Spring is a time of renewal—the days are longer, the trees are slowly waking up from their slumber, and gardening plans begin to seem reasonable. Soon, the first spring plants will burst from the thawing soil. Migrating birds will return. Also, the skiing is absolutely fantastic.
You heard us right. Forget the blistering cold days when you can’t feel your hands and you need goggles to keep your eyeballs from freezing in their sockets. Sure, you might cherish your family tradition of skiing over the holidays. Maybe you even dream of hitting the fresh powder all summer long. However, spring skiing is a whole new level of enjoyment, and the Petoskey area has lots of reasons to help you make the most of the season. Keep reading to find out just what’s so special about spring skiing in the Petoskey area.
1. The sun. The sun. The sun.
Year-long residents don’t take even the faintest glimmer of sunshine for granted during the cold winter months. When a haze of gray clouds stretches as far as the eye can see, every golden moment is precious. Just ask Debbie Esposito, a long-time Harbor Springs resident. She and her husband love to ski Nub’s Nob in the spring. “The feeling of the sun baking you as you ride up in the chairlift is incredible,” she says.
When you’re skiing in the spring, you don’t need to layer yourself like a flaky French pastry to keep frostbite away. Esposito dresses to ward off the chill, but she’s seen people in flannels and shorts, or even bikinis and sunglasses, enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine. It’s a feeling of true freedom to finally enjoy the sun and the snow together after being smothered by winter clouds.
2. Soft-serve snow
Marcella Olds of Nub’s Nob says that spring snow is best. Nub’s starts making snow around Thanksgiving, stops main production before the New Year, and then adds a little touch-up snow as needed until the season ends in April (make sure to check with resorts for season dates). She describes the snow in February and March as “soft snow,” saying it’s a perfect mix between powder and slush. It’s not icy and it’s not melting; as Baby Bear would say, it’s just right.
Charlie Stratton, a Bahnhof Sport employee, agrees. Bahnhof rents skis and snowboards for the winter season. Stratton, who’s a snowboarder, loves the ease of moving through spring snow compared to heavy winter powder.
3. Spring ski parties
Olds says that skiing is a popular pastime for students up north during Spring Break. There are multiple events going on at all the resorts for that last-bit-of-winter fun.
There are lots of events coming to Boyne Mountain. March 3-5 is Women’s Weekend, with women’s skiing clinics and fun classes. Check out Kid’s Festival Weekend March 10-12, and your family can choose from silly ski races, face painting, rock wall climbing, and more. For our next-door neighbors, there’s Canadian March Break March 12-17. The festivities culminate in Carnival Weekend, March 17-19, with a Snow Beach Party, live music, an Aprés Ski Party, the ever-popular Slush Cup, and plenty of opportunities for refreshments.
Ring in Spring at The Highlands at Harbor Springs! March 17-19, you can sign up for the annual Slush Cup and enjoy live music and try fine wines. Click the link for event updates.
At Nub’s Nob in Harbor Springs, March 18 is Mardi Gras. There are Silly Slaloms for kids and adults, a modified dual Grand Slalom race, a Soaker Cup across Lake Nubs, a chance to ride your fat tire bike down a ski slope, and more. Check out the website for more details about event registration. And, get on their calendar to learn about more spring events.
4. It’s the last hurrah
In the icy cave of winter, it sometimes seems like the season will last forever. That can be a bad deal if you’re aching for a sunny day at the beach. But, it can also make a skier take a snowy paradise for granted. Spring skiing is a bridge between seasons, and a reminder to make the best of what the weather has to offer.
“It’s the end of March and you’re skiing and it’s sunny out and you’re thinking, ‘Wow, I got a freebie!’” explains Esposito. “It feels a lot like the hope of spring and the last hurrah of winter all rolled into one.”
“There’s just so much hype and build-up to the spring ski season,” says Stratton. “It just seems to get people more motivated: the weather is better, the skiing is easier, and there’s just kind of a carnival feel to it.”
5. The perks of a northern Michigan spring
Spring brings with it bluer skies and (sometimes slightly) warmer weather. That expands the possibilities for outdoor fun. Olds mentions that Nub’s Nob has an outdoor Winter Garden with fire pits that can be more appealing in better weather. “It has an outside bar and it’s just so nice to hang out in the sun without so many layers on,” she says.
Both Boyne Mountain and the Highland at Harbor Springs offer lodging and a variety of winter activities. If you’re not inclined to hit the slopes, you can try fat-tire snow biking, sno-go biking, horseback riding, tubing, and zipline adventures. Or, enjoy a spa day and join your friends later for some après ski time.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced even die-hard fans of winter skiing to give the spring season a try. Visit one of the below resorts or rental shops, and head out for a dreamy day on the slopes during spring break. Don’t forget to sign up for a Slush Cup or slalom!
1 Boyne Mountain Road
Boyne Falls, MI 49713
500 Nub’s Nob Road
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
The Highlands at Harbor Springs
600 Highland Drive
Harbor Springs, MI 49740
1300 Bay View Rd
Petoskey, Michigan 49770
1200 Bay View Rd
Petoskey, MI 49770
100 Air Industrial Park Drive
Boyne City, MI 49712
Webster’s Northern Lower Sports
Petoskey, MI 49770
About the Author: Jen DeMoss is a newcomer to the Petoskey area and loves northern Michigan. You can catch her paddling a canoe, hiking a trail, or swimming in Lake Michigan as often as the weather cooperates. She’d love to help you make the most of your time in this paradise she now calls home.