What’s new on Michigan’s ski slopes

CLARKSTON — Skiers and boarders can look forward to a fun-filled winter with plenty of places to enjoy Michigan’s snow-filled slopes and trails. With a combined total of 51 ski areas, boasting over 260 lifts, about 1,000 runs, more than 50 terrain parks and hundreds of kilometers of groomed cross-country trails, there is something for everyone.

According to the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) ski areas are always looking for ways to increase enjoyment for skiers and snowboarders. Through the years, slope maintenance and snowmaking capabilities have improved dramatically, so much so that even if there is no snow at home, the ski slopes can be covered when the weather turns cold.

The following is a rundown of improvements and special offers for the 2012-2013 season in the Lower Peninsula. Upper Peninsula resorts can be viewed at www.goski michigan.com. It is important to note that early discounts abound. Most ski areas offer discounts on their season ski passes if they are purchased before the snow flies.

In southeast Michigan the crew at Mt. Holly has been busy expanding the snowmaking system. They added a pump and piping which will increase water output by approximately 20 percent. More water means more snow when temperatures dip below 28 degrees this winter. Mt. Holly is home to several high school teams including Grand Blanc, Flushing, Holly and Brighton. (248) 634-8269 skimtholly.com

Nub’s Nob Ski Area of Harbor Springs once again increased snowmaking capacity and made some significant changes in distribution infrastructure with the addition of six guns to the Easy Mile Slope bring the total snowgun arsenal to 282. The purchase of a new Pisten Bully snow grooming machine and advanced alpine tiller enlarges the size of Nub’s grooming fleet. Parents and little ones alike will be excited about the addition of a “just for kids” trail on the Nub’s Nob South and additional night lighting were added to sections of Nub’s South and Dorie’s Bowl. Nub’s has earned a top spot in Transworld Snowboard magazine’s 2012 annual readers survey poll of top snowboarding parks in the Midwest. (231) 526-2131 or 1-800-SKINUBS, nubsnob.com

Also in Harbor Springs, Boyne Highlands has a new spa facility available to guests this winter and the Main Lodge hotel, offering ski-in/ski-out accommodations, has undergone upgrades. Snow making capacity has been increased with the addition of 40 Low-E fan guns and the resort has added electronic live-time signage at the base of the slopes providing easy access to the open/close status of trails and chairlifts. Boyne Highlands has partnered with Burton Snowboards to develop Riglet Park for the 2012/2013 season. Riglet Parks offer on-snow play areas with fun terrain and features designed to introduce children ages 3 to 6 to snowboarding. 1-800-GO-BOYNE, BOYNE.com.

In Boyne Falls, Boyne Mountain’s snowmaking efficiency and capacity has been upgraded with the installation of an additional 1,000 gallons-per-minute water pump and 10 Boyne Low-E fan guns. New livetime signage provides immediate access to the open/close status of trails and chairlifts, and Boyne Mountain’s beginner chairlift, Boyneland, will see increased up-hill capacity this season with the addition of 13 triple chairs on the lift. Boyne Mountain is also introducing a Riglet Park this winter and opening a Burton-exclusive store at the resort. Boyne Mountain’s tubing park is being expanded and the resort is introducing winter fly fishing trips. 1-800-GO-BOYNE, BOYNE.com.

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