Mount Bohemia is a legendary ski resort on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan. It was featured in USAToday’s 10 best ski resorts. It’s been featured in Powder Magazine several times. Mount Bohemia has a reputation of being a powder paradise in an area of the country not known for skiing. It is way out there in the middle of absolute nowhere.
Mount Bohemia Ski Resort – No Beginners Allowed
Mount Bohemia is very proud of the fact that they do not make snow and they don’t groom anything. As a result, they run with the slogan “No Beginners Allowed”. They run an online video series known as Mount Bohemia TV that will almost certainly get you in the mood for skiing powder and hot tubbing.
I’ve made the trek to Mount Bohemia ski resort a couple of times now. It takes around 9 to 12 hours of driving time to travel almost 600 miles it takes to get there. Once you cross the Mackinac Bridge it’s all 2 lane roads until you get there.
Click here to learn more about our most recent trip to ski the U.P.
What is skiing Mount Bohemia really like?
When you arrive, the lodge is a yurt. Most of the lodging is yurts. The bar is a yurt. There is one large cabin with a big hot tub. There is a decent chance you’ll see the resort owner running the cash register selling tickets.
My first experience
On my first trip, I went during Mount Bohemia Mardi Gras weekend in early March. Therefore it was definitely what you would consider spring conditions anywhere. With no snowmaking and grooming there was a fair amount of thin and bare spots. Consequently, there was no powder to be found which was to be expected.
Many beers were being consumed on the lifts. There were a lot of happy spirits on the hill because everyone there was having a really good time skiing the slush in the trees.
Chairlifts from the dawn of time
Mount Bohemia has 2 chair lifts. I’m pretty sure the owner went dumpster diving for these or found the most antique surplus leftover that could be found to use. Therefore they are slow. Most of the time they run. As a result you’ll feel like you just got transported back to a ski resort from the 1960s.
My second experience
On our second trip up we got a completely different experience. We arrived after they had had a warm spell followed by a refreeze. As a result, the front and back face cut trails were completely iced over. There was a sign sitting at the cashier selling lift tickets that read “Conditions icy, no refunds”. They really weren’t kidding about the ice part. We didn’t test the “no refunds” part.
Icy like Vermont
Because of the ice, the conditions were reminiscent of the worst Vermont ice I’ve ever experienced. We went up and my friend barely made it down the first run alive. After that, we headed into the trees which was the wise thing to do. There wasn’t powder but there wasn’t ice either so it was skiable and enjoyable.
Fresh Snow and Abba.
At the end of our first tree run the snow turned on. It started dumping hard. The snow quickly filled in the trees creating really really fun conditions. Because the snow was good on our second tree run, we kept going past the track to the chair and made it down to the road.
The ABBA bus showed up to get us. Yes, for viewers of Mount Bohemia TV, the ABBA bus really does exist and it does play the same couple ABBA songs non stop. It’s snowing and everyone sings along because everyone is really happy. We skied a lot more trees. We skied the front and back face runs. Everything turned to fun as a result of a couple of hours of new snow.
See the video below for a little taste of the ABBA Bus fun and learn how it got started.
The conditions can be anything from ice hell to powder heaven to slush. You might experience all of them on the same day.
Does it snow there
Does it snow? Yes, it does. Mount Bohemia ski resort averages 270 inches of snow a year. That is around 100 inches more than anywhere in the lower peninsula lake effect zone. Once Lake Superior freezes over, the lake effect engine producing snow on the Keweenaw Peninsula turns off. The peak snow times tend to be January and early February.
Mount Bohemia Mardi Gras
One of the more interesting things Mount Bohemia does is their annual Mardi Gras event. The traditional agenda features a pie eating contest, collecting beads, a man carrying woman contest, limbo, a costume contest and lots of prizes. In years past they have offered things such as a 10 year or 25 year season pass. In recent years they have gone the route of more traditional prizes such as cash.
