When I first mapped out my plans for this trip, I saw that the MAX pass included some ski areas in the Midwest. Boyne Michigan, Granite Park Wisconsin, Buck Hill and Lutsen in Minnesota. I thought that perhaps I’d get a couple of days in there as I traveled from east to west, but I wasn’t on a mission to make it there. I left Blue Mountain, Ontario and headed west towards the Great Lakes. My navigation told me that I could make it to Wisconsin driving from Blue mountain. At one stop near Cambridge, I took a closer look at my map. It turned out that my route required a ferry ride that’s closed in the winter. I did a fair amount of route planning for this this trip, but I was already a bit off course. Leaving Blue Mountain, I had the choice of driving north around the Georgian Bay and Lake Superior (a much longer drive) or crossing at Point Huron and getting some skiing in at Boyne, MI.
After a long drive, I pulled into Boyne and arrived in time for a yoga class at a new studio in town, by the lake. Beautiful little downtown. After class I headed back towards the mountain. As it turns out they have night skiing and there were still a couple of hours that the lift was open. Of course, I headed right out to the slopes. I haven’t been night skiing in. A while, so much fun, but cold. The ski area was relatively small, I was able to straight line to the lift. Still, lots of fun to be out skiing at night.
In the village, there was a small pub called “Forty Acres Tavern.” I stopped in for a beer and got talking to the bartender, Jon. He used to live and work in Summit county, CO so we talked about skiing at Breckenridge and Keystone. He recommended some runs for me to check out in the morning.
I woke up early, grabbed my lift ticket, and took a look my planned drive for the next couple of days. I wanted to avoid bad weather, and make it out to Montana by the end of the upcoming weekend. From Michigan, that’s about 24 hours of driving, not including stops. I headed north and stopped at Boyne Highlands, another ski area about 30-40 min north of Boyne. I skied a couple of runs there and saw a sign pointing to various ski areas around North America. Many of them are on my list, and my next destination was one of them, Big Sky, MT 1283 miles. I’d better get going.
I had to go around Lake Michigan which was mostly frozen. I drove over the bridge and along the lake. There were small towns every 50 miles or so, besides that, a frozen coastline. Trucks and tents parked out on the lakes, ice fishing. Ice washed up on the beach like waves that froze in time. While it was desolate, it was pretty spectacular to see.
As I drove through Wisconsin, it started snowing. I was on country roads without lights, exits, or rest areas. Farm land on each side of the road for miles. I finally arrived in Wausau, WI near Granite Peak and found a place to stop for the night. The freezing rain began, and I could hear it all over the truck. I knew the roads were going to be a mess in the morning, and I had no idea how far I’d be able to travel the following day. At least I was near a ski area. I settled in for the night. Next post, Granite Peak.