It should be of no surprise that Michigan’s oldest ski area would be in the Upper Peninsula. In fact, it’s midway into the peninsula just across the Keweenaw Waterway from Houghton: the place is Mont Ripley, in the village of Ripley - also known as "the snowiest town in the Midwest."

The village began as a ferry landing back in 1846, bringing entrepreneurs and their businesses. One such business was the Quincy Copper Mining Company, which was organized and kicked off in 1848. The famous Quincy smelter was built here along the north side of the Keweenaw Waterway – now closed, but still stands to this day.

Ripley became a station along the Mineral Range Railroad and with the mining success and influx of people, a post office was necessary. In 1886, a post office started operating. It closed in 1888. It’s unknown who the village was named after, but its namesake could possibly be the same one as Ripley, New York: Eleazer Wheelock Ripley, a general in the War of 1812.

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The village of Ripley sits on a slope, which was christened Mont Ripley and turned into a ski resort. The resort has a chairlift, T-Bar lifts, and snow-making machines. Over its 112 acres, it also contains a scenic Waterway overlook, terrain park, tubing park, and 22 trails. Getting ever closer to its 100th anniversary, Mont Ripley's skiing operations began specifically during the winter of 1933-1934.

Aside from the recreational amenities, the area makes an interesting visit. The old Quincy mine occasionally has tours and sometimes turns itself into a haunted attraction on Halloween. The nearby towns of Hancock and Houghton offer many mom & pop shops to visit with loads of unique items you won’t find in the lower peninsula.

Beautiful area, loads of history, and tons of recreation…

The Oldest Ski Area in Michigan

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