TRAVEL
01/04/2012 05:55 pm ET | Updated Jan 11, 2012

Porcupine Mountains: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide

Porcupine Mountains in Michigan is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Porcupine Mountains, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.

The Basics

Porcupine Mountains in Ontonagon is part of Michigan's Upper Penninsula. It does not need snowmaking for skiers and boarders because the mountain deposits up to 20 feet of powder annually. This small mountain range is part of Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park, which exhibits an irregular shape, so some of the trails glide through forests and views of Lake Superior. The closest major towns and airports are 200 miles away in Duluth, Minnesota, and Green Bay, Wisconsin. Affectionately called the "Porkies," Porcupine Mountains offers downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country.

The Mountain

Porcupine Mountains typically opens for the season in mid-December, relying strictly on the season's snowfall. The uncrowded ski area is normally open on the weekends and every day during the week of Christmas. The 11 miles of slope cover 100 acres of skiable terrain, with the longest trail measuring 5,800 feet. A vertical drop of 641 feet from the 1,368-foot summit is the highest in Michigan and Wisconsin, according to state park stats.

Trails And Lifts

Seven intermediate, five expert and three beginner trails allow skiers and boarders of all levels a taste of the powder and a lake view. The ski hill is served by a triple chair and T-bar along with two towropes. Back country skiing via Snowcat to Everest Mountain, just west of the ski area, features new trails and fresh snow to explore. A Nordic trail system with 26 miles of groomed double-tracks wraps around the ski slope area for cross-country skiers. These trails offer novice to advanced tracks, two warming houses and plenty of wildlife along the way.

In The News

An annual "Get in the Trees" ski season event offers a hands-on approach to teaching beginners the fine art of skiing through trees, along with powder skiing techniques. Porcupine Mountain Wilderness State Park has a variety of ongoing winter activities for families that include downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country and camping. The area also plays host to the annual Porcupine Mountains Music Festival.

Cost

Porcupine Mountains ski hill offers two-for-one lift tickets every day. All tickets are $50 and $54, depending on the method of payment. All ski and snowboard packages are $30. Lessons for skiing or snowboarding are also $30 and require an advance reservation. Clyde's Rental Center, located in the ski chalet at the base of Hiawatha run, rents Head brand gear and will tune and wax snowboards and skis.

Apres-Ski

The Porcupine Mountains ski hill chalet at the base of Hiawatha is the only spot for resting and grabbing a bite to eat on the hill. The chalet warms up with three fireplaces and offers a cafeteria that serves pizza, hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and chili, among other fare. The chalet also houses a ski shop that sells gloves, handwarmers, goggles, T-shirts, souvenir sweatshirts and more. The nearby town of Ontonagon offers more restaurants, bars and lodging options.

WATCH: Porcupine Mountains



Young snowboarders ride the green run at Michigan's Porcupine Mountains ski hill.

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