2003 Number 2 Resort in the Midwest: Boyne Highlands, Mich.

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Boyne Highlands, near Harbor Springs in lower Michigan, has been a mainstay in Midwest skiing since 1964. "For this region, Boyne Highlands is about as good as it gets," says a reader. The Highlands' drawing card is a vast trail network, which appeals to all age groups and skill levels, plus a 10-lift system that ranks No. 2 in the Midwest (second only to its sister resort, Boyne Mountain). "The well-organized lift system gets you all over the mountain quickly," notes a reader. You can ski all day at the Highlands and never ski the same run twice; it's that massive. With 46 runs (including two new trails this year), the Highlands makes the most of its 550 vertical feet. Beginners love Valley View and Maple Alley. Cruisers such as Kath Run and South Fork are a little more challenging, while Olympic and North and South Challenger are gnarly steeps. For a real gut check, experts should test Couloir. On powder days, the North Peak area is the place to be, with its hardwood-lined intermediate trails and glades. It feels like a separate ski area. One reader says, "Boyne Highlands has excellent Midwest skiing with an out-West feel; long runs." With the famed Boyne Austrian-American Ski School, three base lodges, three hotels, outdoor swimming pools and a full docket of activities, the resort is a magnet for families, which lands it in the No. 3 spot for Family Programs.

WHAT'S NEW The ski-in/ski-out Alpine Village at the base of North Peak Pass will be fully open this season.

A GOOD DEAL Saturday lift ticket prices have been rolled back to $39 for adults and $37 for youths, ages 9 through 15. Last year's prices were $43 and $40.

HIGH/LOW MW RANK Lifts (2), Family Programs (3), Terrain Parks (4); Challenge (10), Access (16), Value (26).

DON'T MISS Crazy Days, March 15-16, a weekend of live entertainment, on-hill activities and contests.

READER REMARKS (+) "Good kids programs; beautiful scenery."
(-) "Pricey."