2003 Number 5 Resort in the Midwest: Big Powderhorn, Mich.

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When Midwesterners decide to "supersize" their skiing, they head to Big Powderhorn in Michigan's western U.P. Big Powderhorn presents skiing on a grand scale that few other resorts in the region can match. It gets more than 200 inches of Lake Superior-fueled snow, and has 250 skiable acres, 11 lodging villages and beds for 2,000 guests. What really makes Big Powderhorn a perennial favorite in the rankings, however, is a massive skiing venue that many readers liken to a Rocky Mountain resort experience. Twenty-five trails spill off a 622-foot peak, with runs up to a mile long, some wider than a city block. One reader observes, "The grooming is very good, somewhat the same as at Keystone, Colo., where they groom one side of a run and leave the other side bumped." The fact that it takes about a half day to sample each run once only enhances this Western ambience. And trails like the menacing black-diamond Cannonball and the blue vein called Smoke could be plunked down anywhere in the Rockies. "Above average terrain; challenging for a Midwest ski area," touts a reader. A great value when you consider its $35 adult lift ticket-far less than in the esteemed Rockies.

WHAT'S NEW Renovated Caribou Lodge is now a full-service day lodge with food service, a swimming pool, game room and baby-sitting.

A GOOD DEAL Kids 12 and younger ski free, opening through Dec. 20, Jan. 6-10 and all of March.

HIGH/LOW MW RANK Value (3), Snow (4), Lodging (5); Off-Hill Activities (10), Après (14), On-Mountain Food (16).

DON'T MISS Hawaii Fest, March 8, featuring an outdoor barbecue, races, activities and prizes.

READER REMARKS (+) "Always groomed and a great place for kids."
(-) "All double chairlifts; it gets cold up here."