Boyne Mountain was No. 1 in the Midwest for many years, but don't feel sorry for the legendary resort, which dropped to No. 7 this year. By next season, the Mountain's $250 million renaissance project will be in full swing with the opening of the 226-room Mountain Grand Lodge and Spa, to be followed by specialty shops, restaurants, an ice rink, single-family homes, condominiums and a teen activity center. Until then, Boyne Mountain draws on its reputation as one of the Midwest's most storied resorts. Skiers are fierce in their loyalty, summed up by one reader who calls it "undoubtedly the best all-around ski resort in Michigan." With 61 ski runs, 10 chairlifts (including a high-speed six pack) and a still-classy base hotel, Boyne continues to be a "skier's mountain." Although a lot of the terrain is solidly intermediate, such as Victor and Aurora, the Mountain is better known for its steeps. "The layout really pushes you to the edge," says a reader. Another reader agrees, but observes "the black-diamond mix might be too high for average skiers." In addition to terrain, Boyne has been a favorite for those who like a good time after the ski day ends. Readers rank it No. 1 in Après-Ski. Much of the action takes place in the Snowflake Lounge, where the Jelly Roll Blues Band cranks out tunes, or in the giant outdoor hot tub and pool. "Great place for a weekend trip; classier than most other Midwest resorts," comments a reader.
WHAT'S NEW Nine runs and a triple chair near Disciples Ridge on the north side of Boyne Mountain and an expansion of the Village at Disciples Ridge, with additional ski-in/ski-out condos at the base of the Disciples Ridge lifts.
A GOOD DEAL Super Value Pass: $249 for day skiing and riding from Sunday after 1 p.m. through Friday (excluding holidays), unlimited nightskiing Wednesday-Saturday until 9 p.m. and 50 percent off daily lift tickets at all other Boyne resorts.
HIGH/LOW MIDWEST RANK Après-Ski (1), Lifts (2), Challenge (5); Snow (10), Scenery (11), Value (13).
DON'T MISS Stopping at the Eagle's Nest atop Hemlock for a burger cooked by Uncle Arnie Wooten and a look at the collection of antique skis, chairlift memorabilia and drawings by Warren Miller.
READER REMARKS (+) "As good as it gets for the Midwest; Boyne beer and Boyne nightlife." (-) "Too expensive for what they have to offer; construction is painful."