The West is full of cat skiing operations from Lake Tahoe all the way up to the Powder Highway. There’s even an opportunity to ride a snowcat at Sugarbush Ski resort to enjoy first tracks. Sadly though, there’s no REAL cat skiing experience east of the Rockies. Well, that’s no longer the truth! The Midwest is now on the cat skiing map as Mount Bohemia opened up an operation called Voodoo Mountain. In fact, you may even call it the best skiing in the Midwest especially if you’re a Powder Hound.
Where’s Voodoo Mountain?
When describing Michigan, people show their hand as a ‘mitten’ and point to identify where they live or are from. Voodoo Mountain isn’t located in the ‘mitten’ but rather in the Upper Peninsula. Not unlike a matching pair of mittens, when ‘Yoopers‘ clarify where Voodoo Mountain is, they turn their hand sideways, conveniently shaped like the UP, and point to the furthest northern tip. Voodoo Mountain is located just down the road from the historic Copper Harbor, a 19th century port previously used for mining and shipping copper. It has now become home base for great off-the-grid outdoor activities including snowmobiling and now, cat skiing!
How Big Is The Midwest Cat Skiing Operation?
Voodoo Mountain in its 4th season has offered over 200 acres across two peaks, with a vertical drop of 700′. The plan is to continue to expand their offering. At its “peak”, the terrain will stretch 2.5 miles wide, covering over 1,400 skiable acres across four peaks. From each of these peaks, you’ll be treated to splendid views of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. With that being said, compared to Mt. Bohemia’s legendary steep slopes, these are a bit more mellow. Instead, you’ll find well manicured glades and open sections to just let the skis rip. Think a strong intermediate pitch with an unpainted canvas of powder in front of you. What more could you want?
Consistent Snow = Great Cat Skiing
Stunning scenery is awesome, but what makes a place great for a cat skiing operation? The primary factor is all about the snow. The essentials are simple:
- Consistent snowstorms
- Cold weather
- Oodles of snow
Voodoo Mountain is very fortunate in where it’s situated. Its locale makes it the BEST place in the Midwest for such an operation. Out West, you need to wait for a snowstorm to show up and dump snow. In the UP, as long as it’s cold and the wind is blowing from the W, NW or N, the best ‘snow-making machine’ on the planet naturally dumps insane amounts of light, dry snow over its acreage. Lake Superior helps keep the air temperatures cold in the Spring, ensuring a long ski season as well. Finally, all the aspects are North facing, making sure that the fresh snow is preserved until late Spring. Alongside Mother Nature’s help, the cat skiing operation only runs a few times per week allowing it time to refill after it’s been tracked out.
If all that wasn’t enough, the cost for a day of cat skiing is equivalent to one lift ticket at Vail or Breckenridge ski resort AND you don’t need to hop a flight if you live in the Midwest.
- Cost: $150 pp / day
- Approximate Season: December 28 – March 25
If you have 16 friends that love to ride (and you can organize them), you can book a WHOLE cat for the day at $1,850, making it only $108 pp. For more info, head to their website found here.
What About Normal Ski Resorts?
If the UP is a bit far to drive, there are a host of other great ski resorts to visit in the region. Growing up in the Chicagoland area, I spent most of teens and twenties visiting as many places as I could. Our Midwest Ski Resort Guide – Resorts We Love And Why article isn’t just a guide, but a deep dive into my favorites and why I love each of these resorts.