, it was a shocker. After all, the northern Michigan resort is a ski area with no hotel, no snazzy restaurants and no marketing director in a three-piece suit. This year's second straight No. 1 finish might mean that last year's rank wasn't an upset, but the beginning of a trend. If there's a skiers' resort in the entire Midwest, this is it. The bottom line is that Nub's Nob has the best snow and best grooming in the region, as SKI readers attest, ranking them both No. 1. Nub's is actually a pair of peaks with 43 trails, 427 vertical feet and 248 skiable acres. The frontside features an imposing set of steeps that glare down on the parking lot, causing some skiers to shudder in their fleece upon arrival. The north side is more tame with some wide-open bowls, a terrain park and the Birch Run NASTAR course (ranked most popular in the Midwest last year). The southwest side of the mountain features narrow intermediate runs with a New England feel. And Pintail Peak, with its stunning overlook of Little Traverse Bay in Lake Michigan, is a 12-trail outback experience with everything from blacks to greens. As much as Nub's is all about the skiing, you won't be stranded without lodging and nice restaurants, which can be found in Harbor Springs and at nearby Boyne Highlands. But as one reader enthusiastically points out: "Nub's Nob rocks! The people who come here do so to ski, not to pose." Well said.

WHAT'S NEW Twenty additional snow guns bring the total to 179.

A GOOD DEAL Free skiing on the Purple chairlift and Learn to Ski slope.

HIGH/LOW MW RANK Snow (1), Grooming (1), On-Mountain Food (2); Dining (15) Après (18), Lodging (19).

DON'T MISS Homemade doughnuts on weekend and holiday mornings.

READER REMARKS (+) "Great snow, no waiting in liftlines, good lodge food."
(-) "I wish it were more than just a ski area."