Just a hundred yards or so from the scenic first tee of The Alpine Course at Boyne Mountain Resort in Northern Michigan, you’ll find the entrance to SkyBridge Michigan, an engineering marvel that extends 1,200 feet, connecting the peaks of McLouth and Disciples Ridge. The billboards promoting SkyBridge on the road leading into Boyne Mountain don’t prepare you for the scope of the project.
Opened just in time for fall foliage, SkyBridge – already known as Michigan’s “second bridge” (Mackinac being the first) – is billed as the world’s largest timber-towered suspension bridge. It sits near the peak of the Hemlock ski run, where Boyne founder Everett Kircher launched his business 74 years ago. There’s a symmetry there – guests can ride Boyne’s original ski lift to enjoy its newest attraction – but more importantly, it reflects the continuity and culture that has defined Boyne since its founding.
Kircher was a bold risk-taker who trusted his instincts, and as projects such as SkyBridge show, his children, who now run the company, share those traits.
There is a sense at Boyne not just of expansion, but of constant rejuvenation. I stayed at the slopeside Chalet Edelweiss, one of Boyne Mountain’s original lodges, and it has aged gracefully thanks to a 2021 overhaul. It’s spacious rooms are now outfitted with all of the modern amenities that guests could hope to find and more. (Really, how many U.S. resorts include a complementary Nordic sauna with a therapeutic hot-cold cycle?)
That theme extends across Boyne’s three Northern Michigan resorts. At The Highlands, the Donald Ross Memorial Course has been tweaked to make the architect’s replica holes more similar to his original work at Seminole, Aronimink and some of his other classics. The new rooms at The Highlands’ Main Lodge – hit by fire several years ago – are getting strong early reviews. Three courses – the Arthur Hills, The Monument and Crooked Tree Golf Club – will get new bunker sand in 2023, as well as several miles of new cart paths at each resort. The list goes on. One suspects that Everett Kircher would be pleased with how his children have carried out his vision.
That doesn’t just apply to the resorts’ physical assets. Kircher wanted his resorts to be gathering places where guests could enjoy their families and make new friends.
“We want people to feel the togetherness,” Kircher…