BY ANDY JAMESON
Glen Plake once told a buddy of mine, “If you want to meet a group of dedicated skiers, go to Michigan”. In that spirit, we’re giving a big ole’ Ski Hill Shout Out to Shanty Creek Resorts, in Bellaire, MI.
Don’t believe Shanty Creek Resorts is a ski hill? We don’t blame you.
Despite the conspicuous absence of the words “Ski”, “Mountain”, “Peak”, “Ridge”, “Valley”, “Hill”, “Snow”, “Alpine”, “Powder”, or any of the typical ski area identifiers, we can confirm that Shanty Creek offers not one, but two different ski areas to choose from. About an hour’s drive outside of Traverse City and two and half hours outside of Grand Rapids, these two small ski areas, along with some worthy competitors, serve the needs of Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula.
Schuss Mountain located in Mancelona, MI is the larger off the two hills and sports a 450 foot vertical drop, 43 trails, and four terrain parks. Summit Mountain located a few minutes down the road offers 11 trails, a terrain park, a tubing park, and $15-$20 dollar lift tickets. Who says skiing needs to be expensive? Pro tip, hit up Red Top on Schuss Mountain’s North Face, this trail has the perfect pitch and rollers for ripping GS turns. If ski racing isn’t your thing, try cheating into the woods off any trail, the Northern Peninsula’s terrain is practically rock free.
Schuss Mountain Trail Map
Summit Mountain Trail Map
We understand that with four golf courses, three resort villages, a spa, and 22 conference rooms Shanty Creek appears a bit more high-end then our typical shout out. Despite the amenities, the place remains affordable, $61 full priced lift tickets, $35 night skiing, and $5 skiing for those under 8 (at Summit Mountain). Don’t take our word, Shanty was rated the Midwest’s #1 value by Ski Magazine. Besides, judging by their snow-reports, these guys are all about having fun and don’t take themselves too seriously.
- Unhappy with a mere 410 vertical feet and unwilling to simply lie about their vertical like most ski areas, Shanty Creek took matters into their own hands. They moved heaven and earth (really just 300,000 cubic yards of earth) and raised their vertical 40 feet!
- Daniel Lannotti, a Chicago stock broker started Schuss Mountain in 1967. He called it the “Kingdom of Schuss” and declared it a new nation! The “Kingdom” had its own border control, its currency (the Squaller), its own language (Schwiss), and its own time zone (CFT, Central Fun Time). Editor’s note: We understand it was the 60s, but we can only assume this wasn’t normal back then either.
- In 1998, Glen Plake visited Shanty Creek. Legend has it that while Glen was out skiing with the youth racing team his wife Kimberly dominated a shot taking contest.
- The resort runs an uphill off-road truck competition. Really, would it be Michigan without motorsports?
Location: Mancelona, MI (Schuss), Bellaire, MI (Summit)
Chairlifts: Schuss- 5 quad chairlifts (Schuss), 2 doubles (Summit)
Surface lifts: 1 Magic Carpet at each area
Vertical Drop: 450ft Schuss
Trails: 52 (41 Schuss / 11 Summit)
Skiable Terrain: 70 Acres and Night (Schuss) Summit not disclosed
Adult Full Day Lift Ticket: $61 (discounts for beginners, nights, Summit only etc.)
How many G.N.A.R. points is this snow report worth?
About the Ski Hill Shout Out: Few skiers have the privilege of learning in amazing destination resorts such as Jackson Hole, Whistler, or Squaw Valley. Instead, most of us fell in love with the sport shredding local hills. We came to these (often smaller) local hills because they offered easy access, low prices, and accessibility. Sadly, many of these local hills have either died or are struggling to survive. At Unofficial, we understand that these hills are the life blood of our sport. Through this feature, we hope to raise awareness of smaller ski areas, and if possible, direct a few readers their way.