The typical Midwestern skiing experience is anything but challenging. Most of the hill in these parts are exactly that… hills. Sure, you might find a relatively-steep groomed run that you can make a few turns on, but Mount Bohemia, MI is anything BUT typical as a ski resort in the Midwest. Especially since you can buy a season pass to this gem for just $99. It seems too good to be true, but it isn’t!
Mount Bohemia itself is a geological oddity. It’s home to the largest skiable vertical in the Midwest, and it averages nearly 300″ of annual snowfall. Rather than cut a bunch of groomed runs and scale the terrain for all abilities, Mount Bohemia embraces the challenging natural terrain with open arms. Their slogan is ‘NO BEGINNERS ALLOWED’. There’s no grooming and no snowmaking at Boho. That leaves skiers and riders with endless gladed terrain, legitimate cliffs and chutes, and extremely fun natural undulations that you won’t find anywhere else, let alone the Midwest.
It might be a little hard to appreciate the expansive terrain at Mount Bohemia from afar. Just glancing at the resort’s multiple trail maps is somewhat overwhelming, and the variety of gladed runs makes you feel like you’re in an expansive backcountry zone. Combine that with the fact that you can practically ski 360 degrees off the peak, and you might forget that you’re actually skiing in Michigan.
Let me help you get a better appreciation for how incredible the various zones of Mount Bohemia are with some breakdowns.
The Frontside of Mount Bohemia might get overlooked by the Extreme Backcountry, but don’t get it twisted- there’s plenty of fun to be had here.
Some of Mount Bohemia’s best cut runs descend the mountain’s front side. These trails are never groomed, but they’re still an excellent place to really let your skis or board fly. The natural undulations of these trails provide little kickers to boost, and unique lines to carve down.
The non-gladed trails are the highlight of this zone, but I still really enjoyed skiing the Widomaker and TNT Glades. They’re slightly less steep than the terrain in the Extreme Backcountry, but they seemed to hold snow slightly better as they face further north. I enjoyed quite a few hot laps in this area during my time at Boho.
Mount Bohemia’s pride and joy is the ‘Extreme Backcountry’ zone. Now, this area isn’t technically backcountry by definition considering it’s inbounds, but it elicits a feeling you might find a western resort’s sidecountry areas.
It’s expansive by all stretches of the imagination. Numerous chutes, cliffs, and rolling natural glades span almost a half mile wide across the middle of Mount Bohemia. Just pick a line, ski down, hop on the ABBA bus back to the base area, ride the lift, and rinse and repeat. I promise that you could ski lines at The Extreme Backcountry Zone for the entirety of your stay and not get bored. It’s where the Unofficial Networks crew spent most of our time when we were up at Boho a couple of seasons ago.
Notable highlights include Horshoe Chute and Apex Chute. I can personally guarantee that any skier or rider will find these lines challenging. I don’t care if you’re a big-mountain hardo or an East Coast ripper. This terrain is downright badass.
Flying Squirrel was one of my favorite runs of my trip. It offers the steepest terrain at the entirety of the resort, and I wanted to just keep lapping those trees until my quads felt like they were going to explode.
The Bear Den zone offers some of the longest runs at Boho. The cut runs and glades drop down to the Double Chairlift like cascading waterfalls, and you can score some excellent views of Lac La Belle and Lake Superior from here.
I recommend starting your run on an non-gladed trail, bouncing into a glade when you feel like it, and then bouncing back out. This gave me a sense of freedom to explore the mountain that I’ve only felt at larger resorts out west or in the northeast.
Boho’s terrain in the Bear Den encourages freeskiing and allows skiers to get creative out there.
The Outer Limits bridge the gap between The Bear Den and Middle Earth. Some skiers might avoid this section altogether, and they’re damn fools for doing so.
This zone offers some of the most variety on the mountain. Skiers can enjoy a nice slow-paced glade in Jupiter, or push themselves by diving into Black Hole.
Mount Bohemia’s far-eastern zone offer a unique experience in itself. This area is slightly less steep than other aspect of the mountain, and that leads to long meandering runs through beautiful glades.
I really enjoyed taking a long run through Middle Earth from time-to-time to get lost. I wasn’t actually getting lost, but found enjoyment in following the few tracks of skiers that came before me to discover new terrain. It felt ever-expanding out there and I really did forget I was in Michigan for a moment.
Helms Deep and 12 Wizards can be a little hard to find, but they are well-worth it days after a big storm.
The Haunted Valley is Mount Bohemia’s acclaimed backside terrain. This is easily the least-skied section of the mountain, and yet it holds the best snow all year long due to its north facing slopes.
The Haunted Valley and Graveyard Zones have a slight hike out at the bottom, but skiers are rewarded with untouched powder for just a 75 yard mellow hike.
I enjoyed exploring this zone the day after a 5″ storm. We found little powder pockets that hadn’t been touched for weeks. It was glorious to score those deep powder turns while the rest of the skiers were riding tracked out snow. Haunted Valley is the place to adventure when you’re craving fresh turns.
Mount Bohemia’s $99 season pass sales runs until December 4th. Grab that insanely cheap deal while you still can! Click here for more info.
Featured Image Credit: Chris Guibert