Maybe you're a black-diamond daredevil. Or maybe this is the first time you've ever stepped into ski boots. Maybe this is the season you'll finally conquer the half-pipe, or maybe tubing, snowshoeing or dog sledding is more your style. Whatever your cold-weather pleasure, the ski hills of Little Traverse have got you covered. Just head to Harbor Springs, where award-winning resorts reap the rewards from lake-effect snowfalls all winter long.
A great place to start? Boyne Highlands (800-GO-BOYNE, boynehighlands.com), where more than 400 skiable acres include the longest and steepest runs in the Midwest. With eight lifts, you won't have to wait long to hit up the 50 runs here - leaving you more time to check out the half-pipe, take a loop on the 45K of groomed cross-country trails or sign up for a lesson at the acclaimed Austrian-American SnowSports Academy. Guests can also take a dog sled ride - many of the dogs are veterans of Alaska's Iditarod race - or go snowshoeing, tubing or even take a swim in the outdoor heated swimming pool.
Nub's Nob (800-SKI-NUBS, nubsnob.com) is another local favorite, and it has the accolades to prove it. The resort's terrain park, featuring a masterfully maintained Superpipe, intermediate pipes and a rail yard, was rated best in North America in 2007 by the readers of Ski Magazine. But even if "rail yard" isn't part of your ski-vacation vocabulary, you've still got eight chairlifts for access to 53 runs on three peaks, a 427-foot vertical drop, 28K of cross-country trails and 250-some snow guns for incredible powder production.
After a long day on the slopes, follow your fellow skiers to defrost with a hot meal and a cold brew at Teddy Griffin's Roadhouse (50 Highland Pike Dr., 231-526-7805, teddygriffins.com). Pan-fried lake perch and inventive hand-tossed, thin-crust pizzas are just the thing to thaw you out after a day in the snow.
Emily Bingham is assitant editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine.
Note: This article was first published in April 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.