Porcupine Mountains ski area opens Dec. 20|
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, today announced it will open its downhill and cross country ski areas for the winter on Dec. 20.
The Porkies” relies on all-natural snow for its skiing base, and this year’s weather has allowed the hill to open earlier than normal.
We have been very fortunate this year to have the early snows,” said Park Supervisor Lee Verberkmoes. “Everything is ready, and we are excited to open for what we expect will be a great season.
The Porkies draws skiers and other snow enthusiasts from Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. The downhill area, run entirely on natural snow, is renowned for its vistas of Lake Superior. During an average winter, the region receives more than 175 inches of snow.
The downhill ski area boasts a 640-foot vertical drop and 14 expertly groomed, tree-lined runs covering 11 miles of slope. The Porkies feature triple and double chairlifts plus other tows, for a combined lift capacity of 3,600 skiers per hour. The ski chalet offers food service, large cozy fireplaces and many modern amenities, as well as ski, snowshoe, snowboard and snowmobile rentals. The hill also boasts National Ski Patrol presence and a first aid room. Lodging is available throughout the local area.
For cross-country skiing enthusiasts, the Porkies features more than 25 miles of power tilled, double-track set cross-country ski trails where skiers enjoy the quiet splendor of wooded trails and breathtaking vistas. A unique, one-ride lift ticket provides quick access to a chalet at the heart of the Nordic trail system. In addition, three rustic cabins located on the Cross Country trail system are available for winter rental. Contact the Park office for more information.
Adult alpine ski lift rates at the Porkies are $23 on weekdays, $28 on weekends and holidays. Half-day fares are offered. Discounted prices are available to seniors age 65 and older, and juniors, age 10 to 17 years. Children under the age of 9 ski free with a paid adult pass. Cross country ski trail passes are $6 for an adult weekday pass, $8 on weekends and holidays and discounted fees for seniors and juniors at all times.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is 15 miles west of Ontonagon in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The Park’s 59,000 acres are one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. The area also offers splendid snowmobiling trails, including the famous run to the Lake of the Clouds overlook.
Visitors are encouraged to call ahead to check conditions. The Park office can be reached at 906-885-5275, or check the DNR website, www.michigan.gov/dnr .