What we Midwesterners think of as ski mountains are
nothing more than molehills to families who ski out west. But if
you lack the time or cash required to take the family to Colorado
or beyond, northern Michigan is a reasonable, affordable
During a trip sponsored by Pure Michigan Travel, I
snowshoed, snow tubed, cross country skied, downhill skied and
snowmobiled. The best of it: snow tubing. The worst of it:
The tubing hill at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, Mich.,
features sturdy inflated inner tubes. There are four groomed runs
with increasing levels of intensity, but none is particularly
challenging. Best of all, there's a pull rope that latches onto the
tube. So, unlike tubing at the neighborhood sledding hill, snow
tubing at Shanty Creek is all play and no work.
The ski instructors at Schuss Village, a part of Shanty
Creek (the resort rents everything you need for any sport and a
free shuttle takes guests from hotels to snow activities), were
thorough and patient. The downhill runs top out at 450 feet, but
are connected so skiers can ski a mile before arriving at the
Our snowshoeing adventure took place at the breathtaking
Sleeping Bear Dunes. The park is equally beautiful dressed in snow
as it is shimmering during the summer.
Finally, the snowmobiling. Stunningly, kids as young as 12
can drive their own snowmobile as long as they have passed a
four-hour certification course. Blue Sky Rentals generally rents
the machines and sends snowmobilers off with a trail map and a wave
If you do go snowmobiling, stop for a bite at Peego's next
door to Blue Sky Rentals. The sandwiches were terrific (try the
Sloppy Larry sub) and the pizza was even better.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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