Caberfae Peaks – Feb. 19, 2011

Despite the thaw last week (50+ degrees F) and most of the areas beyond the ropes was brown, the conditions on the slopes were good, so that means that Caberfae’s off-season investment in new snowmaking equipment was probably worth it.

The mountain itself is just another Michigan mole hill, small by most standards and even in comparison to the Michigan resorts.  Their terrain is varied but it definitely has a very “old school” feel to it: narrower runs, sketchy traverses and trail intersections, etc.  Park was lacking, only two sets of features but it was small enough to be an easy hike for a bunch of quality laps and it wasn’t crowded. There was another park area that had been destroyed in the melt last week. The park was regularly maintained, shoveled and raked by an attendant and it wasn’t overcrowded. The chairs are old and slow and generally uncomfortable, but since the mountain isn’t very big, this is more of a “mom & pop” charm/feature than it is something to complain about. But…

I hadn’t been to Caberfae probably since 1999.  I remember going there as a kid, and once my freshman year in college.  This trip kind of reminded me why I don’t go there.

The first experience we had with the resort facilities really put a damper on the day. After driving up from the Lansing area we changed and bought our lift tickets, and headed in to the star-shaped cafeteria building to hit the head.  (Aside from a small pro shop this was the only building I remember from my visits years ago, although the “members” lodge would’ve also been there).

I would describe this facility as “Alcatraz Chic”.  Lots of prison green. Peeling paint everywhere. Cardboard covering the toilet indicating that the particular head is out of service. And dozens of buckets situated throughout the hall collecting water that was dripping through an aging roof.  The cafeteria station here was not operating although all of the old gas appliances, ranges, etc. appeared serviceable.

...in desparate need of renovation & upkeep

Later in the day I would discover another, newer lodge area which was in much better repair, decorated in mostly knotty pine but still a rough, rustic feel.  This area was much nicer and I would even go so far as to say it was inviting, lively and the atmosphere was definitely “ski club sunday funday” with lots of people grouped together by family or club, eating, drinking and having a good time.

But first impressions go a long way.  Whatever reason they are keeping that old lodge is beyond me, it needs to be torn down or renovated – Caberfae shouldn’t be presenting that facility to paying customers!

Summing it up: Caberfae was the family-friendly ski area that I remember visiting a few times as a kid. The terrain isn’t going to blow you away, but you can definitely save a few bucks (holiday lift ticket price was only $37 for adults) and escape the crowds that will plague some of the more popular Michigan ski resorts on busy weekend days.

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6 thoughts on “Caberfae Peaks – Feb. 19, 2011

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Caberfae Peaks – Feb. 19, 2011 -- Topsy.com

  2. Its important to note that while they do not publicize it they do offer a student discount with ID. Its only $14 for a whole day pass!

    • Indeed. Their lift ticket rates are already among (if not THE) lowest of the Northern Michigan ski areas, but they also run lots of discounts, midweeks, Groupon deals, Liftopia.com deals, student deals, etc.

      Not saying I wouldn’t go back under the right circumstances, but man that cafeteria building was a total bummer… When your wife & nephew have to go in there to change (because it’s “weird” to change in the parking lot???) and come out five minutes later telling me how “disgusting” it was, well, that’s just a bummer. No paying customer should have to put up with a facility in that state of (dis)repair.

  3. Pingback: Crystal Mountain Feb. 20, 2011

    • Yeah we saw them last time, too. New dining facility is nice, as far as cafeterias are concerned. It bothers me that they still leave the old one open, though – even just as a changing/warming station. They need to knock that thing down it’s disgusting, decrepit, and most likely violates occupancy/use regulations, not to mention, if you go there first (as we did, unwittingly) it is just an AWFUL first impression on your guests.

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