A Marquette Ski Junkie in Pure Michigan

Aaron Peterson, a contributing photographer for Michigan Travel Ideas, is always up for a challenge, especially if it involves the outdoors and equipment. Aaron shares one of his favorite ski hang outs, Marquette Mountain.

One of the things I love about living near Marquette is immediate access to outdoor opportunities. Marquette Mountain ski area sits within city limits, less than 10 minutes from downtown shopping such as the Masonic Square Mall on Washington Street. In fact, you can see the white ribbons of runs from there!

Marquette Mountain is on one of a string of rugged hills rimming the city and leading north into the Huron Mountain range. Its location near the shore of Lake Superior, and 600 feet of vertical rise, means that dense clouds of lake-effect snow dump around 200 inches of white stuff annually. Yep, that means we average 130 days of skiing, from Thanksgiving through April!

You’ll need more than one day to tackle the mountain, which offers something for everyone, with 25 runs and three terrain parks. Marquette Mountain is home to some talented freestyle skiers and snowboarders who take full advantage of the parks. It’s always a thrill to check out the new tricks being thrown down on Contour’s jumps and rails. Looking for something more intense? Try Chute with 35-  to 50-foot decks. Ridge caters to beginners.

When the snow is especially good and I’m feeling brave, I head for the backcountry and ski Renegade and Weasels Gulch. At the end of those runs, you cross a bridge over the fast-moving Carp River to catch chair three to the top.

Hint: You’ll want to get to the hill early to get good parking near the chalet. The lot fills up quickly, and parking in the overflow area means having to cross highway M-553 with an armload of equipment. The chalet is fairly small, so I dress for the hill ahead of time to avoid the crowds inside.

Aaron Peterson is a travel photographer based near Lake Superior on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. His work has appeared in several publications, including Michigan Travel Ideas, Outside, National Geographic Adventure and Outdoor Life.

 

  • Rosemary Jandron Sandefer

    Ah. what memories this brings! We lived in Marquette in the late 70′s, and all my children and I are skiers…..them better than I. We’d head out to the Mountain after school in the afternoon and they would “tutor” mom in the finer points of skiing by taking me down the “easy” slopes. Yeh, right!!! It was a great time!! Would love to see the hills now with many more and many improvements!!