On the North Shore of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula sits the Midwest's only snow cat skiing operation, Voodoo Mountain.
Voodoo Mountain Cat Skiing is operated by Mount Bohemia and while it's quite a bit more mellow than Mount Bohemia, it offer stashes of powder long after lift-served terrain.
Follow Ambassador Darrin Bergman on his search of the Midwest's best powder laps.
What a winter we've had in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The powder's been deep and there always seems to be another storm in the forecast. I've made some unforgettable memories, shared lifts with gnarly friends, and skied the deepest, fluffiest snow of my life. As if I wasn't feeling lucky enough already this season, my day spent taking laps at Voodoo Mountain really sealed the deal. It’s one of many that’ll bring back a good state of mind this summer.
I had to kind of send it to make this day happen. The night before, I got a phone call at work from my buddy John, the rad filmer dude who made this video, asking me if I was interested in a spot on the cat the next day riding Voodoo. Breaking out the scale of responsibility, I weighed my options (school work) and quickly decided that it would be against my moral code to turn this opportunity down. That night, after getting off work at 9:30, I went home, packed my bags, and hit the road. I had plenty of time during the drive to think about how I would explain this midweek excursion to my mother.
The next morning I pulled into the Mount Bohemia parking lot with high hopes for fun. Inside the main yurt, I met our guide and listened as he expertly described the conditions we'd be facing throughout the day. He was guaranteeing great conditions. Still, I was a little anxious. We'd gotten snow the night before, but only a few inches (this winter has also made me slightly spoiled).
Eventually, we made our way by bus, then cat, to Voodoo Mountain. The trek in followed trails through snow-covered forests and provided ample time to get stoked. Everyone on the cat, some first-timers like myself, and other's returning, were excited to get out there and ski. When we finally did arrive and unload, I was chomping at the bit to spend my day riding pow.
Voodoo Mountain is currently comprised of 100 skiable acres with a 700-foot vertical drop. The cat skiing operation only runs a few times per week which allows for great coverage and time to refill after it's been tracked out. From the top of the first peak, it was obvious that the only tracks we would see that day would be our own. We dropped in behind our guide and skied low-grade trees that opened up into a huge, clear area full of untouched snow.
The skiing was fantastic. Voodoo has a pretty mellow slope compared to Mount Bohemia. It's not steep and filled with cliffs, it's more than enough to make for a good time. We had about five inches of fresh snow on top of a soft base. When that's what's under your skis, and you have an unpainted canvas of powder in front of you, life is good.
We took five laps in the morning, each filled with face shots and smiles. When lunch came around, the group gathered around a bonfire and enjoyed sack lunches provided to us by the operation. As we all relaxed and dried off, I talked with our guide and learned about the process they use to glade their ski area. Since that conversation, I've been a little more thankful each time I rip a turn down Mount Bohemia. It took years to develop these areas and if it wasn't for a dedicated group of riders who were nice enough to share their secret with the world, we’d never know skiing like this in the Midwest.
After a nice warm-up session, we headed back out for more skiing. The second part of the day was even better than the first. We went to a different peak and continued to ski untracked runs well into the day. It wasn't until the last two laps that we skied a trail twice. At the end of it all, we'd been up and down Voodoo Mountain 14 times. It might not sound like a ton, but I was thoroughly tired. And it's quality over quantity, right?
I drove back to Marquette that night with a feeling you only get after a day spent doing what you love. The best part was that I’d be headed back to Mount Bohemia the following weekend to ski even deeper snow during the Shaggy’s Family Vacation.
This is my final take away about Voodoo; it isn't the gnarliest skiing out there. If it snows any more than six or seven inches, I would highly recommend you go ride the lifts at Boho instead. But the unique experience and exclusive terrain it offers are well worth the extra cash when conditions are right. I just happened to hit it when it was good, and I had an amazing time.
The biggest thanks to Shaggy's Copper Country Skis and the great people at Mount Bohemia. This winter has been all time!
Shaggy's Ambassador, Marquette Michigan