Winter Arrives, Ski Resorts Open

First Day of Winter

Winter seemed to wait until December 21 (the official first day on the calendar) to arrive with a dusting of snow. Now, just past Christmas it certainly has reminded Southeast Michigan of what time year it is – Ski Season!

Last winter had above average temperatures and very little natural snowfall. Due to cutting edge snowmaking capabilities, most of the area ski resorts were open with good conditions. However, skiers and boarders spent less time on the slopes.

Ski Season is Open

The ski areas in Southeast Michigan tried to open earlier in December, some were successful being open a few days mid-month. Now, all four ski and snowboard resorts are open and ready to serve the winter sports enthusiast.

Pine Knob and Mt. Holly, both located in north Oakland County, have been making snow on and off for the last couple of weeks. With consistent favorable temperatures for snowmaking and a nice natural snowfall, both are expecting good crowds this weekend.

Alpine Valley is in west Oakland County and seems to be in good shape as well, with about one-third of its runs open.

Mt. Brighton is now a Vail Resort

Announced just last week, Vail Resorts, Inc. purchased two Midwest ski areas for $20 million. Mt. Brighton was one of those two. Located in Brighton, the resort is just across the southwest Oakland County line near I-96 and US-23.

Joe Bruhn, general manager at Mt. Brighton, said this is “great for Vail, Michigan, and Mt. Brighton.” Bruhn’s family has been involved with the resort for 50 years and states that there will be more “opportunities for employees” and Vail will address “more snowmaking capabilities” and “redecorating over the summer.” In short, Bruhn says that this will be “better for our skiers and members.”

Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, stated “We are thrilled to welcome … Mount Brighton to the Vail Resorts family … part of a new strategy for Vail Resorts to drive season pass sales and build broader guest loyalty by looking at premier smaller ski areas located near major urban markets. We plan to bring state-of-the-art racing, terrain parks, coaching and technology to the guest experience. We also will connect these urban ski areas to our world-class resorts in Colorado, California and Nevada with new season pass offerings, providing the chance to experience the best skiing and riding locally and in the West.”

Michigan Snowsports Industries Association

Mickey MacWilliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, tells Rochester Media that the “most important time to be open is the day after Christmas and on” for ski resorts. MacWilliams suggests people “check out the resorts’ web cams” to view the current conditions.

For the first time skier she says the “best way to learn” and be “introduced” to the sport is to take advantage of the January promotion “Discover Michigan.” The program gives first time skiers a chance to try the sport at the reduced rate of $30 for skiing and $40 for snowboarding. The deal includes a beginner area lift pass, rental equipment, and a group lesson. More information is available at

Information for the local ski areas:

Alpine Valley Ski Area
Mt. Brighton Ski Resort
Mt. Holly Ski Area
Pine Knob Ski & Snowboard Resort

Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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