Contributor Collin Rehm caught the spring storm that ripped through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in April 2018. Follow Collin and crew as they get after the goods that dropped in a blower of a 3-day storm in April.
Marquette Mountain was blown in!
Wait, I thought winter was supposed to be over? Even though the calendar says spring began almost a month ago, Mother Nature doesn’t like labels, not in the Upper Peninsula. Just as I was getting my mountain bike out of storage, with grippy dirt and berms on my mind, another blizzard rolls through. The biggest one of the season. Some areas in the Huron Mountains saw close to 40” of snowfall over the 3-day system!
Touring Marquette Mountain
While my thoughts might have drifted off to mountain bike season, there was no way I was going to miss the biggest blizzard of the season. I waxed my skis one more time, made sure my skins were set to the right length and headed out during the worst of the storm to Marquette Mountain for a Yooper rarity, wide open powder turns. I wasn’t the only one with the idea of late-season turns. There were already quite a few cars in the parking lot and a solid skin track up the face of the hill. Snow lovers from all around were taking advantage of the closed ski hill and free refills during the midst of the storm. The base was deep and the strong winds were shaping the face of the mountain with deep drifts and wind-lips, making for a fun ride down the open face of the ski hill. The snow was bottomless, and my skis didn’t hit anything hard all day long. Nothing but bouncy powder turns, wind-lip airs and face shots all day long! After 10 laps and close to 4000’ of vertical it was time to call it a day.
Touring The Huron Mountains
Luckily as the main system passed through the UP, lake effect followed. Overnight another several inches of light flakes came down off the lake, NMU was closed for the second day in a row, which meant another day of April Powder skiing. This time we were looking for something a bit more adventurous. I couple phone calls, and an hour hike later we were standing on a wide open treeless summit looking down at deep turns and drops down a classic Upper Peninsula mountain. With the wind whipping, mini cornices, and class 1 wind slabs coming down on us while we climbed up, this didn’t feel much like Michigan at all. We skied down from the open summit, and back into the canopy of the old growth forest. The snow was deep, and the terrain made for some of the best skiing of the year. Even though it’s going to be a couple weeks longer until bike season, I couldn’t ask for a better end to an amazing season!
Collin punching through 40″ in the 3-day storm cycle that blew through the Hurons.