Nubs Nob Ski Resort is a skier’s ski resort located in Harbor Springs Michigan. Chances are if your not from Michigan you’ve never heard of Nubs Nob Ski Resort. You’ve probably heard of Boyne Mountain and Mt Bohemia which seem to get all the attention. Nubs Nob is the nearly unanimous favorite among all my ski and snowboarder friends here in Michigan. From discussions on chairlifts across the state, Nubs Nob almost always gets the nod as the place everyone says they like the most.
Nubs Nob Ski Resort
Nubs Nob is located in Harbor Springs, Michigan, about a 4.5 hour drive north of Detroit. It sits right next to Boyne Highlands, the lesser-known sister resort to Boyne Mountain, which nationally everyone has heard of.
They have 9 chairs and a rope tow spread across 2 peaks. Each chair lift is a different color and they are named by color making it easy to tell your friends and family where you are.
The vertical drop is published as 427 feet. I measured 492 feet and 510 feet using Ski Tracks App on my last 2 visits.
Nubs Nob has first-rate groomed runs for all abilities, glades and a terrain park with a half pipe. They have something for almost any interest.
They are independently owned and not part of any pass system. They are not a bargain or discount place to ski by any means with a Saturday adult ticket price of $88 but they are less expensive than the more well known Boyne Mountain. They are not part of any season pass system such as Epic, Ikon or Indypass.
There is no base village, onsite hotel or overdevelopment around Nubs Nob. It is not the place to go ski all day, however, it is not the place to party all night.
What is so great about Nubs Nob Ski Resort?
Nubs Nob is our favorite and for good reason. Nubs Nob likes to boast about its high-quality grooming and snow surface. It’s true, they do an excellent job, the real reason it is so great is the glade skiing. Nubs Nob has more glade skiing than any other ski resort in Michigan except for Mt Bohemia.
Harbor Springs is located on the north shore of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. It sits firmly in the lake effect snow band of Lake Michigan. It averages 123 inches of snow a year. This isn’t a ton by western standards but most of the mountain is shaded so it lasts. 6 to 8 inch snowfalls are not that uncommon. We have had several good powder days skiing at Nubs Nob. It is our preferred place to go ski if a big snowstorm is coming.
Nubs Nob has several glade areas, each with a bit different characteristic. Because of the snowfall Nubs Nob receives, they are open and skiable with good coverage most of the winter. We have skied them on powder days in early December and late March.
Orange Chair Glades
The most accessible and easiest to ski are the Southern Comfort and Bayview glades that run under the Orange chair. These have a fairly mild flat pitch and nice friendly spaced trees. These are really fun to ski even for less experienced skiers.
Pintail Peak Glades
Next up is the Pintail Peak Glades. These are the Pintail and Outback Jack Glade located on either side of the Gray and Black lifts. These have some steeper pitches and gullies giving them a bit more character and challenge than Southern Comfort and Bayview glades.
On the side face of Nubs Nob South is Powerline Glade. These are the most technically difficult glade at Nubs Nob. The initial pitch is steep and there are several gullies and chutes inside of these. Although it’s not marked on the trail map or by trail sign you can take a longer version of this glade by entering right at the top of Yellow Chair next to the trail map sign. There are usually ski tracks going into the woods to see where other skiers go.
Arena Glade is located around the Race Arena run which is only accessible by a very steep rope tow. This is not the easiest rope tow in the world to hang onto. Don’t feel bad if you slip off and can’t make it to the top. If you do please clear the rope path so people coming up behind you don’t have to get off and try again. Arena Glade has some nice pitches and chutes and holds snow well because of everyone’s hate for using the rope tow. On a powder day, you can save it for later in the morning.
Lastly is the Tower Glade. This is only accessible by a hiking path you’ll cross on the way to Pintail Peak. This glade is fairly large with a lot of skiable area. It holds snow well because it is hiking access only. There is a good chance of finding fresh tracks here a day or 2 after the snow fell. The trees are very nicely spaced and the pitch is pretty friendly. Difficulty wise it falls somewhere between Southern Comfort and Pintail Peak Glades.
Nubs Nob advertises having the best snow in the midwest. They have an award-winning snowmaking and grooming team that lays out corduroy as good as anyone in North America. The runs under Green and Yellow Lift are great places to lay down high-speed trenches in the morning. They are nice wide black diamond pitch runs.
