YOOP IT UP! – ALL There’s To Know About Upper Peninsula Skiing

Snowboarder looking over cliff at Mount Bohemia with Lake Superior in the distance Photo by: Chris Guibert Photography

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When thinking about Midwest skiing, most may chuckle at the thought of finding powder in the middle of the country. While the Upper Peninsula of Michigan may be overlooked in every facet of skiing, the powderhounds know that the good stuff falls in abundance here. Let’s dive into some of the Upper Peninsula skiing spots you’ll want to familiarize yourself with if you want to find the “good stuff.”

Mount Bohemia

For Extreme Skiers Only (Seriously)

Snowboarder enjoying the powder at Mount Bohemia showcasing upper peninsula skiing at its best
Photo by: Chris Guibert Photography

Extreme Skiing in the Midwest? You Betcha! Mount Bohemia’s claim to fame is their gracious $99 season pass that gives buyers access to one of the best ski resorts in the country! “The Poor Man’s Japan” competes with any of the big names out West but at a penny of the price.

 

Situated at the tip top of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, getting here is a real pilgrimage. If you’re a serious powder seeker and live for the thrill of the chill, find your way to this non groomed purist wonderland. Bohemia has also established the first Ski Hostel in the Midwest as well as other rustic accommodations close to the hill.

Anyone who has been here knows the party doesn’t stop after skiing. Be sure to hang around Apres Ski for a dip into the slopeside hot tub and sauna to revel in the magic of what unfolded during the day.

Pro Tip: Shell out a $150 and experience Midwest’s ONLY catskiing operationVoodoo Mountain Cat Skiing.

Porcupine Mountains (The Porkies)

For the unmatched Lake Superior views

The Western UP might get overlooked by many but don’t sleep on this remote gem. The Porcupine Mountains Ski Area steps in with one of the Midwest’s highest verticals at 650 feet and easily wins in the Lake Superior views category. Mellow fun runs and quality tree skiing make the Porcupine Mountains a worthwhile venture for all levels of skiing. With cheap lift tickets ($45) and small crowds, finding fresh powder here is not a problem. In fact, they get so much of the lake effect goodness that it’s near the top of our list: Ma Nature’s Gift – Lake Effect Snow Storm & The Ski Resorts That Get It.

 

The Porkies spin one lift with an additional rope tow that sends guests to the eastern side of the ski area. Because of its unpretentious manner, the experience is all about soaking in the scenery and finding secret tree stashes.

Pro Tip: For those that want to get even further away from the crowds, be sure to bring your backcountry gear. The Porkies are home to a hut system that’s been around since the 1930’s. 

Marquette Mountain

For the Big City Convenience or Backyard College Playground

bottom of Marquette Mountain offering up prime Upper Peninsula Skiing
Photo by: EZmoments

Northern Michigan University students as well as the Marquette community love this local hill. Less than ten minutes from downtown, Marquette Mountain provides stellar Lake Superior views and easy accessibility to the slopes. Three chairlifts service the 650 feet of vertical, while 25 trails keep visitors finding new and varied terrain around the mountain. If that isn’t enough, the new owners are expanding the tree skiing that will be available at Marquette Mountain making it a legit competitor with BoHo in the future.

 

Although not giant in stature, the MQT Mountain embodies a large community spirit and definitely doesn’t skew toward destination resort. Families can ski here comfortably while advanced riders can also find their share of short steeps and technical zones. Park rats will enjoy the small but capable terrain park.

Aerial view of Marquette Mountain in Upper Peninsula Michigan
Photo by: EZmoments

If you can’t squeeze time in during the day with all the other things to do in Marquette, head out for night skiing from 4 – 8:30 pm (Wednesday – Saturday)! Combine your night skiing experience with an experience the whole family or crew will love – slope side fire pits. Rent a pit and watch Dad practice his turns while you roast up s’mores and take advantage of the excellent onsite food and drink from the T Bar.

Pro Tip: Head into town for apres and find some of the best suds in Michigan at Blackrocks Brewery. These guys know what you’ll need post ski. OR Stay slopeside at Rippling River to ensure you beat any locals to first chair.

