Michigan Skier News






The U.S Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame has been awarded two grants!  On September 19th, our organization was awarded two grants totaling $73,500 from the State of Michigan Arts & Culture Council as well as The National Endowment for the Arts to be used for operational costs and the repair of the roof on our Ski Hall Museum. The grant was awarded through the MACC peer review process and was one of 639 applications to compete for MACC fiscal year 2023 funding. 

Organizations receiving a MACC grant award are required to match those funds with other public and private dollars. 



HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. (September 20, 2022) – The Highlands located in Harbor Springs in northern Michigan, today announced plans to install a six-person, high-speed Doppelmayr D-Line bubble chairlift to open for the 2023/24 winter season.  This is the first lift of its kind in the Midwest. 


“We’re coming full circle in lift innovation from the world’s first bubble chairlift in 1963, to the Midwest’s first modern bubble lift with unrivaled guest comfort, speed, energy efficiency, and safety in 2023,” said Mike Chumbler, president and general manager of The Highlands.  “This will be the most kid-friendly and safest lift ever built,” he added.  “The addition of Camelot 6 will transform the guest experience on the southern end of our slopes for all levels of skiers and riders.”


Riders will be treated to ultra-comfort with the D-Line’s heated, extra wide seats that are ergonomically designed, plus individual footrests.  A tinted, weatherproof bubble keeps passengers warm and protected from elements while being whisked on a whisper-quiet three-minute ride up the slopes, the fastest in the Midwest at 6m/s.


Equipped with the most advanced safety features in North America, Camelot 6 features the first fully automatic safety bar system in the U.S., including auto closing and auto opening mechanisms, in addition to auto locking and a height-adjustable loading carpet conveyor.


Camelot 6 is replacing three existing triple-place lifts – Camelot, Valley, and MacGully – and will extend to the top of Upper Camelot slope.  This new D-Line six-person bubble chairlift allows for quicker access to a variety of scenic and popular terrain, more convenient access for day and evening visitors with its proximity to the resort’s Day Lodge portal, and will also serve as the primary lift for summer chairlift rides and expanding mountain biking operations. The Camelot run itself will also be extensively regraded to allow progressing beginners to confidently utilize this transformative lift.

Construction and dismantling is expected to begin in spring 2023. 


Camelot 6 is one of a number of significant investments outlined in The Highlands’ Transformational Journey, a vision plan guiding resort growth with an array of dramatic new offerings and amenity enhancements through the year 2030. For additional information on Camelot 6 and the 2030 Transformational Journey, visit highlandsfuture.com.



Owner of Lutsen Mountains & Granite Peak to Purchase Michigan’s Big Snow Resort

Charles Skinner to acquire the largest ski area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  


Lutsen, MN, and Wausau, WI (May 25, 2022) – Charles Skinner, the owner of Minnesota’s Lutsen Mountains Ski Area and Wisconsin’s Granite Peak Ski Area, has a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Big Snow Resort, which consists of Indianhead and Blackjack ski areas, from Art Dumke. Skinner’s family has owned and operated vacation destination ski areas catering to Midwest families for 60 years.


All the resorts in the Skinner ownership portfolio are accessible to Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis/St. Paul markets, offering customers outstanding affordability and the luxury of travel flexibility.


Big Snow Resort in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, known as “Big Snow Country,” so named thanks to the lake effect snowfall of Lake Superior, delivering 200-inch averages annually. Indianhead was the first ski resort built in this region of Michigan, while Blackjack is the most recent ski area built in 1977.


“We are thrilled that these two historical, Upper Michigan ski areas, known for their prodigious powder snow, will be joining our legendary family of resorts in Minnesota and Wisconsin,” stated Charles Skinner. “The current owner and his excellent staff have done a terrific job honoring the legacy of Indianhead and Blackjack and combining them into the largest ski area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We intend to build upon this work by investing in new lifts, snowmaking and base area infrastructure at Big Snow soon.”


