Ski Resort Life

2002 Number 8 Resort in the Midwest: Big Powderhorn, Mich.


It’s easy to sum up why Midwest skiers like Big Powderhorn: “good snow, good value,” crows one reader. With adult lift tickets still priced at $33 and a natural snowfall that exceeded 300 inches last season, it’s easy to see why. Located on the western end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Lake Superior acts like a gigantic snowmaking machine. Sporting the third biggest vertical drop-622 feet-in the state, Powderhorn is “big” in every sense of the word for a heartland ski resort. It offers 25 ski trails with some runs more than a mile in length, a terrain park, nine chairlifts and a surface tow. It also has three restaurants and, with the ability to accommodate 2,000 guests, one of the largest base lodge areas among Midwestern resorts. Its strong suits are natural terrain and impeccable grooming. “Great variety of intermediate runs and enough challenge to keep advanced skiers happy,” says one family. Beginners will find plenty of long greens to keep them satisfied. As one reader says, “This is where we come with large groups, because there’s something for everybody here.” The biggest drawback most often mentioned by readers is the resort’s remoteness. “Difficult to get to,” grouses one reader, “remote and cold,” says another. And the après-ski scene? One readers laments, “Not much to do when not skiing,” although the resort does have live music or a DJ on weekends. It also offers sleigh rides, an ice-skating rink, dog-sled rides and cross-country skiing-a good recipe for family fun.

WHAT’S NEW The Caribou Lodge-used more for an instructional center before-will become a full-service lodge this season, offering meals, day care, game room, pool and sauna and live music on the weekends.

A GOOD DEAL Family week, Dec. 10-14, with lift tickets just $25 for adults and $20 for juniors (13-17). Kids 12 and under ski free through Christmas Day and from Jan. 7-11 and March 1-closing day. Call 906-932-4838 or visit

HIGH/LOW RANK Snow (4), Value (4), Weather (5); Terrain (10), Challenge (10), Food (11).

DON’T MISS The spring skiing festivals in Big Snow Country are legendary. Skiing, entertainment, fun races, prizes-it’s all there. Catch the Hawaii Fest on March 9 or the Spring Carnival on March 16 at Powderhorn.

READER REMARKS (+) “Lake-effect snow; the grooming and snowmaking are impeccable.” (-) “Need more seating in the day lodge; main lodge needs to be updated.”