As winter sets in, so does cabin fever. Thankfully, there are plenty of outdoor recreational activities available after the cold temperatures set in. One of the longest-standing winter recreation destinations, Cannonsburg Ski Area, proves just that.

A West Michigan favorite for more than 50 years, Cannonsburg Ski Area offers fun activities all year round for the family, but their most popular activities take place in the winter. Featuring nine lifts and 21 runs, Cannonsburg also offers a live webcam so you can check out slope conditions at any time.

Cannonsburg offers lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels, including beginners and even the advanced. Cannonsburg also offers separate classes for children aged 5-12 on the weekends. All classes are taught by certified Level 1, 2, and 3 ski and snowboard instructors.

My family recently took a ski lesson at Cannonsburg to get a few pointers, as we hadn’t been to the slopes in a few years. Here are the biggest takeaways we took from the lesson:

Cannomnsburg Ski Area offers private and group lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.
Cannonsburg Ski Area

Cannomnsburg Ski Area offers private and group lessons for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.

Photo Credit: Cannonsburg Ski Area


Private Lesson Experience

At the time of the lesson, there was no snow on the ground in Grand Rapids, but that wasn’t an issue because Cannonsburg manufactures their own snow. We were off to a great start!  

When the lesson began, the ski instructor, Dean Harrier, asked us about our previous ski experience (if any), and what areas we’d like to improve on.

After a quick chat, we took on the beginner “bunny” hill to learn the basics. The ski instructor provided personal one-on-one coaching to all participants. Although we were at different skill levels, we all received great advice and tips for excelling our ski skills and building confidence.

On Cannonsburg’s bunny hill, we used the magic carpet, a conveyor belt that carries riders up the hill; there are also rope tows available. Later, we progressed to the bigger hills.

By the time the lesson wrapped up, Harrier not only helped us remember things we’d forgotten after a couple of years away from the hills, but also offered new tips that helped us become more confident, nuanced skiers.

Where Is Cannonsburg Ski & Ride Area?

Cannonsburg Ski & Ride Area is conveniently located about 15 miles northeast of downtown Grand Rapids, making it a great destination for locals and visitors who want to experience outdoor fun without a long trek in the car. Bonus: there’s ample free parking!

All Cannonsburg classes are taught by certified Level 1, 2, and 3 ski and snowboard instructors.
Cannonsburg Ski Area

All Cannonsburg classes are taught by certified Level 1, 2, and 3 ski and snowboard instructors.

Photo Credit: Cannonsburg Ski Area


Who Should Go and What to Expect

“You’re never too old to learn how to ski,” says Harrier. “Even if you’ve never skied before, it’s no problem!” Because they work with a wide range of ski levels, instructors can get beginners started and help intermediate and advanced skiers hone their skills.

“People come out who haven’t skied for 10 or 20 years and say, ‘I’m not sure if I’ll be able to ski,’” Harrier explains, “but skiing is a lot like riding a bike. There’s a lot of muscle memory, and people are always surprised by how quickly they pick it back up.”

With easy chairlifts, the magic carpet, tow ropes, and lots of hills, Cannonsburg is a fantastic local option for skiing and snowboarding. Cannonsburg offers a variety of lessons, and the instructors are friendly, knowledgeable, and good with kids of all ages.

“Sometimes,” says Harrier, “if we’re all tired, we make snow angels with the kids!”

Beginners can expect instruction from the get-go. They’ll help make sure your boots fit correctly and that the straps are right. They’ll also instruct you on how to put skis on in the snow and how to slide the skis along on flat ground. You’ll learn about body position, how to use the magic carpet or tow rope, and then you’ll start learning how to ski down the hill—and stop at the bottom.

More advanced skiers learn more advanced tactics, like how to do dynamic parallel turns—the instructors will customize each lesson based on your skills and interests. There are even a few who teach ski tricks.

Stop by Cannonsburg Ski Area's restaurant for food and drinks.

Stop by Cannonsburg Ski Area's restaurant for food and drinks.

Photo Credit: Cannonsburg Ski Area


Insider Tips

Arrive Early!

Cannonsburg is a popular local ski hill, and lines can be long during peak times and on the weekends.

If you need to rent equipment, consider arriving at least 45-60 minutes early so you have plenty of time to find the ticket counter (it’s at the far left of the building, as you’re facing it), get your skis, put your gear in a locker, and then walk over to the ski school to locate your instructor.

If you already own equipment, arriving 30 minutes early should be sufficient.

Book in Advance

Although it’s possible to walk up and book a lesson, ski lessons are very popular, so you’re not guaranteed that an instructor will be available. It’s preferable to call and schedule a lesson at least a few days in advance.