Big Snow will join the tradition of its sister resorts providing Midwest families with diverse and high-quality alpine ski vacations in some of the most picturesque areas in the Midwest.


“I would first like to say how grateful we are to the many awesome employees, skiers, and community members who we’ve had the privilege of serving and working with the past many years,” stated Art Dumke, owner of Big Snow Resorts. “I’m also pleased that the new ownership has so much expertise in operating premium Midwest ski areas and is vested in improving the ski area for skiers, employees, and the community.”


“We’re committed to providing Midwest families with great destinations close to home that offer the best snow, great customer service, and fast, modern ski lifts,” added Charlotte Skinner, VP of Finance and Resource Management. “We are planning major investments at Big Snow that we know everyone will be very excited about when details are announced later this summer.”


The Skinner Family plans to retain all Big Snow Resort’s current employees. “Art has told us great things about the current staff, and we look forward to working with the entire team on this exciting new chapter for this legendary resort,” explained Charlotte Skinner.  “The current management team will enjoy support from our management teams at Lutsen and Granite Peak, and our goal is always to be the best employer in the region.”


“This transaction will strengthen all three areas. We will continue our pace of investments at both Lutsen and Granite Peak,” emphasized Charles Skinner.  “At Lutsen, we are pleased to announce that we will be installing a new, high-speed, 6-place chairlift from Leitner Poma on Eagle Mountain next summer to replace the ‘Bridge Lift.’ This summer, major investments are also taking place in snowmaking and a host of building improvements at both Lutsen and Granite Peak.”


Boyne Highlands Resort Announces its 2030 Transformational Journey

Unveils Brand Refresh - The Highlands at Harbor Springs


HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. (December 13, 2021) – Back in the early 1960s, when founder Everett Kircher first set his eyes on the defunct Harbor Highlands ski area known today as Boyne Highlands, he knew it was a special place worthy of a grand vision.  His dream was for a large year-round resort with all the accompaniments.  Kircher got to work creating a place with attention to detail worthy of Walt Disney himself and an escape from the everyday with the charm of northern hospitality and the thrills of the Midwest’s best skiing, Lower Michigan’s highest vertical drop, and the world’s first triple chairlifts.  In those early years, Kircher would settle for nothing less than the best skiing experience, golf course design, elevated dining, and accommodations.


Now the resort’s leadership team is reinvigorating this original vision of four-season grandeur with enrichments for the twenty-first century guest with an array of dramatic new enhancements to the resort’s amenities.   


Resort President and General Manager, Mike Chumbler, announced the resort’s impassioned 2030 Transformational Journey at a recent unveiling event, and laid out a series of projects defined under first steps, and short-, mid-, and long-term plans.


Among the first steps is the momentous rollout of a brand refresh with new name and logo design for the state’s largest ski resort. The beloved and commonly used moniker, The Highlands, was chosen to strengthen the resort’s individualized identity and a modifier of ‘At Harbor Springs’ to fortify its community connection.  


“This is a historic and monumental day in our resort’s history as Boyne Highlands becomes The Highlands and builds on our amazing foundation and embarks on this next chapter,” said Chumbler.


“We’re are also part of an extraordinary community, and we’re proud to showcase that in our new brand,” he added.


“The investments in the coming decade will assuredly set The Highlands apart in the Midwest and lure more widespread visitation to the resort and region throughout the year.”  


In mapping for the resort’s future, five pillars were identified to guide the Journey - distinction in hospitality, an environment of wellbeing, four-season innovation, community partnership, and a sustainable focus.


The resort has already completed a number of additional first steps throughout 2021, including opening northern Michigan’s only Trackman Range, a 30-bay set-up that enables golfers to practice distance control, shot-shaping and more using tour-proven swing and ball-flight tracking, analysis, and entertainment technology; as well as 87 new refined and elegant Main Lodge accommodations; RFID technology; continued snowmaking investments and advancements; and the makeover of Donald Ross Memorial’s Hole No. 1 to a very accurate facsimile of the famed No. 6 hole at Seminole Golf Club in Florida.  