The run Scarface has some nice pitch and a bit of a gully going over to Chute. I think this is one of the best Black Diamond groomed runs in Michigan.
Snow Pro is a classic wide-open blue cruising run. When you want something relaxing after hammering the glades or terrain park all morning this is the run to go.
The runs Twilight Zone and Goose Bumps are typically left ungroomed to grow moguls. If it’s a nice warm spring slushy day you can knock yourself out moguling yourself to death. The bump size has usually been okay for adult skiers. The bumps at many Michigan ski resorts seem to be mostly formed by small skiers and are way too tight to be enjoyable. Nubs Nob seems to not have that problem.
Terrain Park and Half Pipe
The terrain park at Nubs Nob has won many national and local awards. I’m not a terrain park skier. My last trip attempt at a terrain park jump also resulted in a trip to the doctor’s office. I see some amazing jumps being pulled off here. We did venture into the halfpipe on our last visit and we probably all skied almost as well as Elizabeth Swaney in the 2018 Olympics.
Nubs Nob has one of the better cafeterias in ski land with a large variety of offerings including soups, sandwichs, subs, burgers, pizza, salads and more all priced reasonably (by ski resort standards which means only half expensive). I highly recommend the Oreo Sundae for dessert. I am totally addicted to them.
The ski resort bar is known as Nubs Pub. It always has a good atmosphere and the service is good. We can’t leave without having at least one Apres beer there.
Tips for Powder Days
Nubs Nob can be a great place to ski on a powder day. They have a lot of glades and some black diamond groomer runs they will leave ungroomed on a powder day. The best way to attack the mountain on a powder day to maximize your fresh tracks is as follows.
- Go immediately to Southern Comfort glade and then take Orange chair. The top of Orange chair isn’t shown as a trail but it’s cleared and is a trail and they will let you ski it on a snow day until it’s tracked up. Hit that and southern comfort glades a few times.
- Head over to Pintail Peak. Hit Pintail and Outback Jack a few times.
- Head back to the base lodge and hit Arena Glade a few times until your gloves or hands can’t take anymore. 3 or 4 runs.
- Head to Tower Glade and hike it. Do twice if you’ve got it in you after all that.
- Head back to Powerline Glade. Ski it from the top of yellow chair.
- Head back to Southern Comfort Glade for some lower intensity runs or Pintail Glade if you want a little more.
- Head to Nubs Pub and drink beer.
Where to stay
There are a bunch of hotel options in Harbor Springs, and Petosky. They do not have any resort hotel directly on Nubs Nob. They have a list of recommended places here. You can head to Priceline or Expedia or any other travel site and look for discounts.
Getting to Nubs Nob Ski Resort
Nubs Nob is 4.5 hours north of Detroit in Harbor Springs. Take I-75 to the Indian River Exit. Take Rt. 68 to US 31 to Rt 119 to get to Harbor Springs. It’s fairly straight forward to get to Nubs Nob. A word of caution. The parking lot at Nubs Nob is quite steep. My front-wheel drive vehicle has had challenges on a fresh snow day.
Nubs Nob Mountain Facts
- Vertical Drop – 427 feet
- Lifts – 9 chair lifts, 1 rope tow
- 53 trails
- Skiable Acres – 248 acres
- Snowmaking – 240 acres
- Adult Lift Tickets – Saturday $88, Friday and Sunday $78, midweek $68
- Adults over 70 and children 8 and under ski for free
- Adult Season Passes – $600 unrestricted – they have a variety of restricted options for less
- Night Skiing Lift Tickets – $10 add on to a day ticket or $45 Sunday-Friday, $55 Saturday
- Day Skiing Hours – 9am – 4:30pm
- Night Skiing Hours – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 4:30-9pm, Friday, Saturday – 4:30-10pm
Nubs Nob Ski Resort
Nubs Nob is my personal favorite place to ski in Michigan. It is a lot closer than Mt Bohemia and a bit friendlier for everyone while still having some excellent glades. It is an independent skier’s resort without a lot of overdevelopment. The focus is definitely on the quality of skiing more than anything else. You should give Nubs Nob a try if you haven’t been there yet.
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About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water. I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions. I decided to start Gear Craver as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.