The Homestead Resort 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 The Homestead, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsOverlooking Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park on Lake Michigan, The Homestead Resort is a year-round vacation spot offering a variety of winter activities, from skiing and snowboarding to skating and snowshoeing. With its fine dining and luxury lodging options, it makes a romantic destination for couples, however it is a family-friendly resort as well. The biggest draw to The Homestead is its spectacular lakefront setting. Guests can access the resort by the closest airport, Cherry Capital Airport, in Traverse City, Michigan.
The MountainWith a summit elevation of 900 feet and a vertical drop of 320 feet, the ski hill at The Homestead Resort is small but picturesque, with skiable terrain down both the north and south face. The slopes open in mid-December, weather conditions permitting, and close around mid-March. Since the ski area is only open on weekends and holidays during the season, it has 40 projected days open. The resort has snowmaking capabilities to supplement the average snowfall of 150 inches when necessary. The Homestead's longest run is less than one-fourth of a mile.
Trails And LiftsThe Homestead has two triple lifts, one double lift, one magic carpet and one handle tow that take skiers and snowboarders up the north and south faces of the mountain. Of the 13 trails, three are beginner level, eight are intermediate and two are advanced. There are no double-black-diamond expert runs. A terrain park is available for qualified snowboarders and skiers. In addition to alpine skiing, guests can cross-country ski or snowshoe the National Park trails at Sleeping Bear Dunes and ice skate on Fiddler's Pond at the base of the south face of the hill.
In The NewsViewers of ABC's Good Morning America voted Sleeping Bear Dunes the Most Beautiful Place in America. The National Park got a boost by celebrity chef Mario Batali, who summers in the area, and his ABC-produced video singing its praises. However, winning wasn't easy. In order to capture the 2011 honor, Sleeping Bear Dunes had to beat out such stunning locations as Aspen in Colorado, Sedona in Arizona and Lanikai Beach in Hawaii. The Homestead Resort is the only ski resort in view of the Dunes.
CostSince The Homestead is only open on weekends and holidays and caters to registered resort guests, tickets are sold in two- or three-day packages. The published rate for a basic weekend lift ticket is $90 for adults aged 18 to 64, $70 for juniors ages 9 to 17 and seniors age 65 and older and $31 for kids 8 and younger. Discounts for registered guests, ticket specials and "Ski Express" season passes are available. Basic ski or snowboard equipment rentals are $34 for adults, $28 for juniors and seniors and $23 for kids. Snowshoes, cross-country skis and ice skate rentals are also available. Ski and snowboard group lessons start at $35 for a half-day.
Apres-SkiThe Homestead Resort offers both casual and fine dining, shopping and sightseeing. For accommodations, there are four hotels within the resort, plus privately owned condos and homes ranging from simple and economical to grand and pricey. The resort's spa offers luxury packages such as the Decadent Chocolate Escape, as well as massages, facials, manicures and pedicures.
WATCH: The Homestead Resort
The Homestead Resort on Lake Michigan offers midwestern winter fun with an unbeatable view.