Shaggy's Family Vacation at Mount Bohemia was, to say the least, very different this season. But, with the last 14-ish months being some of the most unique in history, we assumed ahead of time that the fourth annual event would be thrown some curveballs.
Traditionally, Shaggy's Family Vacation takes place in late January, and that was the plan for 2021. With no snowmaking infrastructure or grooming, Mount Bohemia is entirely dependent on natural snow for opening, which usually happens in late December. Winter 2020-2021 got off to a very slow start across the entire Midwest, and our originally-planned dates of January 21-24 ended up falling before Bohemia was finally able to turn lifts for the season on January 27th.
In mid January, when we realized weather would not allow for the original plan to be feasible, we were forced to postpone Family Vacation to mid March. For the late January weekend we had set aside for the time at Bohemia, we ended up cobbling together an impromptu ski trip to the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan, where we had surprisingly great snow and were able to take some laps with fellow members of the Shaggy's Family.
Check out our full recap of the weekend at the Porkies here: www.skishaggys.com/blogs/news/ski-the-porkies-meetup
Come March, we were excited to finally head north to the Keweenaw for Shaggy's Family Vacation 2021! For most of the 6.5-hour drive from Boyne City to Mount Bohemia, rain was coming down (quite hard at times). We had no clue what conditions would be like on Thursday, our first day of skiing.
Although the tip of the Keweenaw is often able to stay cold enough for snow to fall at Mount Bohemia, while other areas of the UP see rain, Mother Nature had other plans. Soaking rain on Wednesday was followed by a strong cold front overnight. The wind was gusty during the morning hours Thursday and was forecasted to remain strong all day, so the two chairlifts didn't end up running at all on Thursday.
No lifts, no problem - we broke out the skins and prepped for a day of touring at Bohemia! Although the temps had dropped well below freezing following the passage of the cold front, the snow at the base was still somewhat soft due to the previous day's rain.
However, as our ragtag crew neared the summit, the snowpack became thinner and icier, and getting any grip on the steeper pitches was, to say the least, very challenging. Most resorted to hiking just below the summit.
It was then we agreed collectively that one lap was enough. Our decision was validated as we skied concrete-like hardpack bumps, interspersed with patches of grass and rock, on the way down.
Not long after the ski gear came off, we warmed up the grill. Touring really burns the calories quickly!
Bete Grise beach, just a short drive from Bohemia, was our destination for the afternoon.
After acting goofy on the shores of Superior, we capped the day with an intense game of volleyball (dads vs non-dads) in the spacious heated pool!
Things were back to normal on Friday with the two chairlifts and fleet of buses running as usual. Although it was technically day two of Family Vacation, it essentially felt like the kickoff to the event.
We were blessed with mostly sunny skies, and lines were nonexistent due to the recent rain, firm snow, and thin cover. The less-than-ideal conditions didn't deter us from having plenty of fun, though!
Patches of bare ground just made for more obstacles to jump over!
After getting in a full day of turns on Friday, Saturday was shaping up to be even better. Sub-freezing high temps for days one and two of Family Vacation made for firm and fast snow, but a cold morning for the third (and final) ski day of the weekend gave way to spring sunshine and temps in the 40s.
The snow softened up quickly but never turned into full-on slop at any point during the day. If you can't ski Bohemia with fresh, fluffy lake effect powder, a bluebird day with soft snow is the next best thing!
Layers were shed as the sun got higher in the sky, and we made sure to soak in the awesome views of Lac La Belle and Lake Superior. Perfectly clear days in the Keweenaw can be tough to come by during the winter!
Despite the mid-winter date change and thin conditions, we were incredibly happy to see a number of members of the Shaggy's Family over the course of the weekend.
It's always great to see our happy customers enjoying themselves on the snow. And skiing is the perfect social distancing activity, so despite the post-skiing activities looking much different during this winter's trip, the most important aspect was still a go.
Thank you to all of you who made it up to ski with us, and thank you to Mount Bohemia for hosting us for the fourth consecutive year! For those who couldn't attend, we hope to see you next winter for Shaggy's Family Vacation 2022!