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Ski Resort Life

One Reason to Ski This ‘Up North’ Michigan Resort: $39 Lift Tickets

Caberfae Peaks has been serving up affordable skiing in Michigan for more than half a century.

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Just 90 minutes north of Grand Rapids and 30 minutes west of the town of Cadillac, Caberfae Peaks is the closest “up north” ski area in the state. One of Michigan’s oldest destination ski resorts, Caberfae became a tourist draw way back in 1938, when snow trains began running regularly between Cadillac and big cities like Detroit and Chicago.

Caberfae Peaks’ legacy as a destination ski resort remains today thanks to its family-friendly terrain and the development of full-service amenities like slopeside lodging, expansive demo and rental shop, and a sprawling day lodge. In fact, these days the resort is equally popular among weekend warriors and families who come up just for the day to romp around on Caberfae’s two peaks and 35 trails, then spread out—crockpots simmering nearby—in the Blackmer Day Lodge between laps.

Lots of work has gone into making Caberfae Peaks even more inviting over the years, and this season skiers can look forward to expanded snow making capabilities, paved parking and walkways, updated rental equipment, and a bigger deck at R Dub’s Pub for additional outdoor seating and food service. It may not be the biggest or rowdiest hill in Michigan, but what Caberfae Peaks lacks in size and vertical it makes up for in value (an adult day ticket here costs $39) and its core-skier vibe.

Related: A Late-Season Indy Pass Could Make Your Spring Road Trip Way Cheaper

Caberfae Peaks at a Glance

  • Vertical: 485′
  • Lifts: 5
  • Trails: 34
  • Skiable acres: 200
  • Average snowfall: 140″
  • Lift tickets: $39 adult day ticket; $349 Peak Pass (adult season pass valid 7 days/week); also accepts the Indy Pass 

Where to Ski, Sleep, and Eat at Caberfae Peaks, Michigan

Insider’s Tip: Caberfae Peaks Backcountry

In 2013, Caberfae Peaks opened the first lift-served backcountry skiing and riding zone in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The 25-acre area is accessible from the North Peak Quad Chair and features five to seven open runs, glades, and chutes that hold snow long after the last storm thanks to a northeast exposure. To get to the goods, head down Smiling Irishmen off the North Peak Quad and take the backcountry entrance marked on the right hand side of the trail. Some lines are accessible with little or no hiking and lead back to the Shelter Double Chair. But venture too out and down, and you’ll be poling or walking back to the lift.

Lodging: MacKenzie Lodge

MacKenzie Lodge, Caberfae Peaks

Just steps from the Vista Triple and North Peak Quad lifts, the MacKenzie Lodge offers convenient ski-in/ski-out digs with an outdoor heated pool and hot tub. Nearly as old as the resort itself, the 39-room lodge was recently updated and houses Beatie’s Bar and Grill. Must try: Arlo’s Ultimate Bloody Mary and Caberfae’s Famous French Fries. Indy Pass holders receive a 10-percent discount on MacKenzie Lodge stays.

COVID-19 Policies

Skiers are required to wear facemasks in all public spaces where six feet of distance can’t be maintained. Due to health and safety regulations, picnic lunches are not allowed in Blackmer Lodge during the 2020-’21 season, though you’ll find outdoor picnic tables throughout the resort for guests to eat packed lunches. Online, advance ticket, rental, and lesson purchases recommended; advance ticket reservations not required at this time. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Caberfae Peaks website.

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