Last week’s frigid temperatures and snow served as a reminder that it’s time to pull out the skis and sleds and get ready for some winter fun.
Snow machines will set up base at Mount Brighton Ski Resort once the weather warms up. And when natural snow falls, winter sports like sledding, cross-country skiing and skating will return to the network for the snow season. Local metro and state parks cover these activities.
“Early in the season, we’ll have intermediate and beginner terrain, with some open terrain features,” said general manager Mt. Brighton Mike Giorgio.
In addition to long-standing skiing and snowboarding spots, there are plenty of areas for sledding and cross-country skiing.
Here’s where to find snow vacations in Livingston County.
Vail’s local winter sports ground
Mount Brighton has been around since 1960. Vail Resorts purchased it in 2012 and spent millions upgrading the slopes, terrain park, main house, restaurant and snowmaking equipment.
Genoa Township Ski and Snowboard Resort typically opens a limited number of lifts, trails and park features in early December once snowplows can support the base. As the season progresses, more lifts and pistes are opened.
Resort officials say new activities and entertainment offerings are coming to the mountain, which has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions and will be operating at full capacity.
Ultimately, skiers and snowboarders will be able to access 24 regular trails, including ski and beginner trails, from five chairlifts and seven ground lifts, as well as park features. Intermediate and expert routes are also presented here. The ski hill rises to an elevation of about 1,330 feet.
“We need people of all skill levels right from the start. We’re going to focus on snowmaking and then expand as soon as possible,” said Giorgio.
He said private ski lessons will be available as soon as Mount Brighton opens, and group lessons will likely begin in mid-December.
Vail’s latest investments at Mount Brighton include a new ski race shack that allows racers to line up and take off during competitions, as well as additional snowmakers to cover more terrain.
He said the new LED lighting on the slopes should provide better lighting after dark and also cut electricity consumption by almost half.
Fun on the mountain.
He said resort management wants to make Mount Brighton a gathering place even for non-skiers.
“I want it to be a place where people who don’t even ski can come to Brighton and eat, drink, listen to music and see events,” said Giorgio.
On Fridays, the Ore Creek Grill will feature live music, special outdoor events, weather permitting, and a new family-friendly cardboard and duct tape competition.
On February 4th, Duck Tape Derby participants will have to make a sliding device out of cardboard and duct tape and race down a slope.
“We want to see how creative people get,” Giorgio said. “We’ll have everyone take them up the hill and set them up for one of our softer runs and races. It’s just fun.”
Mount Brighton has never hosted such an event, he said, but he has attended similar races at other ski resorts in the past.
“The best thing I’ve ever seen was a recreation of an X-wing fighter from Star Wars,” he said, adding that he also saw a pirate ship and a sled full of kids dressed as snowmen in races.
In March, the site hosts the annual Slush Cup, a pond-shooting competition.
Local artists will perform live music on Friday nights at Ore Creek Grill, kicking off the holiday season.
“And if it’s a warm, nice Saturday, we’re going to go outside, put a bar up there,” Giorgio said.
They will also be hosting S’more Sundays with bonfires and a s’more day.
As soon as the snow falls, it’s time for sledding and other sports
Mother Nature will decide when to cover the hills at Livingston County Public Parks with enough snow for other winter outdoor activities, including sledding and cross-country skiing.
Several public parks have sledding slides, and some have areas to warm up.
Kensington Metropark’s toboggan and toboggan runs are some of the most popular in the county, with plenty of hills for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers. Lined with fallen trees, toboggan runs, sledding and a beginner’s snowboard, the Bunny Slide is adjacent to the Orchard Picnic Area.
The more than 200-foot sledding hill at Genoa City Park has an elevation drop of about 40 feet. The park, located in the township complex at 2100 Dorr Road, has heated restrooms and a heated area in the park pavilion.
Settlers Park, next to Hartland City Hall at 2655 Clark Road, has a sledding hill along the park’s 1.2-mile paved trail. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Hartland Heritage Park, at 12439 Highland Road/M-59, also offers sledding when there is enough snow. The park is open from sunrise to sunset.
Ski racing, skating in the park
Cross-country skiing is a popular activity in the winter at state recreation areas and metro parks.
Huron Meadows Metropark has over 15 miles of groomed cross-country skiing trails and 11 miles of ready-to-skate hills. The park also has a ski center with a heated lounge, restrooms and snacks. Bucks Run’s 1.5-mile course is refreshed by snow cannons and illuminated at night.
Kensington Metropark also has groomed cross-country skiing trails and a rental center in the Golf Course Starter Building.
Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark has floodlit outdoor natural ice rinks. There are separate rinks for ice skaters and hockey players on the lake. The adjacent boat rental building provides heating. Skate rental is not available on site.
Contact Livingston Daily reporter Jennifer Eberbach at email@example.com.