An Ultimate Silent Sports Weekend

 

The bar area of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge in Copper Harbor Michigan in winter.

Keweenaw Mountain Lodge

Aaron Peterson, a Michigan Travel Ideas contributing photographer, revels in the snow by enjoying a day of cross country skiing in Michigan along with other fun winter activities at Keweenaw Mountain Lodge, open for its winter season the second time in more than 75 years.

The Keweenaw Peninsula has always had a magnetic pull on me. Even though I’ve lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for 10 years, whenever a long weekend rolls around my thoughts swing north like a compass needle to that 50-mile spine of land slicing into Lake Superior. Once north of Houghton, it seems as if every mile up the Keweenaw takes you further back in time to a lost vacation kingdom. The faded former mining towns get smaller. The tree-lined roads get narrower. The snow gets deeper.

Keweenaw Mountain Lodge in Copper Harbor would have to be the capital castle of this lost empire. The 10,000-square-foot timber-and-stone lodge stands atop a 1,100-foot ridge with views of a forested valley below and the imposing cliff face of Brockway Mountain in the distance. The 75-year-old lodge and 34 guest cabins were built as a public works project during the Great Depression.

Like the main lodge, our two-bedroom cabin features deep brown log walls, hardwood floors and a massive fieldstone fireplace. The overall feel is cozy and quiet, the perfect setting for family fun.

I unpack the van as my wife, Kristen, wrestles our giggling son, Josiah, into his puffy down suit.  The lodge’s 13 kilometers of classically groomed ski trails run past our cabin; there also are snowshoe trails, a wicked snowboard terrain park, a toboggan run, and a lighted ice rink on the property. For the alpine-inclined, the Midwest’s most challenging backcountry runs and tree glades are at Mt. Bohemia Ski Resort about 13 miles away.

We’re hoping to sample most of the activities during the next three days, but today is reserved for our favorite—cross-country skiing. The lodge’s meticulously groomed trails range from twisty paths to wide, flat routes. We’re going to kick and glide until our waistlines are less than our inseams—or at least until the baby wakes from his Nordic nap in the pull-behind carrier.

A snowy row through a tunnel of trees near Copper Harbor Michigan in winter.

After nearly a full day of exercise (Is drinking hot cocoa considered aerobic?), we wander to the lodge for a meal selected from a satisfying menu of winter comfort foods—winter squash ravioli, tenderloin mixed-greens salad, ribs and lamb.

Logs of oak and pine purr and pop in open fireplaces at both ends of the lodge. On one wall, a historical photomural shows men and women in snappy old-time golf clothes. Could they ever have imagined that we’d be skiing down their fairways 75 years later? Who knows? But the addition of winter sports at the lodge has at least one person thinking ahead.

Freelance writer and photographer Aaron Peterson lives and works in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and is thankful for this region’s clean air and water, plus the elbowroom to raise down-to-earth, outdoorsy kids.

  • Laurie Younglove

    I go to the lodge all the time, (in the summer). My Mother worked at the Keweenaw Lodge when she was 16. She would stay in a little hut all week, (with 3 other girls). A worker would wake them up by hitting the door with a log. They would work all day. ( B,L,D) With very heavy trays. (everything had it’s own cover). At that time only the rich could go. Now everyone can go. Love it up in Mich. Upper Peninsula!!!!!!

  • Dan Harri

    Keweenaw Mt. Lodge is in full swing Thurs-Mon 11a-8p with Winter Wonderland. This year we have added a ski rental center with X/C Ski’s and Snow Shoes. Sleds and ice rink are FREE! Another nice addition is the picnic area set up in confrence center. Ski pass 5.00 included with rental
    Cabins are available and Motel is open for business.
    The Lodge has gone through a nice facelift over the past few months with additions of:
    New Bar (see FB Keweenaw mountain lodge)
    New Menu (prices reduced by 20%)
    New lobby area
    New Staff uniforms
    A fresh new service team awaiting snow customers

    Come on out and enjoy KML with the whole family this winter

    Dan Harri
    General Manager
    Keweenaw Mountain Lodge
    906 289 4403
    Upcoming events
    Winter Wonderland promo 12/28-3/6
    Ocha Potter Rail Jam 2/5
    Sled Divas fasion show 2/13
    Copper Dog 150 3/4

    Please see our wedsite for more details, rates and events

  • Josh

    Great article Aaron. The Mountain Lodge is the gem on the Keweenaw’s finger.

  • Ginger Resch

    Great article, makes me want to check out what summer brings to the lodge!

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