Future Project Highlights Include:


The Main Lodge Elevation Continues -- Future phases of the hotel currently known as the Main Lodge will continue making over every aspect of the iconic slopeside hotel, including the modernization of additional guest rooms and the hotel’s Tower lobbies.  Plans also call for the addition of a uniquely European-inspired multi-level experiential spa and pool complex with indoor and outdoor elements connecting to the natural landscape; a refashioning of the lobby with expanded reception area and bar; expanded Café providing curated on-the-go food and drink refreshments, plus retail; gaming room featuring golf simulator, bowling alley, and arcade games; and a farm-to-table signature restaurant.


Enriched Culinary Experiences -- Several new culinary destinations are outlined in the Journey including a new restaurant situated idyllically between The Heather golf course and the Main Lodge.  The yet to be named restaurant features traditional English countryside architecture melded with modern style, and will serve a fusion of steakhouse and Asian in an environment designed to bring people together.  Also included is Slope 63, an après venue reimaged in the Day Lodge, and a Speakeasy, harkening to the bygone era of northern Michigan’s infamous clubs.


Latest in Lift and Snowmaking Technology -- Building on the legacy of innovations at The Highlands, major lift upgrades and continued snowmaking enhancements will be pivotal throughout the 2030 Journey.   The first lift priority will be a substantial upgrade to the southern end of the slopes and upgrading the day skier portal experience. 


Additional projects included in the full plan include a new Discovery Center arrival experience, the continued reinvention of the Donald Ross Memorial, a new short course located behind the Main Lodge, expanded hiking and biking trail systems, state-of-the-art conference center, and an equestrian facility.


“As we carry out our Transformational Journey, The Highlands will rise once again to become the Grande Dame of Midwest resorts with a nurtured sense of charm and place, elevated guest services, and four-seasons of curated experiences, all with an enduring commitment to protecting our environment,” said Stephen Kircher, president and CEO of Boyne Resorts.


For more details on the 2030 Transformational Journey, visit highlandsfuture.com.  For additional resort information, visit highlandsharborsprings.com.


One-Piece Nordic Walking Poles Radically Improve Balance, Stability, And Gait -- NO Longer Just For Athletes, Backpackers & Expert Skiers Deprived Of Snow!


Over 12 million Europeans are walking with special Nordic Ski Walking Poles (ALL ages and ALL fitness levels). This amazing new fitness activity turbocharges the typical walking regimen. Nordic Walking burns up to 40% more calories than regular walking. Using the correct length poles automatically improves walking posture. The correct length poles trick us into standing taller and help to radically reduce the stress to the shins, knees, hips, and back. Nordic Walking is ideal for athletes, kids, adults of all ages, and even folks with balance issues.


Every day, here at SKIWALKING.COM LLC and The American Nordic Walking System, we receive thank you emails and wonderful reviews from happy customers - including folks with bad/new knees, bad/new hips, back problems, balance, and other issues. One of our first customers asked if our walking poles would help improve her balance problems stemming from an inner ear issue. At the time, I wasn’t sure, but I did share with her several impressive success stories from individuals with knee, hip and/or back problems. By using the correct length poles, she was able to navigate even the roughest terrain with balance and security provided by the poles. She has been successfully using our Swix VIP Nordic Walking Poles for years now.


Nordic Walking’s winning combination of improved posture, and unique 4-Wheel-Drive type action and shock absorbing benefits - helping many individuals to walk comfortably again. Nordic Walking Poles are helping individuals with balance issues, knee issues, hip issues, back issues (including those with rods in their back), weight issues, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS),  diabetes, neuropathy, arthritis, bursitis, scoliosis, lumbar stenosis, fibromyalgia, post polio, osteoporosis, stroke recovery, cancer recovery and other limitations to walking. Nordic Walking poles are helping thousands of Americans get off the couch, successfully get outside, start walking safely, and effectively launch much-needed walking campaigns.


