The Hemlock Open takes place April 28 on Boyne Mountain. (Boyne Mountain)
With plenty of snow on the slopes and in the glades Michigan’s Boyne Mountain, located in the Lower Peninsula, and Mount Bohemia, in the UP, have thrown down the gauntlet. Who will remain open longest this season for the Wolverine State title?
The good natured challenge has one rule that the ski area must operate at least one day per week for a minimum of five hours. The loser of the challenge will donate $1,000 to the charity of the winner’s choice. Boyne Mountain’s beneficiary is the Boyne City food pantry, and Mount Bohemia will donate the funds to the Copper County Humane Society.
The Mountain remains open daily through this weekend then plans to keep the lifts spinning on weekends for as long as conditions hold out. The forecast is calling for possibly up to two feet of snow through this weekend. They have remained open into May several times over the years. The last time was four winters ago.
Bohemia remains open through this weekend then also will remain open as long as conditions hold out. They have stayed open into May a couple of times in the last five years. This backcountry behemoth has no snowmaking, but receives over 270 inches of snow annually.
The real beneficiaries of the challenge are the snowsports enthusiasts who garner some extra slope time.
They aren't the last open Michigan ski resorts. A couple of other UP resorts also remain open, but not part of the challenge.
Ski Brule plans on remaining open weekends as long as the snow holds out and is currently fully open. They have also skied into May before, and currently hold the Midwest record for being open the longest during a ski season, which was over six months.
Big Snow is also open this weekend and the following weekend, April 20-22 as well. They also have plenty of snow having received over 14 feet so far this season. They may remain open on following weekends depending on how the snow cover holds up.