What do you need to go skiing or snowboarding? For one, snow. For two, ski resorts or ski areas. There is an area in Michigan where the snow starts accumulating early and the natural terrain offers great ski resort opportunities. The area we are talking about is Ironwood.
We recently visited Ironwood with big plans to go snowboarding at 4 different ski areas. We started with a two-for-one visit to SnowRiver Mountain Resort. SnowRiver is made up of Jackson Creek Summit and Black River Basin. First up for us was riding at Jackson Creek Summit. Right away there is something unique about this place and that is that when you park, you are actually at the top so the first thing you do is ride down the hill and not up the lift like most places. When you are ready, a shuttle will bring you on a few mile ride over to Black River Basin. Black River Basin is open Thursday-Sunday and they keep the runs au-natural for fun on Thursdays. Also, it runs right along the Black River, hence the name, which is one of our favorite areas to explore. Overall, between the two, there are 56 trails, 8 tree terrain runs, 3 terrain parks, 11 lifts and over 400 acres to explore. On top of that, the area gets on average 17 feet of snow per season!
We had a great time riding at both Jackson Creek Summit and Black River Basin. To us, the first has more of a traditional feel while the second has a been more adventure and are both fun in their own ways. If you are going to SnowRiver, make sure to check our both spots!
Check out the video from SnowRiver Mountain Resort
Next up on our Ironwood snowboarding adventure was Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort. This great resort is made up of 45 trails, 9 lifts, 253 skiable acres, 2 full service restaurants and a cafeteria area. We started the day right when they opened at 9 AM and had some great early runs. We made our way from one side of the mountain to the other while find all sorts of fun runs along the way. One thing that stood out was the "Wine Huts." These can be rented out for the day and stocked for your own place to stop throughout the day and hang out to eat, relax and warm up. This is on our list for next time! Another great thing about Big Powderhorn is that it connects to the Wolverine Nordic Trails and fat biking trails, which we have been to in the past.
To finish out our Ironwood riding experience we went to Mt. Zion, which is located on the campus of Gogebic Community College. There are a few very unique features about Mt. Zion. First off, it is ran by the students, some of who are in the ski area management program at the college. This is one of only two colleges in the continental United States that offer this program. There are 10 runs and a tubing park. One of our favorite parts of Mt. Zion is the run called Park Road. In the other seasons, this is an actual road that leads to the top of Mt. Zion for great views of the area. We recommend checking it out during fall!
Check out the video from Big Powderhorn and Mt. Zion
There are even a couple of other options close by that you could visit as well. Just over the border into Wisconsin is Whitecap Mountains Ski Resort and the ski area at the Porcupine Mountains is just about an hour away.
Overall, Ironwood is a great area to visit while looking for a fun adventure in the snow!