Alpine Valley Ski Area in Michigan is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Alpine Valley, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsSurprisingly, there are actually a few ski resorts in the Detroit metro area, including Alpine Valley Ski Area, a 54-minute drive from downtown Motor City in the township of White Lake. The resort is family-oriented, has no overnight lodging and sees a steady stream of day-trippers from around the southern Michigan area. Alpine Valley has slopes for intermediate and advanced skiers, but the majority of its terrain is beginner fare; expert skiers won't find much of a challenge at the resort.
The MountainAlpine Valley is small, therefore it has the ability to make artificial snow over all of its 118 acres of skiable terrain. The season generally runs between mid-December and mid-March, and with an average annual snowfall of 35 inches, snow machines come in handy. The summit is 1,210 feet, the base sits at 910 feet and the vertical drop is 300 feet. Snowboarders are drawn to Alpine Valley for its three terrain parks and 350-foot-long half-pipe.
Trails And LiftsOf the 25 slopes at Alpine Valley, 11 are beginner runs, making the resort a good place for novices to learn how to ski and snowboard. There are six intermediate and eight advanced runs. The signature trail, according to Skiernet.com, is Everest, an advanced run off the summit. Alpine Valley has a total of 14 lifts, including nine chairlifts (three of which reach the summit), four towropes and one carpet tow.
In The NewsFor visitors interested in ski racing or learning how to run a racing course, Alpine Valley offers clinics and racing opportunities. Clinics occur on Sunday mornings between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. and allow participants to run slalom and giant slalom courses. Experienced racers can take part in the seven-week long racing series that begins in early January and features USSA and NASTAR-style courses. All racing events and clinics take place on the Everest run.
CostFor the 2011-2012 season, the most expensive lift ticket at Alpine Valley is the all day/all night pass for $49, good from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Prices for other lift passes run between $32 and $39, except for rope-and-carpet-tow-only passes, which cost between $25 and $28. Ski and snowboard rentals are between $23 and $25 and include poles and boots. Individual and group lessons at Alpine Valley's Instruction Center are available for all age groups, with prices ranging from $17 to $45.
Apres-SkiDespite the resort's relatively small size and lack of overnight accommodations, Alpine Valley does have some apres-ski opportunities in the base lodge. Slope hounds can kick up their heels after the boots come off around the lodge's stone fireplaces. The first level is suitable for families to sit around the fire and enjoy food and beverages from the snack bar. Upstairs is an adults-only crowd at the Hornet's Nest, a bar with panoramic windows overlooking the slopes that also offers live entertainment and dancing.
WATCH: Alpine Valley Ski Area
Alpine Valley provides fun for the whole family.