Crawford County, Michigan
DOWNHILL and CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
The decision in Crawford County is not whether you may cross-country ski, but where. We have so many lovely areas the biggest decision of the day is which area to choose.
Cross-country skiing has enjoyed a tremendous surge in Crawford Country in the last few years. Although the sport is weather-dependent, excellent conditions can be maintained through grooming and tracking techniques on a minimum base of snow and consequently skiing conditions at local facilities are usually good.
Dick Fultz of "THE CROSS-COUNTRY SKI SHOP" reports that, "the quality of trails in Crawford County is unsurpassed by any in the state." The Cross-Country Ski Shop offers three skiing loops, including a lighted loop and a 1/3-mile long Ridge Run. Fultz keeps the trail in top condition with state-of-the-art grooming and tracking equipment. Located behind the Grayling Holiday Inn, The Cross-Country Ski Shop specializes in clothing and equipment, including rental equipment. The hours are 10-6 Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. (517) 348-8558
FORBUSH CORNERS, laid out on a centennial farm in Maple Forest Township, offers four ski loops, the longest of which stretches out for 11 kilometers. One loop is lighted for night skiing. The 36 km of trails are groomed for both classical and freestyle skiing. There is a warming lodge, a full-service ski shop with sales and rentals and cross-country skiing clinics and instruction are available. Limited food service is available on weekends and night skiing is available Friday and Saturday nights. (517) 348-5989
HANSON HILLS, a community operated recreation area, offers quality cross-country skiing on a total of 35 kilometers of trails ranging over five loops from 4 to 12 km in length. Each Winter the area hosts several Michigan Cup events and the cross-country/snowshoe event of Grayling's Winter Wolf triathalon. Hours are 8 a.m. to dusk daily. (517) 348-9266
The two Michigan state parks in Crawford County each offer groomed trails. At the NORTH HIGGINS LAKE STATE PARK the "Beaver Creek Challenge" is usually run in February. Reach the park by exiting I-75 at the North Roscommon exit, then turn left to the campground. You will find 3 groomed loops of 3.9 km and 18.2 km. A park permit is required for entry. (517) 821-6125
At HARTWICK PINES STATE PARK skiers will find five groomed trails from 7.8 km to 20.8 km. The park is located 7-1/2 miles Northeast of Grayling on M-93. From I-75 take exit 259. A motor vehicle permit is required. (517) 348-7068
Neither park rents or sells equipment, but skiers will find some of the most beautiful and natural scenery to be found anywhere.
In addition to the state parks, the State of Michigan maintains 11-1/3 miles of ungroomed trails along the AuSable River through the beautiful MASON TRACT of Branch Township. The Mason Tract Pathway is 12 miles east of Grayling on M-72, then take Canoe Harbor Road. (517) 348-6371
GARLAND RESORT features 50 km of groomed cross-country ski trails, sleighrides and world-class dining. From I-75 take exit 254, turn right at the first light and take M-72 Luzerne. Turn left at the blinking light on Country Road 489 and follow the resort entrance. (800) 968-0042
SKYLINE offers complete facilities for skiers of any ability with 10 slopes, a chairlift, instruction, complete sales, rental and repair, plus dining facilities. To reach Skyline from I-75 take exit 251 [4 mile road], turn South on Old 27 for two mile to Skyline Road. Turn East for one mile to the ski area.
Skyline's unique ability to stay open when others are closed is due to its position facing North away from the sun and wind and the fact that all of the slopes are heavily wooded. Skyline is able to pack as little as a half-inch of snow without worrying whether it will melt or blow away.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, with night skiing Friday and Saturday nights from 6:30 to 10pm.
Skyline Ski Area, Skyline Road, Route 1, Box 1708, Grayling, Michigan 49738. (517) 275-5445
The HANSON HILL RECREATION AREA has nine downhill slopes, T-bar, snow making equipment, complete rental facilities including downhill, snowboards, and tubes. Instruction is available through the Professional Ski Instructors of America affiliated ski school. Group rates are available for 15 or more.
To reach Hanson Hills take exit 254 from the I-75 freeway. Proceed through 3 stoplights to M-72 West, and on to the junction of M-93 where you turn left. Follow M-93 for half mile to the identifying sign and turn left.
Hanson Hills is the home of Michigan's oldest annual Winter festival, held in January.
Hours are 5 to 9pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11am to 9pm, weekends and holidays.
For additional information, contact: Grayling Area Visitors Council at (800) 937-8837.|
Bed and Breakfast Inns