Posted by: Kath Usitalo | February 26, 2013

Ski Shanty Creek. Or Not.

You don't have to ski any of the 55 runs on two mountains to enjoy Shanty Creek, Bellaire

You don’t have to ski any of the 55 runs on two mountains to enjoy a winter getaway at Shanty Creek Resort near Bellaire

What are the chances that my masseuse at the Shanty Creek Resort Spa, Pattie Moore, would turn out to have been grade school friends with my cousin Sandy?

Sandy’s dad and mine were cousins, which makes us kids some sort of relation that we call cousins; Pattie recognized the uncommon last name and connected the dots. Sandy and I grew up close enough in the 313 that we took turns spending occasional nights at each other’s homes and Pattie and I both remembered my Aunt Thyra’s thin and delish Swedish pancakes.

That pleasant encounter was just one of the nice surprises I enjoyed during a recent two-night stay at the year ’round resort in Bellaire, northeast of Traverse City. Although I don’t downhill ski I found there’s plenty to do during snow season at Shanty Creek, which is comprised of three recreation and lodging areas—Summit Mountain, Schuss Mountain and Cedar River Village—on 4,500 acres. A comfortable shuttle bus carries guests between facilities at each village.

Groovy balconies off of guest rooms at Lakeview Hotel

Groovy balconies off of guest rooms at Lakeview Hotel

Shanty is celebrating its 50th anniversary and, although the resort has been expanded and renovated it maintains—in a good way—some of that sixties vibe. I stayed in the original main lodge, the Lakeview Hotel, where the lobby’s high ceiling is paneled with wood, huge fireplaces are gathering spots and there’s a view of Lake Bellaire through an expanse of windows. The zigzag balconies off the guest rooms are groovy.

My room was spacious and comfy, with a king bed, sitting area, balcony and spa tub suitable for a crowd. (Bonus: Free WiFi!) It would have been nice just to stretch out on the sofa with a book or wander down the hall to the indoor pool, but I was determined to get out and enjoy the white stuff.

Although I dismissed ski and snowboard lessons I considered cross-country skiing until I heard that the Nordic trails were a bit challenging for even some of the more experienced skiers in our group. I opted for a brief snowshoeing excursion and enjoyed the solitude, quiet and beauty of the sunny day.

Me on skis

Me on skis

The resort rents snowmobiles and I was game to get on a sled but unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, the morning outing was rescheduled to afternoon and conflicted with my spa session.

I had a choice to make and headed to the fitness center and the spa—three treatment rooms and a small but restful lounge complete with a vat of chilled cucumber water and the mandatory Indian flute spa Muzak. Thanks for a great massage, Pattie!

A morning breakfast buffet (starring omelets made-to-order) fueled guests for a day in the great outdoors. After a couple of hours of activity our group gathered at the sprawling Ivan’s Mountainside Grill at the Bavarian-themed Schuss compound for a choice of sandwiches, chili and burgers. I understand this joint jumps on weekends. A delish, multi-course dinner in front of one of the lodge fireplaces at Arnie’s in the Lakeview Hotel featured Michigan ingredients.

Afterwards we piled onto the complimentary Shanty shuttle for a ride into beautiful downtown Bellaire to sample craft beers at Short’s Brewing Company. (A story for another day.) And did I mention the lively bar scene at the Lakeview Hotel?

There’s still plenty of winter fun to be had this season at Shanty Creek—and skiing, too, if you’re so inclined.

Watch for more to come on Shanty Creek’s golden anniversary.

Visitor Info Clicks:

Shanty Creek

Pure Michigan

The lodge at Shanty Creek's Schuss Mountain

The classic lodge at Shanty Creek’s Schuss Mountain



  1. […] I had a chance to experience that camaraderie during a night on the town while visiting the nearby Shanty Creek Resort. I’ll delve into that soon: keep an eye out for that […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: