Situated in the Traverse City area, Crystal Mountain has popular ski school programs, Adventure Cubs (ages 3-6) and Crystal Kids (ages 7-12), that aim to get kids outside and enjoying the snow. With a variety of runs for all skill levels and fast moving lines, families love skiing at Crystal. For children learning to ski, the resort has a Magic Carpet style beginner hill that makes it easier for novices to get to the top. Crystal also offers snowboarding group lessons, Burton’s Adventure Riders (ages 3-6), and it’s an official Burton Learn to Ride Center. Off slope kids’ activities include a skating rink, snowshoeing for ages 8+, horse-drawn surrey rides, bonfires with roasted marshmallows and hot chocolate, storytime, and indoor child care.
12500 Crystal Mountain Drive
Thompsonville, Michigan 49683
855-995-5146 | crystalmountain.com
Target opening: Thanksgiving Day
What families love about it: Mt. Brighton is the closest downhill ski area to Ann Arbor, and its season pass, the Epic Pass, provides additional unlimited access to Breckenridge and limited access to Vail, Park City, Heavenly, and other resorts across the country. Kids age 4 and under get a free Epic Pass, and discounted rates are available for children (ages 5-12) and teens (ages 13-18). For $349 novices ages 7-adult can learn to ski or snowboard; the package includes a two-hour lesson each week for four weeks, and skiers get new equipment to keep in the final week. Additionally, Brighton has a Ski Girls Rock program for intermediate to advanced girls ages 7-teen and Burton snowboard lessons for ages as young as 3.
4141 Bauer Road | Brighton, MI 48116
810-229-9581 | mtbrighton.com
Target opening: Weather dependent
See website for updates
Family skiing is the main objective at Nub’s— this Harbor Springs resort is a straight ski area that focuses on a premium downhill experience for all. Nub’s was first in the nation to offer a beginning slope that is served by the purple ski lift while being completely free for all ages. Nubs offers outstanding winter sports schools including a learn-to-ski program with a rental and lesson at a deep discount. Kids 8 and under ski for free, and ages 9-12 ski for $10 Monday through Friday when joined by an adult. Nub’s also recognizes that poor equipment is often a barrier to a positive experience, so the resort invests in high-end gear; this year brand new boots were purchased for rentals, and skiers are measured and try on boots to make sure they’re a comfortable, supportive fit.
500 Nub’s Nob Road | Harbor Springs, MI 49740
231-526-2131 or 800-SKI-NUBS
Target opening: Thanksgiving weekend