Pine Mountain Resort (Iron Mountain)

For one of the World’s Top Ski Jumps and Midwest’s Best groomers

skier going down slopes at Pine Mountain Resort in Upper Peninsula Michigan
Image appears courtesy: Pine Mountain Ski & Golf Resort

Pine Mountain caters well to Upper Peninsula Skiing families with its slopeside resort and highly acclaimed groomers. The resort runs 5 lifts, 30 trails, and night skiing for the evening crowd. Something any ski fan shouldn’t miss is the globally recognized February Ski Jump, which brings in over 20,000 people on average! Guests will witness jumpers from around the world shoot off one of the planet’s largest ski jumps and soar through the sky.

Pro Tip: Visit in all seasons! The resort is open year round with a nationally acclaimed golf course.

Big Snow (Indianhead Mountain Resort + Blackjack Resort)

For the “Two” Mountain Type Snow Seeker

Groomer at Blackjack Ski Resort one part of the Big Snow Resort
Image appears courtesy: Big Snow Resort

Big Snow gives visitors the chance to ski two resorts in one when searching for “Big Snow” in the UP. If it’s vertical you’re after, head over to Indianhead Mountain Resort. It offers more than 638 vertical feet across its 230 skiable acres. One of the unique aspects to Indianhead is that the parking and lodging is on top and you ski/snowboard down. This is also where Local Freshies’® founder had his 1st powder day ever and got addicted to chasing storms.

 

Feel like finding some more fresh stashes? Hop on the free shuttle and choose from one of the combined 56 trails at Blackjack. Expect to find fantastic grooming and a vast assortment of cruisers to lay out your best euro carves on.

Pro Tip: Combine your trip to Big Powderhorn as each resort is only fifteen minutes away!

Ski Brule

For the annual Family ski trippers

Aerial shot of Ski Brule in Upper Peninsula Michigan
Image appears courtesy: Ski Brule

Snowmaking at Brule keeps this place open early and late into the season. Consistently regarded as one of the Midwest’s Best resorts, families love this place. Aside from its ability to pump out the white nectar, Brule has a plethora of additional winter activities to keep everyone grinning from ear to ear. Fat Biking, sleigh rides and even an Acrobag (inflatable pad to launch into) are at your disposal.

 

Brule is by no means a tall mountain with around 500 feet of vertical, but it does operate 11 chairlifts and 17 trails. What’s better than a day on the slopes followed by walking access to your hillside dining and accommodations. Brule has you and the family covered.

Pro Tip: If you want to start your season off early or finish it late, head to Brule. Their focus is on pushing the envelope on how long they can stay open. In a typical, winter they’ll start turning the lifts in early November and ski easily into late April.

Big Powderhorn Mountain

Family and All terrains

Looking down Big Powderhorn Resort offering fantastic upper peninsula skiing
Photo by: EZmoments

The “Ski Capital of the Midwest” is definitely a big draw for this Upper Peninsula skiing destination. Big Powderhorn runs 9 double lifts and sprawls across 250+ skiable acres in Bessemer. Families will love this place with its wide open glades and terrain that caters evenly to all skill levels.

 

For those riders who love busting out their best tricks on the slopes, Big Powderhorn has not one or two but THREE terrain parks. Another thing Big Powderhorn does well? On site lodging. Book your 2 night minimum stay and reserve the option to ski in / ski out from your chalet, with pool and sauna access.

Pro Tip: Stay in Ironwood if not lodging on site and be sure to drop into Cold Iron Brewing for some post apres libations.

Upper Peninsula Skiing Trip

So when are you booking your midwest ski vacation? Book now before you forget about some of these flyover states! With cold temperatures and late snowfall, spring skiing is certainly and almost regularly a “big snow country” thing. 

3 thoughts on “YOOP IT UP! – ALL There’s To Know About Upper Peninsula Skiing

  1. No mention of Mont Ripley? Basically a smaller version of Marquette Mountain but is overall deeper, steeper, and cheaper. Plus the college town it’s in is better (no bias here).

  2. Thanks for this detailed research about skiing in the UP of Michigan.

    I live in Minneapolis, MN and have been skiing in the UP for many years.

    I can highly recommend going to the annual Ski Jumping FIS Continental Cup at Pine Mountain (Iron Mountain, MI) each February. This event is a must see and you can even stay right at the Pine Mountain Ski Resort, which has just been totally remodeled to perfection. I believe it is the largest tailgate party in the United States. If everything goes as scheduled, Pine Mountain will host another World Cup in Ski Jumping in February 2023. Pine Mountain is currently the largest ski jump in the United States and is being remodeled and brought up to the latest FIS standards/requirements in order to host a World Cup. I have already made plans and will not miss this event.

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