“Up North,” a good many golf courses are paired with a ski area to offer year round attractions: Boyne, Shanty Creek and Crystal Mountain are just three examples. In the Metro Detroit area, however, the only similar situation is at Mt. Brighton in Brighton. In summer months, the ski area turns into the Jackal Golf Course.
I have not played the Jackal, nor have I heard any word on the street. I have been to the Mt. Brighton ski area, however, and it was frankly run down. The lodge was dank, the lift equipment wonky and the runs less than optimal.
So it was considered good news among area ski fans when last year it was announced that Vail resorts was buying Mt. Brighton and planned major upgrades. A recent article in the Detroit News talks about $10 million in upgrades:
Vail is completely overhauling Mt. Brighton’s snow-making system. That includes adding 43 snow-making guns; 17,000 feet of pipe to transport water for snow-making; 92 hydrants to hold water for the process; and an automated pump house. These additions will make snow making more efficient and increase volume.
The chairlifts are being replaced; the beginner slope is being completely remade; the race hill is being expanded; a new terrain park is being created and the lodge is being renovated to include new bars, kitchens, meeting space and room for an expanded children’s ski and snowboarding school.
No word on the fate of golf there, however.
The article also had an interesting tidbit: Michigan is second only to New York in the number of ski areas. Combine that with Michigan’s 800+ public courses (variously reported as the most or second-most number of public courses), and you have America’s recreation capital.