Winter Activities

Each year, over 270 inches of lake-effect powder blankets the land. And as the locals know, if you don’t love snow, you won’t last very long in the Keweenaw. So how do locals survive, and even thrive, through nearly six months of winter? 

Maybe it’s something ingrained in the local Finnish DNA. But honestly, it’s all about having fun. In fact, around here, we call snow “white gold.” All that powder, mixed with the region’s rolling terrain, forested wilderness, and moderate temperatures, makes the Keweenaw an ideal destination for winter activities and sports like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, and snowmobiling. Its also drawn recognition as a Midwest destination for ice climbing and ice fishing.

Why does the Keweenaw get so much snow?

But why does the Keweenaw get so much snow compared to the rest of the Midwest? We can thank Mother (Lake) Superior for that. According to our good friends at NOAA, as cold air from Canada crosses over the warmer, open water of Lake Superior, warmth and moisture are transferred into the lowest portion of the atmosphere forming conditions that can generate 2 to 3 inches of snow per hour or more.  Because Lake Superior spends all summer absorbing heat form the sun, its slow to freeze over most winters moderating temps around the Keweenaw and storing potential energy for epic lake-effect snow.  

Top Winter Activities in the Keweenaw


With over 230 miles of snowmobile trails, the Keweenaw is a snowmobiler’s dream destination. Ride along the coast of Lake Superior, atop ancient mountain ridges, and enjoy picturesque trails with scenic vistas and breathtaking views. The Keweenaw trail system is well-maintained and offers trailside lodging and award-winning restaurants along the way. 

Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding

The Keweenaw is also home to Michigan’s oldest and newest downhill ski resorts: Mount Bohemia Ski Resort and Mont Ripley. Mount Bohemia is best known for its “no beginners allowed” mentality (and for good reason). Mount Bohemia features a 900-foot vertical drop and 600 acres of skiable terrain. Its steep slopes, cliff bands, and exposed rock formations attract advanced skiers and snowboarders looking to test their skills and enjoy the experience of a lifetime. Mont Ripley, located in Houghton offers terrain suitable for all skill levels and also includes a ski terrain park and tubing park.  

Cross Country Skiing, Snowshoeing and Fat-Tire Biking

The Keweenaw has miles of trail-systems that are groomed for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat-tire biking. Much of the Keweenaw’s summer trails are transitioned into winter sports trails once the snow starts to fall with unique trail systems in almost every community. These winter activities can also be enjoyed in backcountry settings on public lands for more solitary experiences. 

When Do Winter Activities Begin and End in the Keweenaw?

A typical Keweenaw winter begins in late October and extends well into March and early April. Most winter trail systems begin to open up in mid to late December after a solid base is established. Depending on the timing of spring thaw, sports like cross country skiing, snowshoeing and downhills skiing can be enjoyed into April.  


Explore more scenic vistas and picturesque trails as you ride along the coast of Lake Superior and atop ancient mountain ridges. On average the Keweenaw receives over 270…

Skiing & Snowboarding

The Midwest’s premier ski resort with the highest vertical (900 feet), largest backcountry glade and the only triple black runs in the Midwest. With 630 acres of…

Cross Country Skiing

Endless trails and endless powder makes the Keweenaw Peninsula the perfect destination for cross country skiing and fat tire biking. During a normal winter, the Copper…


Snowshoeing is the perfect way to explore the sights and sounds of the Keweenaw’s great outdoors. Whether you’re seeking solitude, craving adventure, or just…

Ice Climbing

Step outside her cozy towns, and it doesn’t take long for the Keweenaw to remind you that she is an untamed land, locked in a 500-million-year battle with Lake…

Ice Fishing

When the lakes freeze over, pure adventure awaits! The Keweenaw’s frozen lakes become winter villages as fishermen set up their shacks in preparation for peak…

Ice Skating

Skate laps, slap a puck around, practice your figure skating moves, or simply sip on a cup of hot cocoa while watching others glide across the ice…. Ice skating is…

Dog Sledding

With an abundant amount of snow each year, the Copper Country is an ideal place to to enjoy the sport whether it be by taking in the annual CopperDog 150 sled dog race or…


Curling is considered one of the world’s oldest winter team sports with its roots found in 16th century Scotland where the art was practiced on frozen lochs and…