This winter, tune up your skis or snowboard and venture beyond your usual seasonal range into the iron hills and snow-socked slopes of the Upper Peninsula. Explore some of the best spots to ski and where to stop by after a day on the trails and hills.

Hit the Slopes in the Upper Peninsula

Where to Ski in Marquette

Marquette can be the destination or a waypoint on your endeavor. Get a lift ticket at nearby Marquette Mountain for a day on the slopes. Boasting 25 trails, 1,300 feet of elevation and a fantastic view of nearby Lake Superior, this ski hill is for the whole family.

Skiing in Houghton & Hancock

Want to press farther north into iron country? Head to Houghton and its sister city across the river, Hancock, and to Mt. Ripley Ski Area, owned by Michigan Tech University. This compact hill boasts 21 runs and a surprising amount of drop and thrill. Cap off the day with a pint (or two) at Keweenaw Brewing Co.

Photo by Andrew VanDrie

Back Country Skiing in the Upper Peninsula

Looking to find where the snow piles high and the pavement ends? Mt. Bohemia is your destination. This completely ungroomed, backcountry skiing is unlike anything else available for the downhill enthusiast. Technical, unpredictable and challenging, this hill should only be undertaken by advanced skiers. Check out Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, complete with 25 individual log cabins that offer modern amenities—these are a terrific stay location for you and your ski party.

Photo by Andrew VanDrie

Stops for Your Upper Peninsula Adventure

The chairlift swoops around the carousel, nudges into your knees and folds you into its embrace. It shutters out of the lift and hoists you skyward like a bush plane scrambling for altitude and then you, too, are held aloft— airborne and weightless. The view from the peak awaits, but you know the allure of a U.P. ski trip lies not only in the view and plunge from the summit, but also in those small moments discovered in getting here.

The Upper Peninsula, renowned for its wilderness, is stark and otherworldly in the dead of winter. The Straits are choked with ice floes, or deadlocked solid. Mead Creek lies frozen on the Seney Stretch. And barren miles are broken only by the occasional county snowplows.

But a stop at Gustafson’s in Brevort offers smoked fish and meat sticks for the road, and hearty pasties for later are found at Muldoons in Munising. Once in Marquette, Huron Mountain Bakery provides sweet treats for your ski weekend stay and sandwiches to tide you over (The Au Train is phenomenal!), and a quick pint at Ore Dock Brewing Company or Blackrocks Brewery says you’ve arrived.

Photo by Andrew VanDrie

Related Read: Searching for more on skiing and snowboarding? Visit our Northern Michigan Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding page.

The Upper Peninsula held in winter’s grasp is truly something to behold, especially from a peak gazing for miles upon a landscape clothed in white and a great, arctic lake farther beyond, before the thrill of coasting effortlessly over fresh powder.

Just be sure not to miss the moments on the way up: There are the parking lot brews with friends, the hot dogs roasted on camp grills and the sandwiches packed the night before. There are the cozy lodges and the warming whiskey cocktails beside a roaring hearth fire. But perhaps, more memorable than anything, is the U.P.’s gift of joy to be found amid so much stillness.

Photo by Andrew VanDrie

Photo by Andrew VanDrie

Photo by Andrew VanDrie

Photo(s) by Andrew VanDrie