For six decades, four venerable ski and snowboard venues have been a godsend for metro Detroit skiing enthusiasts, longing for a quick escape to the slopes. Although Mount Brighton, Alpine Valley, Pine Knob, and Mount Holly have been operating for a combined 248 years, that doesn’t mean they’re not constantly upping their respective games.
Here is a rundown of what you’ll find and what’s new at each metro Detroit ski area, in 2022:
Mount Holly Ski Resort
Location: 13536 Dixie Highway, Holly
What’s new: Mount Holly’s map has changed this season, after the addition of a new run (Snowway) between Pine Run and Grant’s Trail. Woods have been cleared for more skiable terrain between Glacier Gap and Aurora Pass. A 700-foot tow rope has been added to the Slalom run on Mount Holly’s expanded terrain park. Snowmaking capacity has increased after crews spent the off-season building 10 new snow guns. With fewer indoor dining restrictions, more guests will discover the Mount Holly Coffee Bar, which opened last year and features items from Fenton’s renowned Crust Bakery.
What else: Mount Holly has southeast Michigan’s biggest vertical drop (350 feet) and is the only area venue with a high-speed chairlift. There are 21 runs, with the longest measuring 1,300 feet. Overall, 39 percent of the terrain is classified as advanced, 39 percent as intermediate, and 22 percent as beginner. The resort has a significant ski and snowboarding school and racing program.
A 4,200-square-foot heated patio, equipped with a firepit, faces the slopes. The Lift Lounge is located inside the Bavarian-style lodge.
Alpine Valley Ski Area
Location: 6775 Highland Road, White Lake
What’s new: Alpine Valley has a new groomer with enhanced terrain park capabilities, along with 10 new snow guns with larger barrels, chairlift updates, lodge renovations, and a partial remodel of the bar. A revamped rental room offers more efficient traffic flow and better fitting service. A new cafe, selling Caribou coffee and other specialty drinks, was set to open in December. Alpine Valley’s ski school has been restructured under a new director, and there is a new ski shop.
What else: Alpine Valley offers 25 runs, including 11 beginner, eight advanced, and six intermediate, with the longest at nearly 2,000 feet. There is a 300-foot vertical drop. A total of four terrain parks are offered along with child, private, and group lessons. Alpine Valley also features The Hornet’s Nest Bar and ski and snowboard rental. “We place a huge emphasis on beginner skiers, teaching them the necessary skills and teaching them well, so they are confident enough to tackle the bigger slopes Up North or out west,” says Alpine Valley marketing manager Alexandra Kosik. “We encourage families to spend the time together at our resort.”
Mount Brighton Ski Area
Location: 4141 Bauer Road, Brighton
What’s new: Mount Brighton is celebrating 60 years, with a 20 percent reduction in its Epic Season Pass price. The Bunny Hill Basics program returns, offering new skiers access to Bunny Hill chairlift and Magic Carpet runs, rental equipment, and teaching station for one reasonable price. “The [Epic] price reset signifies our commitment to increasing accessibility and engagement in skiing and snowboarding,” says Pam Hoye, Midwest senior communications manager for Vail Resorts, which purchased Mount Brighton in 2015. “We want to be leaders in welcoming new people into the sport and to be inclusive to anyone who wants to join us.” Rental equipment can now be reserved online, saving time upon arrival. Also new is EpicMix, an online interactive map that will help guests navigate the hills.
What else: Mount Brighton offers 24 trails, with a longest run of 1,252 feet and a 230-foot vertical drop. About 40 percent of the trails are intermediate, 30 percent are beginner, and 30 percent are advanced. There are two terrain parks, including one on which ski and snowboard lessons are offered to children ages 5-12. Other adult, child, and private lessons are available, along with a racing program. Mount Brighton also has a ski shop and restaurant.
Pine Knob Ski Resort
Location: 7778 Sashabaw Road, Clarkston
What’s new: Pine Knob has added two automatic snow guns to its fleet of more than 100 snowmaking machines. A new heated patio facing the hill features ski racks and a firepit.
What else: Pine Knob boasts 17 runs with 50 percent classified as intermediate, 25 percent as beginner, and 25 percent as advanced. There is a 300-foot vertical drop, and its most challenging run, The Wall, features nearly 200 feet of vertical elevation and has a slope angle of around 35 percent. Pine Knob also features three terrain parks (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) and has a ski and snowboarding school and a racing program.
The Pine Knob Lodge boasts three fireplaces, two restaurants, and the Off The Wall Lounge.