See the below video for a bit of the Mount Bohemia Mardi Gras Experience.
Who can ski here
Anyone who can parallel turn and comfortably ski down a cat trail can ski Mount Bohemia. There is one cat trail going around the mountain from the top to the bottom that almost anyone could ski. Anyone who can ski most of the runs at Boyne Mountain, Nubs Nob or Caberfae Peaks will have no problems with the non glade runs. This of course is assuming it’s not icy. If it’s icy all bets are off.
Mount Bohemia is located in Lac La Belle, Michigan at the tip of the Upper Peninsula thumb. It is 580 miles driving up I-75 to the Mackinac Bridge and then driving across the upper peninsula. Depending on the weather it could take you anywhere from 9 to 12 hours. Once you cross the Mackinac Bridge you won’t see another divided highway anywhere on this trip. Both United Airlines and Delta fly into Hancock, Michigan, 40 miles from Mount Bohemia. Tickets run $300-$700 from Detroit Metro.
4 wheel drive and/or tire chains
The snowstorms can get very heavy, very quickly on the Keweenaw. I do not currently have a four wheel drive vehicle as a result of a poor car shopping decision. I do at least have snow tires. Consequently, we were just barely able to make it out the access road at the end of our day skiing. I plan on having tire chains in the car for the next trip and highly recommend them to anyone else traveling up there.
The distance verse Vermont
Travel to Mount Bohemia from the Detroit area is only a little less than Vermont which can make the trip seem a little difficult to justify. We’ve found it makes a much more worthwhile trip to go up and ski some of the other upper peninsula resorts such as Marquette Mountain, Mont Ripley, and Iron Mountain on the same trip.
Where to stay once your there.
There is a variety of rustic lodging available at Mount Bohemia. They have a few cabins, several yurts and a large cabin containing a hostel. They include breakfast and dinner with all of their lodging options because the nearest town is so far away. There are some more modern hotels available in Houghton. The hotels in Houghton fill up very quickly. We’ve found we need to book rooms there by mid-summer for January and February dates.
The $99 November season pass sale
Mount Bohemia ski resort runs a $99 season pass sale each year in November. For 2020, it will be November 25 through December 6. Season passes are $99 during this sale. Daily tickets are $74 so this season pass is really a bargain if you go there for more then 1 day during the winter. The normal season pass price outside the sale is $340.
This $99 season pass brings along with it a bunch of passes at other resorts making it a potentially even bigger bargain.
- Crystal Mountain, Michigan. 2 days. 50% off additional days after March 1st.
- Snow King, Wyoming. 3 days
- Grand Targhee, Wyoming. 1 day for every night stayed if staying slopeside.
- Porcupine Mountain, Michigan. 2 days
- Mission Ridge, Washington. 3 days
- Hurricane Ridge, Washington. 2 days
- Brundage Mountain Resort, Idaho. 3 days
- Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Colorado. 3 days
- Out west amounts of snow
- Advanced terrain
- Glade and tree skiing
- The ABBA bus
- Unique experience
- $99 season pass
- Getting there. It’s way way way out there
- Limited accommodations at the resort and surrounding area
- Snow conditions if it hasn’t snowed very recently.
Everyone in the great lakes region within a 10 hour drive should give Bohemia a try at least once. It is truly a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in the midwest or east.
You might also like:
- The Best Skis For Michigan Skiing Helpful Guide
- The Best Way To Transport Skis By Car, Truck, Or SUV. 5 Great Ways
- Michigan Upper Peninsula Skiing (4 Great Days, 5 Ski Resorts)
- The 12 Best Advanced Ski Runs Michigan Has To Challenge Expert Skiers
About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an adventure sports fan and an avid skier, sailor, mountain biker who also enjoys paddle boarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and travel. I take any chance I can get to get out in the snow or water. I actively run an adventure sports meetup where I get asked many questions. I decided to start Gear Craver as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for adventure sports their gear.