Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you failed to realize winter has arrived for much of the upper midwest. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula got socked with an early season storm cycle that blew in 14″ and counting. Marquette Local’s Collin Wheeler, Ryan Stephens, Molly Britz and Steve Kelly earned their turns and got after it on November 11th and 12th.

Collin, a full-time student at NMU and shop employee at Down Wind Sports in Marquette recalls the day…

I was sitting in class on Monday staring out of the Window all day waiting for the storm to hit. I saw an edit of these guys skiing out east somewhere last week on nothing more than dust. Since then all I’ve been able to think about was getting first tracks at Marquette Mountain.

I shot a text to a few buddies about heading out after class, but when it was all said and done Ryan Stephens and Molly Britz were the only ones that were committed. I anxiously waited until 5pm when Ryan was getting out of class. Originally I grabbed my rock skis, an old prototype ski from Shaggys Copper Country Skis, but as I was walking out to my car I decided that we had enough snow to bring out the Chopsticks.

We loaded up and headed to the hill. It was super wet and heavy. There was about 10-14″ on the ground as we were hiking, but it was not a sustainable base so we pretty much just sank right through to dirt. Got to our spot and set up the cameras. It was super dark and the snow was coming down so fast and thick that it was next to impossible to see once you got moving, even with head lamps.

Photo Courtesy Ryan Stephens Photography

I did one drop and attempted to spin but got bailed half- way through when I couldn’t spot my landing because of how dark it was. I think Ryan has a picture of that. So I hiked back up to our staging area and decided to just straightline it and pop as hard as I could, which is how we got this picture.

Photo Courtesy Ryan Stephens Photography

I literally couldn’t see anything when I landed and skied over some nasty stuff, sparked my edged twice. Went back to the to get a shot of Ryan hitting the lip from a different angle, but the flash was acting up so it didn’t turn out right. We rode out to the bottom, mobbed home, got down on some tacos and reveled in the evening. A great start to the season.

The following was taken by Steve Kelly and crew today (Nov. 12th) setting a solid skin track making turns. Solid start fellas!