While hosting Nordic Walking at The Fitness Center in Traverse City, Michigan, I was introduced to Michelle Honer. Michelle had signed up to participate in one of my Ski Walking Classes. When she walked up the handicap ramp prior to the class with her cane, it was apparent that she had some balance issues. Michelle informed her classmates that she had MS. Our 1st Ski Walk was only a few blocks down and back. Within several weeks we were covering about 2 miles in one hour.


For seven prior years, Michelle had ridden an electric scooter in the Traverse City MS Walk. Michelle’s Nordic Walking Poles helped to enable her to walk the 5K (3.1 miles). Local newspapers and TV stations have covered her remarkable story.


"My special Nordic Walking poles have allowed me to walk taller, faster, further and with much more stability than with my cane. Their one-piece design is so much better than my old adjustable poles that broke unexpectedly at an extremely inconvenient time," says Michelle.


Michelle became an official Ski Walking Ambassador for SKIWALKING.COM and proudly wore her Ski Walking Shirt made of organic cotton while assisting at many of my Nordic Walking Clinics. Michelle’s success with the walking poles encouraged me to host free Nordic Walking Clinics at MS Support Group meetings. She suggested that I also contact the Jimmie Heuga Center in Colorado. The Heuga Center is dedicated to helping those with MS lead healthier and happier lives.


A few summers back we hosted free Nordic Walking Clinics and donated our SWIX Nordic Walking Poles to Wounded Warriors at Fort Carson in Colorado. Many of these American heroes came to our clinics using canes and walkers. One Wounded Warrior had just been released from his wheelchair. ALL found that using the correct length poles really did radically improve balance, stability, and gait. Our one-piece poles are much more stable then collapsible poles. 32 different lengths ensure a perfect fit.


We receive thank you letters and emails every day from super happy customers. Here are a couple of wonderful examples:


I just returned from a 14-day trip to London and Ireland. I was able to do almost everything using my walking poles or "walking sticks" as they call them in England and Ireland. I could not have considered this trip without my "walking sticks," and I am grateful for them. I hope all Parkinson's patients will be able to make use of "walking sticks."

Again, thanks for making my once in a lifetime adventure a reality.



We've been Ski Walking every day, and I am truly amazed watching Linda with her new walking poles. If I didn't know that Linda had MS and the related gate problems that most MS patients have, I would not have believed it! She walks "normal" whatever that is? Your poles are great!



My husband bought me your poles for my birthday last week. I LOVE them. I have MS and walk with a slight limp, and my balance is off sometimes. I am now walking in the park at a brisk walk every day for about 1 1/2 miles. Thank you so much. They make a big difference in my walking. I told him they are the best birthday present he has ever bought me. Thanks again.



It may sound like magic, but it is just good physics. The key is using "perfect length" Nordic Walking Poles. The perfect length poles actually trick us into walking with a super straight back - better walking posture is biomechanically a good thing. This improved walking posture, when combined with the unique 4-Wheel-Drive type action of walking with poles, radically reduces the stress to the shins, knees, hips, and back. Nordic Walking is low impact and yet provides a highly effective workout - burning more calories and working more muscle groups than regular walking. 


We recommend quality one-piece poles that won’t collapse unexpectedly. One-piece poles are safer, lighter and much more durable than adjustable/telescoping/collapsible poles. Our one-piece poles are doctor recommended.  Adjustable/telescoping/collapsible poles should NEVER be recommended to anyone with a balance issue. Hundreds of backpackers have tumbled when their telescoping poles unexpectedly collapsed, sometimes causing severe injuries. 


According to Nick Mahood, SWIX USA Nordic Walking Director, "Pete Edwards, the American Nordic Walking System and SKIWALKING.COM LLC's owner/found/coach, has single-handedly introduced thousands of Americans to Nordic Walking through his enthusiastic Nordic Walking clinics! I have no doubt that Edwards is the #1 retailer of Nordic Walking Poles in the USA! You can quote me on that!"



For more information, pictures, info on how to get started, and how to buy – please contact:

The American Nordic Walking System 



Phone: 231-334-3080