Last weekend was the Sly Fox Marquette Mountain Ski Trip of 2015. What a trip it was and I want to share a quick review of the trip and the mountain.
Marquette Mountain Ski Trip — The Trip
I was the trip leader for the Sly Fox Ski Club and my role was to obtain and prepare the food and drink for the trip, to communicate with the participants, to serve as a point of contact with the bus company, lodging, and Marquette Mountain.
Fortunately, the club leadership had it all setup well to start with so the rest was easy. Also making it easy were the participants, and our service providers. It was fun and it helped me to get to know more people in the club better. It was a good experience for my wife to visit with other folks and since neither of us had really ever been to Marquette it was a good motivation to visit Marquette.
Marquette Mountain Ski Trip — Marquette Mountain
Marquette Mountain is a typical upper Midwest ski resort in nearly every snow resort measure — vertical, acreage, number of runs, pitch of runs, variety of runs, lifts, and age of lodge. Since this was my first visit it was not evident to me that the main lodge is starting to undergo some updates, I hope that continues.
The mountain has a good variety of terrain. The blues are generally pretty tame but you can really zoom on Snowfield and then kick it over another notch and rocket down Rocket! I never did get to go down Cliff’s Ridge which was closed most of the time we were there due to College racing. I took Upper Rocket a couple of times and that was a fun one, with a good and steep part but of course, short. On Sunday I hit up The Twilight Zone and it was a run let wild with fluffencrud! I took it slow working my way down via slow traverse and I had fun with it. Saturday the only reachable terrain was essentially Renegade and that was a mix of boilerplate ice and soft fluffencrud, I did not ski Renegade again on Sunday, but the conditions on Saturday led to the mix of fluffencrud and boilerplate, more on that later.
Marquette Mountain Ski Trip — Saturday
When the Weather Channel Folks were not hyping Winter Storm Neptune’s imminent impact on the East Coast, they were talking of its birthplace — yes, Marquette Michigan. We were winter storm gods and goddesses the winter storm came to worship us and offer us snow, cold, uber-flat light, and howling winds. Looking at the radar all immediately around was bad, all away from us was good.
Those weather conditions forced Marquette Mountain to close all but one lift and Marquette Mountain was hosting the USSA College Midwest regional ski race; so when the college students were out in force the lift line was long. Marquette Mountain was at a loss, nothing was really possible but to cope with the adverse conditions and grin and beer it. I made six runs that day and they involved cold extremities and the runs were pieced together two at a time. It was a day to sit in the bar and get to know my fellow Sly Fox members better.
The one cool thing was the Marquette Mountain house combo knew some Grateful Dead tunes.
Marquette Mountain Ski Trip — Sunday
Sunday started off obviously better, the winds were calm, but the lighting was not better and there was off and on snow. However, the solid grey veil did dissipate and we had off an on (mostly off) sunlight and blue skies. The resort was in good shape with the mix of fluffencrud and boilerplate being mostly good and even surface. I did find some good fluffencrud to play around in both on the margins of some runs as well as over in the area they call “The Backcountry”. There was some commentary I heard among my fellow club members about ice on Rocket and on Cliff’s Ridge, but I did not really find any ice on Rocket and did not ski Cliff’s Ridge, I saw a big patch of exposed ice over around the Boarder Shack. Again, the cure to skiing on ice is a solid edge set.
Marquette Mountain Ski Trip — My Skiing
Saturday started well despite the weather but a definite pattern emerged. I would go in for a break and have a beer or two and then I notice my skiing degrades, my timing on edge changes and pole plants falls off. Sunday, I refrained from beer all day long and I skied with aggression and good timing all day long. I found I was able to pass or keep up with all of my fellow club members expect for one.
I really liked what Marquette Mountain has to offer me as a skier, the problem is it is a bit far being a good four to five-hour journey from home so it is a weekend stay involving hotels and the like. I am looking forward to returning!