U.P. offers hills for skiers, snowboarders of all levels

IRON MOUNTAIN – Ski slopes throughout the Upper Peninsula have made a variety of improvements for the 2013-14 season, according to the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.

A summary of improvements and/or promotions follows:

– Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain has three terrain parks – a beginner, intermediate and advanced park – for all levels of skiers and riders to enjoy. All terrain parks are accessible from Pine Mountain’s triple lift and all are hittable in one run. The advanced park, Boneyard, also includes a paddle tow. Pine Mountain features night skiing Wednesday through Saturday. The hill offers discounted lift tickets for seniors (60-plus).

– Ski Brule in Iron River is teaming up with school districts in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois to reward students with good grades and attendance. Students who earn perfect attendance or all “A” status during the first or second marking periods will receive a free day of skiing or snowboarding. The free day includes a lift ticket, rental, and lesson.

– Blackjack Resort in Bessemer has continued its snowmaking improvements with the addition of a new pump and more snow guns. They also purchased a new snow cat for grooming and sculpting terrain parks. They have added more glade skiing (runs cut through the trees), which will serve as mountain bike trails in the summer. They are also adding terrain park features in the woods. The lodge has received a facelift, with a new entranceway and a fireplace in the bar area.

– Mount Bohemia, Michigan’s extreme skiing area located in the Keweenaw Peninsula, is opening another new backcountry section called Middle Earth. This new area has five runs through the forest with a few small chutes in some of the runs. Middle Earth is located in the far east of Mount Bohemia just past the Outer Limits.

– Marquette Mountain in Marquette offers all seniors and military personnel a lift ticket for $27 anytime they are open.

– Mont Ripley in Houghton has increased the size of its rental department and ski shops.

Also, ski areas across the region have teamed up with Michigan McDonald’s restaurants to offer “Discover Michigan Skiing.”

The program includes a beginner lesson, ski or snowboard rental equipment and a beginner-area ski lift pass or cross-country trail pass. The package will be honored from Jan. 2 through Jan. 31.

The prices are: $20 for Discover Michigan Cross-Country Skiing; $30 for Discover Michigan Downhill Skiing; and $40 for Discover Michigan Snowboarding.

The program is open to everyone 7 years and older. The lesson normally covers basic maneuvering on skis or snowboards, including stopping, turning, riding the lifts, and getting up from a fall.

To sign up, interested beginners must have a Discover Michigan Skiing Value Voucher. The vouchers are available at participating Michigan McDonald’s restaurants and MSIA retail ski stores while quantities last. A printable voucher is also available online at

Participants choose the ski area they wish to visit and then must call to pre-register. Program times differ from ski area to ski area.

Participating ski areas in the Upper Peninsula include: Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain; Ski Brule of Iron River; Big Powderhorn in Bessemer; Blackjack Ski Resort, also in Bessemer; Mont Ripley in Houghton; and Mt. Zion in Ironwood;