Mt Bohemia review

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Mt Bohemia review

Postby bernwern » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:20 pm

Well, I bit the bullet and went on a final trip. This was spur of the moment and literally came together within a week.

To start: This is a small, low-key, NON-BEGINNER hill, so please don't spread the word until you ride it, and please keep it low-key. Everyone likes the atmosphere and crowd as it is :)

First off, location. About 20 miles south of Copper Harbor, MI way the h*ll up in the Upper Peninsula (UP). This is the furthest north you can go (there is one smaller bump north of it, but not worth anything). It has a 900' vertical, which is quite comparable to Lutsen. The drive was about 8 hours from St Paul MN. Lac La Belle sits immediately to the south, and has a trench that was dredged out to Lake Superior so ships can seek shelter in bad weather. From the top, you can see Lake Superior to the North, East, and South...and I was told on a clear day you can make out Ste. St Marie in Canada.

Second, lodging. The nearest "big" town is Houghton/Hancock, which is about 45 minutes south-east. Copper Harbor is little more than 2 bars, some houses, a small hotel, etc. They have cabins and yurts for rent on the hill. We stayed about 1 mile away at Lac La Belle Lodge; it's right on the lake, cabins are cheap, they have a small convenience store, and they have The Bear Belly bar and grill! Free wifi at the bar as well....which reminds me that cell service was sparse, but AT&T worked OK.

Third, and the point of this, the resort. Well, they advertise as a non-beginer hill with riding conditions as close to the mountains as you can get....and I agree. They have ZERO grooming...if you can't ride it, too bad. They have a triple and a double lift only, plus a bus running the road to pick people up; on weekdays, only the triple and the bus run (no double lift). They do have a handful of traditional runs, in that they are cleared out of trees, but there are still large granite rocks to launch off from scattered sparsely throughout. The real reason to head here is the trees....I would guess 80+% is all covered, some gladed, some not.

You can ride through ANYTHING you want! Steep? Yes, about to 45°. Cliffs? Yep, ranging from 2'-40' in height, with variable faces and landings. Some of the gullies have nice granite boulders that are covered with snow, making it seem like pillows to bounce off from. Much of this terrain requires careful planning: you need to figure out where you want to go with a riding partner, then run your line to an end point, then reassess and repeat until you make it all the way down.

My favorite run(s) were in the "Extreme Back-country", specifically Flying Squirrel. Most runs were rated as single or double black-diamonds (they only have one blue, and zero greens). The Extreme-Back-country was all rated triple-black. I think you can shave the ratings back a bit, but there definitely is not anything resembling a green circle. I guess the tree runs were hard...un-marked logs, rocks, cliffs, lots of trees, and steep slopes to boot....but if you know what you are doing, it's a blast! By the last day, we learned a couple runs well enough that we could run them top to bottom non-stop through the trees, cliffs, and more (but my legs certainly paid for it).

Snow conditions are variable. They get their best snow in January and February with an annual average of 270". We had about a 36" base....it was nice when we got there, but slowly turned to spring conditions every day. More and more objects got exposed as we rode 3 days in a row with 40°+ temps and blue-bird skies. Spring snow was fine, as I could cut through it and do basically whatever I wanted, just with a little more muscle required. By the late afternoon, anything directly exposed (not in trees, or shaded by ridges) become too soft and sticky and would slow you down (even though we re-waxed).

Me personally? I was sick. I just got back from the clinic and have bronchitis. It slowed me a bit, but I rode hard every day knowing this was epic. I also drank and smoked, but that is another story....might as well enjoy life (and the end of snowboarding season) to its fullest while I can!

I did hit around 10 trees, but most were controlled....only one was a direct hit, and I knew it was coming, so I used my forearms as a shock absorber to bounce off and away; I though I broke my forearm it hurt so bad, but the pain subsided and it only ended up being a large bruise :) I also took a few abrasions to my stick (likely rocks and logs), but no core shots. I guess if you count using the trees to balance and spin turns, I probably hit 100....grabbing onto one as you enter into a sharp toeside can really rocket you around!

So, despite less than perfect conditions, I have a replacement for Lutsen. This is now an annual trip. I give it an overall 8/10 rating, and would compare it to a miniature version of Moonlight Basin (except no groomers or easy runs).

Feel free to ask me anything else!

-B
bernwern
 
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Postby John » Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:49 am

Thanks. Any photos?

How's it like getting around without the double running?

How are the tree areas? Did they make an attempt anywhere to thin out the woods or remove deadwood?
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Postby bernwern » Thu Mar 19, 2009 8:59 am

I do have some photos on my iPhone. Need to pull them off first. Dusty and Papa George also got pictures, so I will try to add some when I get them.

When the double isn't running, it is fine. You simply ride right down to the road and wait on the bus. I think we waited no more than 5 minutes, but I would guess that if you missed it, you would wait 10 minutes.

The trees are gladed in spots, but they certainly don't look like they were cleared. There are logs, stumps, rocks, and more in spots and you need to constantly be scanning for them. When I post some of the pics you will be amazed....they look really gladed out and beautiful.

-B
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Re: Mt Bohemia review

Postby canoer » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:54 pm

I was up in Copper Harbor last week and drove by Mt. Bohemia to eyeball it from the parking lot and road in June. Don't think I'd want to ride up there unless I had a friend with local knowledge to follow. I could see getting lost in there for days. 8)
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Re: Mt Bohemia review

Postby John2 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:23 am

Good point about not getting lost!
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Due to technical difficulties, the user "John" is now running as "John2." New and improved?
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