The beauty of West Michigan in the winter is unmatched anywhere else in the Midwest.
And if you’re a snow lover? You simply can’t beat it.
So of course it makes sense that one of our area’s biggest attractions is—you guessed it—skiing!
Whether it’s cross country or downhill, skiing in West Michigan and particularly in the White Lake area is not only fun and an excellent workout, it’s a terrific way to enjoy the great outdoors.
From steep and challenging slopes that overlook our gorgeous landscape to the many kilometers of cross country trails that weave throughout the countryside, this place was built for skiing. And even if you’re new to the sport, White Lake is a great place to test your ski legs.
Places to Ski in the White Lake Area
There are several great locations to downhill and cross country ski in the Whitehall and Montague areas. As you’ll see, several of the sites also offer equipment rentals and lessons for beginners.
Mulligan’s Hollow in Muskegon
Formerly a boot camp for U.S. Coast Guard training during WWII, Mulligan’s Hollow in Muskegon is home to the Ski Bowl: 6 slopes with adjoining trails plus 7 acres of open area for both skiing and snowboarding. Learn to ski or snowboard with private or group lessons on the bunny hill, or hit the big slopes for more challenging runs. When the sun goes down, slopes are lit for night skiing.
Muskegon Winter Sports Complex
Cross Country Skiing
Another great option for those without their own ski gear, the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is located in Muskegon State Park and offers gear rentals as well as more than 15 kilometers of easily navigated, wooded trails for cross country skiing. Ski along the dunes and close to Lake Michigan in the state park. When it gets dark, these trails are also lit for peaceful winter night skis.
* The Muskegon Winter Sports offers other winter activities as well, including: Snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating on both rinks and trails, and a real luge track designed by an Olympian.
The Hart – Montague Bike Trail
Cross Country Skiing
This is a great option for those who already have their own cross country skis and want to do a bit of exploring on their own. At 22 miles (35 km) long, the Hart–Montague Bike Trail is one of our areas most prized assets, and the trailhead is right across the street from our lakeside inn. During the summer, it’s great for biking and running, but in the winter, it’s the perfect trail for cross country skiers.
How to Make the Most of Your Ski Trip to White Lake
As you plan your ski excursion to White Lake this winter, keep these points in mind to make it the best trip ever.
Rent, don’t buy.
This is especially true if you’re a first-time skier as you’ll get the chance to use quality equipment but won’t have to make the commitment of purchase (which can be quite costly). Furthermore, frequent skiers will also benefit from simply renting as it requires less packing and maintaining of their own gear.
Consider taking lessons.
If it’s your first time out or you just want to improve your technique, consider taking private or group lessons. Both Mulligan’s Hollow and the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex offer skiing lesson to individuals of all ages.
If you had already planned on renting gear anyway, you can also kill two birds with one stone by taking lessons. That’s because the cost of lessons often includes gear rental and/or a lift pass at a discounted price.
* Keep in mind you might need to go online or call ahead to book lessons!
Seek out special pass deals and discounts for children and parents.
Most skiing locations offer special rates at different times of the day or year. More often than not, weekend skiing costs slightly more than mid-week skiing. There are also discounts for kids and parents. For example, Mulligan’s Hollow has an “All parents ski free with kids” deal (up to 2 parents).
Plan your meals ahead of time.
Eating at the lodge or resort where you ski can take a bite out of your trip budget. At the Weathervane Inn, we notice that families and groups who come back year after year for regular, fun-filled ski trips often plan and schedule their own meals.
For example, they take advantage of the complimentary continental breakfast that we offer at The Weathervane Inn, then they pop across the street to Montague Foods and buy ingredients to pack their own lunches. Finally, guests who book one of our kitchenette rooms can easily prepare their own dinners, or there are many affordable dining options just minutes away in downtown Whitehall and Montague.
Find off-resort lodging nearby.
Many avid skiers get lodging in nearby towns as staying at ski resort stays can be pricey. Plus, after a day out in the cold, you’ll want to have the most comfortable place possible to call home for the night! By booking your stay at the Weathervane Inn, you’ll be able to cozy up next to your very own in-room fireplace while benefiting from other amenities like free WiFi and cable TV. The next morning you can hop up, have a delicious and complimentary continental breakfast, and hit the slopes and trails again!