Call 616-874-6711, extension 225 to reach the ski school.

Relax While You Wait

Cannonsburg has a full-service restaurant as well as a snack bar, both of which are great places to grab a drink and a bite to eat.

Don’t forget to check out their Bloody Mary bar on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Chair lifts, tow ropes, and a variety of hills make Cannonsburg Ski Area fun for all ages and skill levels.

Chair lifts, tow ropes, and a variety of hills make Cannonsburg Ski Area fun for all ages and skill levels.

Photo Credit: Cannonsburg Ski Area


How Much Does It Cost?

Lift ticket prices at Cannonsburg vary depending on the day of the week, time of day, and age of the skier or snowboarder.  You can also rent essential equipment, like skis, a snowboard, or a helmet.

Visit Cannonsburg’s website to see their fees for life tickets and equipment rentals.

If interested, Cannonsburg also sells season passes, starting at $359 for an individual.

Punch passes, which can save you 50 percent off the regular lift ticket prices, are also available for ages seven and older. The punch pass allows you to pre-pay and punch your card as you go, for great convenience.

A lot of people feel like they don’t like winter because it isn’t fun... but the important thing is to get out there and find something you like to do. It can change your mind about winter!

When Is It Open?

Available during winter months (usually December through March), the ski and snowboard hill hours are:

  • Monday to Thursday: 10 AM – 9 PM

  • Friday: 10 AM – 10 PM

  • Saturday and holidays: 9 AM – 10 PM

  • Sunday: 9 AM – 9 PM 

Cannonsburg's zip line provides summer fun for the whole family.

Cannonsburg's zip line provides summer fun for the whole family.

Photo Credit: Cannonsburg Ski Area


What Happens at Cannonsburg When the Weather Is Warmer?

Come spring, summer, and fall, you can zip through the treetops at Cannonsburg with Cannonsburg’s Zipline Adventure Tour. The one-hour tour spans five zip lines, which range from 300 to 600 feet, and costs $35.

You can also access Cannonsburg’s trails for free during the warmer months. People can hike, bike, run, or walk on the trails. You can even bring your dog, but don’t forget to bring a leash!

Cannonsburg Ski Area holds frequent events, all year round including ski races, weddings, and group parties.

Cannonsburg Ski Area holds frequent events, all year round including ski races, weddings, and group parties.

Photo Credit: Cannonsburg Ski Area


Special Events

Cannonsburg does allow rentals for weddings and other events. They also offer a variety of fun events for visitors of all ages, including:

In the past, Cannonsburg has also held events like Align and Wine (yoga and wine) and Zombie Paintball. Check Cannonsburg’s website for event details and new seasonal events.

What Does Cannonsburg Offer Besides Skiing and Snowboarding?

Tubing

Cannonsburg’s hills are also a great place for tubing during the winter months.

Tubing is popular with kids and adults, alike, and the magic carpet makes it convenient for all riders above 42” tall.

Tubing costs $15/person for a three-hour pass during the week and $20/person for a three-hour pass during the weekend.

On weekends, tubing hours are the same as ski and snowboard hill hours. Monday through Friday, tubing is open from 4 PM - 9 PM.

Trails

In addition to their hills, Cannonsburg has a great trail system. During the winter, the groomed trails are perfect for cross-country skiing, fat tire biking, hiking, and snowshoeing. There’s a $5/day usage fee, or you can buy a season trail pass for $30.

Keep in mind that Cannonsburg doesn’t manufacture snow on the trails. Snow is only manufactured on the skiing and snowboarding hills.

Cannonsburg also has fat tire bikes available for rent. Bikes can be rented for $25 for two hours or $40 for all-day use. Helmet rentals are $8.

Check out Cannonsburg's on-site Summit Sports Shop to purchase skiing and snowboarding equipment.

Check out Cannonsburg's on-site Summit Sports Shop to purchase skiing and snowboarding equipment.

Photo Credit: Cannonsburg Ski Area


Summit Sports Shop at Cannonsburg

If you’re in the market to buy ski or snowboard equipment, check out the Summit Sports Shop on-site. The shop carries a fantastic selection and the staff can help you determine which gear best fits your needs.

For a great deal on used gear, shop Summit Sports’ ski swap, which is typically held in early November.

“A lot of people feel like they don’t like winter because it isn’t fun,” says Harrier. “But the important thing is to get out there and find something you like to do. It can change your mind about winter!”

The ski and snowboarding instructors at Cannonsburg are ready to help you embrace the cold!

What’s your favorite winter activity? Let us know in the comments.

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