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Ski Resort Life

If You Haven’t Skied the Kingdom of Schuss, Have You Really Even Skied?

Schuss Mountain may no longer have its own currency and a moat around the resort, but there's still plenty of fun to be had here.

Two ski areas and three distinct villages make up the four-season resort of Shanty Creek, which sprawls across 5,000 acres northwest of the town of Mancelona. Summit Mountain is the smaller, more family-focused of the two ski hills, while Schuss Mountain is the place for Indy Pass holders (only Schuss accepts the Indy Pass) and more advanced skiers.

Founded in 1967, Schuss was originally established as The Kingdom of Schuss, a village with its own currency (the Squaller), time zone (dubbed Central Fun Tine), a mote, and border guards. The concept was essentially a unique marketing ploy to get people to buy second homes here and become “land barons.” While The Kingdom of Schuss has fallen by the wayside—along with its currency and medieval amenities—the modern Schuss Mountain continues to thrive as a winter destination.

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

Eight lifts service 43 runs on 400 skiable acres—69 percent of which is made up of blue and black runs ideal for
intermediates and up. The mountain also attracts a young and adventurous set thanks to its three terrain parks, of which the Monster Park, a fully-loaded terrain park sponsored by Monster Energy, is the crown jewel.

Kid skiing on rail at Schuss Mountain terrain park
Schuss Mountain is home to three different terrain parks, but the Monster Park is its crown jewel. Photo: Courtesy of Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek

Shanty Creek has lots to offer beyond Schuss’ slopes, including some of the best Nordic and snowmobiling trails in Michigan. Those ready to explore can purchase the Superticket to check out Summit Mountain’s slopes and take advantage of Shanty Creek’s free shuttle that runs between the two areas. There’s more than enough to do here for a weekend in and of itself, but be sure to check out the village of Bellaire, with dining, shopping, and quaint lodging to perfectly round out a weekend trip.

Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek at a Glance

  • Vertical: 450′
  • Lifts: 7
  • Trails: 43
  • Skiable acres: 400
  • Average snowfall: 175”
  • Lift tickets: $54-74 adult day ticket ($74 on Sundays and holidays); $449 Adult Superpass season pass; also accepts the Indy Pass

Where to Ski, Eat, and Sleep at Schuss Mountain in Michigan

Skiers on chairlift at Schuss Mountain, Michigan
Families and kids flock to Schuss Mountain for family-friendly vibe, versatile terrain, and fun terrain parks. Photo: Courtesy of Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek

Insider’s Tip: Bellaire, Mich.

Whether you’re visiting Schuss Mountain for the day or for an extended stay, don’t miss a quick detour to the quaint village of Bellaire, just 7 miles northwest of Shanty Creek. A complimentary shuttle from Shanty Creek will drop you in downtown Bellaire, home to award-winning Short’s Brewpub, a wine bar, craft distillery, a cider house, and plentiful dining and lodging options. Snowmobile and cross country trails galore form a web around Bellaire and offer one of the best ways to experience Pure Michigan in the winter.

Lodging: Schuss Village

If you’re using your Indy Pass to ski Schuss Mountain, bed down in Schuss Village. The staple here is the Lodge at Schuss, a budget-friendly, ski-in/ski-out option located in the heart of the original Kingdom of Schuss. The Condos of Schuss Village or the Homes of Vienna Woods are good lodging options if you need more space to fit the whole family or want access to a kitchen.

Down-Day Activity: Dogsledding

Second Chance Mushers, a rescue dog organization started by Sarah Dobbrastine outside of Traverse City, Mich., offers scenic dog-sledding tours around Schuss Mountain. Book a ride with the rescue pups for the kiddos or for yourself by contacting the Schuss Mountain Nordic Center. Rides cost $65.

COVID-19 Policies

Like everywhere else, facemasks are mandatory in all public spaces at Schuss mountain. In light of the pandemic, Schuss has  moved some services online, like equipment rentals and food orders. Ivan’s and The River Bistro have limited seating capacity, so guests are encouraged to take advantage of a new food truck and weather-protected area near the base of Yellow Lift. Ivan’s also has a new slopeside to-go window and heated outdoor dining tent for safe and convenient dining. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Shanty Creek website.

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