Private Northern Michigan Ski Club Opens To Public This Winter
It was the private training ground for Olympic ski boarder Shaun White during his glory years, but until now, the resort, which features a 22 foot half pipe was open only to members. Get ready to ski and board where international Olympians have trained.
The Otsego Club has announced it will be opening its ski hills and cross country trails to the general public this winter for the first time in its existence. The club opened 78 years ago just east of Gaylord, butting up against the beautiful Sturgeon River Valley.
The New York Times featured an article about the club in 2010 when it found out many top Olympians, including White, trained there while prepping for the Vancouver Winter Games. Some international snow boarders attended Gaylord High School while training on the half pipe.
When I lived in Gaylord, the rumor was the skiing there was beyond compare to anything in Otsego County, with most folks comparing it to Boyne Highlands to the northwest. But to ski there, you needed to know someone, and I was but a lowly disc jockey, so it never happened. (I did get to eat in the restaurant once, and gawk at the beauty of some of the cross country ski trails, which for me was torture.)
Gaylord lies in the heart of the lake effect snow belt and can receive upwards of 180-200 inches of snow in an average winter. Which means great powder for ski and board buffs. Otsego Ski Club boasts a 400 foot vertical drop, 5 chairlifts (3 double, 1 triple, 1 quad) and 31 trails. The longest run, Murphy's Trail is nearly a half mile long. There are also over four miles of snowshoeing and cross country ski trails.
A season lift pass will cost you $499, while daily passes will run you $65 for adults, $55 for teenagers and $50 for juniors.
As for why their finally opening up their doors to the public, skiing web site Local Freshies offers this theory:
If you’ve been reading ski articles lately, Millennials aren’t skiing or snowboarding as much as the older generation. In fact, on average they’re only going 5 days a season compared to the Baby Boomers which still get in a whopping 10 days. This means its heckuva lot harder to keep membership going at a private ski area. Instead of closing up shop, Otsego is changing with the times. And the best part? This gives Midwesterners an entirely new ski area to visit this season.