Otsego Resort: Don’t Miss this Vintage, Timeless Ski Experience in Gaylord Michigan


Visit Otsego Club Ski Resort in Gaylord, Michigan

As far as ski resorts in Michigan go, Otsego Club in Gaylord, MI is the place to go for short lift lines, alpine village vibes, and some of the best affordable skiing in lower Michigan.

If skiing is on your Michigan Outdoor Winter Activities bucket list, add Otsego Resort to your itinerary!

ostego resort gaylord michigan map

696 M-32 East, PO Box 556, Gaylord, MI 49734


otsego resort river cabin

Head to Otsego Resort for a Vintage Ski Club Experience

Some say it’s like a European village you’d find in the mountains. Others marvel at the breathtaking valley views, stellar slope conditions, and short lift lines.

What began as a private ski club in 1939 evolved into the Otsego Resort that you can experience today.

In fact, a vintage ski groomer sits outside the main entrance, inviting you to take a photo and step into the resort’s history.

vintage ski groomer otsego resort

Otsego Ski Resort is a Hidden Gem in Michigan

Here’s why:

Alpine Village  

Upon arrival at the resort, you’ll notice Swiss Alpine architecture everywhere.

In the 1940s, when the ski resort buildings were being planned, several ski club members who had skied the Alps proposed buildings with Swiss Alpine characteristics. This idea took hold and today you’ll still see the theme throughout.

The resort was built in 1947.

The final result? Buildings anchored with fieldstone foundations topped with walls of vertical pine. Gables, bell towers, balconies, bays, scrolled woodwork, and brightly painted wood trim round out the facades.

Commanding, majestic stone fireplaces that draw attention both indoors and out are found dotting the campus as well.

otsego resort valley lodge
otsego resort valley lodge

Walk inside today to let the hand-hewn beams and fieldstone fireplaces harken you back to the time of vintage ski lodges.

otsego resort valley lodge (1)
Inviting leather sofas and fieldstone fireplaces in the main lodge

And, interestingly enough, the Alpine Village theme in nearby downtown Gaylord, MI, stemmed from the influence of the architecture at Otsego Resort.

Grocery Story Alpine Village Theme Gaylord MI
Alpine Village theme at a grocery store in Gaylord, MI
hidden valley  

When you arrive at Otsego Resort you might wonder how skiing is possible here.

The nearby downtown of Gaylord is amazingly flat, considering it’s perched on the highest point of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

Even driving into Otsego Resort, there are no hills to be seen.

That all changes when you walk around the main lodge, though, and find yourself facing sweeping valley views and dramatic, downward elevation changes of the Sturgeon River Valley. That’s probably why the ski club here was once called the Otsego Ski Club at Hidden Valley.

otsego resort valley view inside lodge
Valley View from Inside of the Lodge

Like history? Here’s a fun look at resort promo materials from the late 90s, while it was still a private club:

Skiing today  

With the highest elevation in the lower peninsula, Gaylord is in the heart of Michigan’s snow belt and is blessed with a hearty snowfall of about 150 inches per year.

That, combined with an area full of peaks and valleys, makes the region a prime place for downhill skiing.

otsego resort valley view
Panoramic Sturgeon River Valley Views

Otsego Ski Resort has built on this foundation over the decades and has mastered the art of snowmaking and snow maintenance.

Plus, short lift lines at Otsego Resort mean that you spend your time skiing rather than waiting in line. It still feels like a private resort here, even though the place has been open to the public for several years now.

otsego ski resort

Variety of Terrain is Another Perk of Otsego Resort

There’s a good balance of beginner, intermediate, and difficult ski runs, along with several terrain parks.

While chairlifts are older and slower than you’ll find at trendier resorts this is not an issue with such short lift lines.

The river cabin  

Nestled in the valley near the bottom of lift #5 is the mother of all hidden gems, the River House.

Tucked away near a babbling creek, it’s more than charming.

otsego resort river cabin

If you’re skiing for the day, plan to meet your friends or kids at the River House for lunch or a snack.

Inside of the picturesque ski cabin, cozy up to the giant circular fireplace, dry your gloves and sip marshmallow-mounded hot cocoas. 

otsego resort river cabin

How do you get to this vintage hangout? For most, it’s a ski-in experience. (There’s a shuttle for non-skiers.)

otsego resort river cabin
River Cabin is a charming oasis at Otsego Ski Resort

All in all, you will be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a Michigan winter weekend than at Otsego Resort. It’s worth a try!

Lift Hours

for 2021-2022 season

Wednesday3:30pm – 8:30pm
Thursday3:30pm – 8:30pm
Friday2:00pm – 8:30pm
Saturday9:00am – 8:30pm
Sunday9:00am – 4:00pm
lift tickets

Buy lift tickets online in advance to save.

Regular rate adult lift tickets are $65 per day, $55 for teens, and $50 for juniors. Kids 6 and under are $5.


Occasionally, Otsego Resort has Bump Day Deals. Check their FB page or call to confirm current availability.

  • Wednesday and Thursdays are $10 Bump Days!
  • $10 lift tickets
  • $10 rentals
  • $10 tubing
  • $10 Dining specials
Otsego Resort Deals

FAQs – Ostego Resort

Is lodging available at Otsego Ski Resort?

Yes. Rooms, suites, and condominium rentals are available. Accommodations are comfortable and offer good value. Some building exteriors are in need of paint and touchups. Lodging is located a short walk from the slopes.

Does Otsego Resort have a pool?

Yes, the outdoor pool is open in the summer.

Does Otsego Resort offer any other winter activities?

Yes, they offer winter snow tubing. The hill has three tracks and is serviced by a tow rope. More Michigan snow tubing spots.

How does Otsego Resort compare to other Michigan Ski Resorts?

Otsego Resort is historic, like Caberfae. Both were founded in the early 1900s and have similar terrain, old-school design, and slower/smaller chairlifts. Otsego Resort, however, has smaller crowds than Caberfae, a better terrain park, and a bigger variety of lodging options.

The ski runs are longer than Crystal Mountain.

More Places to Stay in Gaylord

Lodging in Gaylord, MI is affordable when compared to other Michigan ski towns.

See hotel & VRBO list here or use the map below.

More to Explore

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