Whether or not you’re already en route Up North to Michigan’s top downhill slopes, unwrap a few new ways to celebrate this holiday and winter season at regional destination resorts.
Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands
Choose from two mountains and an array of ways to enjoy them in Boyne Falls and Harbor Springs. Try tubing down an exhilarating slope or speeding along a zipline, side-by-side with a companion over glittering forests. Or tackle the new SuperLOOP at Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark: This wild ride features a launch capsule, trap door and 38 feet per second acceleration 360 degrees around the LOOP into a big splash.
Seasonal specials: Celebrate Boyne Highlands’ 50th anniversary by savoring time at the expanded spa before a mountain-top Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner, on special dates all winter: Board a sleigh to North Peak, where a pine day lodge, bonfire and live acoustic music await within view of the Mackinac Bridge, and enjoy the annual Holiday Open House on Dec. 14 (boyne.com).
Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa
Discover how to make frost fly in Thompsonville, from dog sled adventures, snowshoe hiking and fat-tire snow biking to scavenger hunts, snowmobiling, ice skating and hockey. Or opt for a serene sink in the outdoor hot tub, scenic ride in a horse-drawn surrey, family play in the Mountain Adventure Zone or winter’s crisp air along a snow-feathered woodland trail in the Michigan Legacy Art Park, featuring 40 sculptures and poetry stones in hushed communion with nature and Michigan history.
Holiday fun: Special activities include a Holiday Trail tour through the resort village, a First Light Celebration, Santa and the SnowMonsters NASTAR Race, a New Year Celebration and Fat Nan Fat-Tire Bike Race (crystalmountain.com).
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
With fun on the slopes just miles away at Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation Area, a network of frosty forested Nordic treks on the acclaimed neighboring VASA Pathway and horse-drawn sleigh and snowmobile rides nearby, too, there’s no shortage of attractions embracing this four-season destination in Acme. But guests will find enticing ways to chill on-site, too, including scenic trails groomed for snowshoes, cross-country skis and wintry hikes; dog sledding, ice skating, bonfires, s’mores and more at the Winter Activities Center plus indoor water fun, outdoor hot tub ahhhs, heated indoor/outdoor hitting bays for golfers and head-to-toe, full-service care at the Spa.
Festive extras: Indulge in a gourmet Christmas buffet at Aerie Restaurant & Lounge overlooking Grand Traverse Bay and ring in 2014 during a special celebration (grandtraverseresort.com).
Shanty Creek Resorts
Embrace a snowy rush in Bellaire at Shanty Creek Resort’s Cedar River Alpine Tubing Park, featuring eight lanes to reconnect with friends and family, or enjoy short strides or a lengthy glide through the property’s white-blanketed meadows, hardwoods and pines on 18 miles of pristine cross-country ski trails. Looking for adventure or a romantic spot? Find it on the Moonlite Run, a magical Nordic trek at Summit Village brightened by LED solar lighting, then savor a bite at The Lakeview Restaurant overlooking the icy blues of Lake Bellaire. Or whisk away on a horse-drawn sleigh or scenic dog sled ride before unwinding back in one of three resort villages.
Holiday hits: In December, ski for free with Santa on Christmas Day at Schuss Mountain, then take in the fireworks display over Summit Mountain on New Year’s Eve (shantycreek.com).