Bittersweet Ski Area

Ski resorts in USA
Those familiar with the typical winter venue layout for skiing and snowboarding in the lower half of Michigan are familiar with the Bittersweet Ski Area, even if they have never been here. Limited slopeside amenities allow this smaller resort allows staff to focus on the important stuff, like alpine skiing and riding.

The closest Interstate highways are I-94 and I-196. Motorists will likely find themselves using US Route 131 north of Kalamazoo and south of Grand Rapids before transferring onto Michigan State Highway 89 to Otsego. Air travelers will find the closest International facilities to be the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport (Kalamazoo, MI) or the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (Grand Rapids, MI).

One Mission: Alpine Entertainment

The Bittersweet Ski Area opened its doors in 1983 and has a ski season that can last for less than three months. That means the staff has to pack all the action between December and March. Its location on the western side of the lower peninsula has that warmer climate associated with conditions south of Grand Rapids. That means the winters here are cold but not as severe as in other parts of the state.

Lake-effect snow patterns can dump several inches of fresh pow on the Bittersweet Ski Area, with average annual snowfall ranges nearing 90 inches. It will not stick around long, though, and that is one reason the venue maintains snowmaking abilities across the trail system. Skiers and snowboarders need to dress in layers, but they will find fewer bitter cold days here than other northern ski resorts.

The facilities operate until early evening. That makes the lodge and services provided daily and not overnight (sorry nighttime skiers). Guests at the Bittersweet Ski Area have access to a bar, restaurant, and a full-service shop in the base area. That includes rentals, tune-ups, and limited retail.

Mission Accomplished: Terrain for All

The Bittersweet Ski Area has a listed base elevation of 450 feet and a summit height listed at 850 feet. Skiers and riders have a lift-serviced vertical drop of 350 feet that they can work down. A layout of straight runs allows guests to bomb down the slopes, but the terrain is reserved in places, allowing newbies to enjoy trips down the vertical also.

There are 20 runs at the Bittersweet Ski Area, with the longest measuring less than a quarter-mile in length. Nearly 80-percent of the mountain breaks down evenly between green-rated terrain for those new to alpine exploring and blue-rated runs for guests with experience. The remaining runs are rated at a black diamond level, providing some challenge and fun to more advanced skiers and riders at the Bittersweet Ski Area.

A Ski School offers one-on-one and semi-private lessons here, and PSIA/AASI qualified instructors help students learn proper alpine techniques on skis or snowboards. The lift system at the Bittersweet Ski Area consists of seven chairs, three wonder carpets, and a rope tow. These keep guests moving during business hours without long waits found at other winter venues close to population centers around these parts.

Bittersweet Ski Area Snow forecast

  • Tuesday
    0 ft
    Sun/clear sky
    9 mph
  • Wednesday
    0 ft
    Sun/clear sky
    7 mph
  • Thursday
    0 ft
    14 mph

Facts about Bittersweet Ski Area

Number of slopes:18
Easiest Green slopes:7
Intermediate Blue slopes:7
Advanced Black slopes:4
Expert Only Double black diamond slopes:0

Lifts (Total: 11)
Chair lifts:7
Platter lift:4
Lift capacity:  11500 persons/hour

Vertical drop
Bittersweet Ski Area Vertical drop
Highest Point: 850 ft
Vertical drop: 400 ft
Base Point: 449 ft

Country: USA
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Trail map

Trail map Bittersweet Ski Area

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