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Nub's Nob

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The Nob
Nub’s Nob is the skiier’s example of not judging a book by its cover. The place does not make a good first impression. Very little of its layout can be seen from the parking lot, the lodge or the approach roads. (The only decent view of Nob trails is from the top of The Highlands.) The lodge is far too small to handle the crush of devoted skiers who threaten to love the place to death. It does not have overnight lodging. And it has one of the worst trail maps of any ski facility in the South Midwest. But once you board the lifts, all that is forgiven. For the Nob is skier heaven. Eventually you realize the trail map is so bad because the layout is the most convoluted in the region. Nub’s map tries to address this by showing two different perspectives, but the attempt fails. Neither perspective accurately indicates what is happening down on the ground. But what gives mapmakers fits is a joy for skiers. For exploring the peaks and valleys of this twisted terrain is much more of an adventure than simply coming down 20 trails off the front of a single long ridge.
The better a skier is, the more The Nob challenges him. At most places, novices can navigate at least the low Blues. Not here. At most places, intermediates can navigate the blacks. Not here. When you start down a black slope at The Nob, you need to be at the top of your game. Nub’s does a better job of defining Greens, Blues and Blacks than anyplace in the region. The ultimate skiing challenge in the Petoskey area, indeed in all of Michigan, is Scarface. It is not the steepest, but the pitch keeps reversing and the surface keeps changing, so it is hard to settle into a rhythmn. Chute is extremely steep but wide enough to allow some maneuvering. Smoky is less steep than Chute but still too much for the average intermediate. Goose Bumps is steep and narrow with enough turns to derail pretenders. The Nob’s Blues are more challenging than those at the Highlands. Southwest Passage and Jane O feature shifting, banking turns, and are narrow enough to limit maneuvering. The Blues dropping off Pin Tail Peak are narrow and reasonably long, more like the Greens over at the Highlands. Snow Pro and Bayview are deceptive Blues which look like high Greens. But by mid afternoon, as they begin to ice, they can be tricky to descend.
However, Black or Blue, the best advice for skiing The Nob is to head for Pin Tail first in the morning, before the crowds work their way back there. By afternoon on most days, the trails begin to ice up from heavy use and sun exposure. By 3 pm or so, the trails become useless for finesse skiing. Skiing Greens at The Nob makes for a fascinating day. Unlike most places, the Greens here are far from either the main lodge or the warming hut. And except for the ski school runs along the Purple Lift, they tend to be long marathons. There are not as many Green runs here as over at the Highlands, and they do not offer the variety. But they are nevertheless great runs, cruising down through the woods at various angles. Ramblewood, Pleasant View, Duck Soup, Home Run and The Ridge all rank right up there with the great Greens of the region. The Nub’s terrain is such that you have to keep crisscrossing back and forth across lifts. The main lodge sits at the base of the front mountain, with a valley between it and Pin Tail Peak. So you continually have to drop down to the valley and take one of the lifts back up to the other peak. Under such conditions, at Pin Tail Peak you are 15-25 minutes away from the main lodge. Fortunately, the new warming hut back there is a great facility, with a comprehensive food counter and ample table space.
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