For Expert Skiers, a Snowy Paradise in Michigan

But what a day this cruelty brought. Feathery flakes had fallen the last 16 hours, luring every powderhound in a 100-mile radius. Given how remote this place is, that means maybe 300 skiers and snowboarders. The forest echoed with the hoots and hollers of my people as they bounced through some of the best snow we had experienced in our collective 150 years of skiing. With no wind the snow crystals had stacked up along the spindly hardwood limbs in lines as delicate as a haiku. Indeed, Hokkaido, Japan, might be the only other place I’ve ever skied that could match these conditions.

But this was not Japan. This was Mount Bohemia, in Michigan.

To those in the know, this ski area, seven-hours from the closest major airport in Minneapolis-St. Paul, is legendary.

I first heard of it 23 years ago, when a friend mentioned a ski area with only expert runs that had just opened up on Michigan’s remote Keweenaw Peninsula on the already remote Upper Peninsula, 600 miles northwest of Detroit. In 2016, Mount Bohemia popped up again when it opened the first and only U.S.-based cat-skiing operation east of the Rockies.

“Does the Midwest even have mountains?” I wondered at the time.

Last fall, I Googled it again and learned that Michigan’s highest mountain, Mount Arvon, is only 1,979 feet. Still, Michigan has 40 ski areas, the second most of any state in the country after New York’s 43. Online, Midwesterners swore Mount Bohemia was the place for serious skiers and snowboarders. On a YouTube channel called Mount Bohemia TV, clip after clip showed fast turns in bottomless powder and storybook glades. No condos, no big buildings. You could ski through areas serviced by no chairlift, down to a lonely road, where a ski bus would take you back to base.

Clearly, something great was going on in those woods.

Equally great was the cost: Day tickets sold for $92, but for $99 I could get a season pass. If I bought three, I could get a fourth one free. Mount Bohemia has a few ski-in, ski-out bunkhouses that sleep four, but the best place to stay is about a mile away, where, for about $260 a night, we could rent a lakeside cabin. If we booked three nights midweek, we’d get a fourth night free with dinner included every night.

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