Ski Resort Upper Michigan

Slopes and Trails Abound in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

With all the winter weather we’ve had lately, it’s the perfect time to plan a ski trip in Pure Michigan! Mickey MacWilliams from the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association gives us an overview of some spectacular Upper Peninsula ski slopes to check out this season.

Powder glade skiing, uncrowded lift lines, ski jumping, scenic trails and terrain parks for every skier ability level, comfortable accommodations, ski jumping and lift ticket rates that are at least half the price of those in the Rockies. If this sounds too good to be true, then you haven’t skied Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Although the U.P. might not immediately come to mind when thinking about skiing, the area actually has a long and colorful ski history. At the latter part of the 19th century and early 20th century, ski jumping was the primary form of competitive skiing in the country and the Upper Peninsula was a key center, hosting one of the most popular ski jumping tournaments at that time.

Touring the Upper Peninsula’s ski areas is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to take a ski vacation. For this article, our trip begins in Marquette and heads west from there, stopping at nine ski areas along the way.

Home to Northern Michigan University, Marquette is a picturesque town along the shore of Lake Superior. Marquette Mountain is just a few miles out of town and although the ski area doesn’t have on-site lodging, they partner with local hotels to provide packages for as little as $55 per night. Marquette Mountain is a large Midwest ski area, with 169 skiable acres, 25 runs, a 600 foot vertical drop and trails up to 1 ¼ mile in length. The day lodge is comfortable and there are slopes for all ability levels. Marquette Mountain’s website has a “Special Rates” page that lists discounts that change as the season progresses.

Next stop is Mont Ripley in Houghton. The ski area picturesquely sits on the Portage Lake Canal, which separates the cities of Houghton and Hancock. From the top of Mont Ripley, the view of the canal and the cities below is breathtaking. A popular destination for Michigan Tech students, Mont Ripley features 25 runs of all ability levels. NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center keeps track of annual snowfall and listed Hancock Michigan as the third snowiest city in the United States (behind Crested Butte, Colorado and Valdez, Alaska) with an annual average of 215.8 inches of snow. Like Marquette Mountain, there is no on-site lodging at Mont Ripley, but accommodations are available in Houghton and Hancock.


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