Every season brings great outdoor recreation opportunities that are easily accessible from downtown Grand Rapids. In winter, downhill ski aficionados flock to Cannonsburg Ski Area, just 20 minutes away. Cross-country connoisseurs know that there’s a trailhead five minutes from the city center, connecting to 18 miles of Fred Meijer Millennium Park trails through extensive natural areas with mostly flat terrain. And that’s just one of many convenient cross-country locations!
Cannonsburg Ski Area features 21 runs, from beginner to advanced, and nine lifts – three chair lifts, four rope tows and two Magic Carpets. The longest run is 1,500 feet, with a vertical drop of 250 feet, the longest vertical in southwest Michigan. Amenities include a cozy lodge, pro shop and equipment rentals. Don’t be deterred by a lack of white stuff – if it’s cold enough, Cannonsburg makes its own snow.
Cannonsburg also offers a tubing park and trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking, as well as various foodservice outlets for relaxing and refueling. Just starting out? Private and group lessons for both skiers and snowboarders of all ages are available. Check out this short video for a look at the destination.
People with disabilities can contact the Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association (CCSA) for lessons and the use of adaptive downhill ski equipment at Cannonsburg Ski Area. It's a great way to develop independence, gain confidence and improve fitness.
Grand Rapids is a convenient home base for exploring two other ski areas a little further afield than Cannonsburg. Bittersweet Ski Resort features a 350-foot vertical drop with 20 runs and Mulligan’s Hollow serves up a 130-foot vertical drop with six runs. Both destinations, which also offer snowboarding, are within 30-40 minutes of the city.
In addition to Millennium Park, several other county parks offer scenic cross-country opportunities, with trails of varying challenges. (New to the sport? Click here for some tips.) Trails are groomed for skiing at Palmer Park, the other 10 parks deliver more of a back-country experience.
Other popular cross-country destinations include:
Don’t let a lack of your own gear keep you from enjoying our winter wonderland – you can rent equipment at Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus and the Palmer Park clubhouse. Bundle up and join us on the slopes and trails!