July 8, 2018
Copper Peak, near Ironwood, Michigan, is the largest artificial ski jump in the world. Ski flying events were held here from 1970 until 1994, when it closed due to financial difficulties. I’ve always called this sport ski jumping, although competitors do appear to be flying rather than jumping.
Copper Peak is now an adventure ride that’s open from mid-May to mid-October. It cost Chloe and I just over $25 to get on the ride, because I got the old person discount.
The hard part is getting to the top.
First, an 810-foot chairlift rises 365 feet to the crest of a hill. The hill appears a lot shorter looking up than it does looking down.
After hopping off the ski lift, it’s a short walk to an elevator that takes you up 18 stories. The elevator shaft is at the far left of the ski flying hill.
Once you’re off the elevator, you’re not done yet as you still have to climb 6 more stories worth of stairs.
Then, and only then, do you feel as though you are on top of the world.
If you were a ski flyer, your view might look something like this, only with lots of snow…and wind…and cold…and the feeling of, “OMG, I’m gonna die!”
If you slowly turn in 360 degrees you can see almost 40 miles in every direction. I do believe that on this day we saw at least that far.
Once you’ve had your fill of the view, it’s time to head back down. There are two options to get down – safely! I do not consider jumping or ski flying safe options!
For either (safe) option, you have to walk back down those 6 stories worth of stairs.
Option one is to take the elevator. Option two is to walk down the steps to the bottom of the ski jump.
As for the elevator – been there, done that. So Chloe and I took the steps. As you can see there are lots and lots of steps. You can see the ski lift in the upper right of the photo.
Once safely back on the ground, it’s time to announce the award winners.
And the gold medal goes to…CHLOE!
I finished out of the running. Which is OK. Because I survived.
Another ride on the ski lift and we were done. At least I was.
While Chloe and I were huffing and puffing our way to the top, Holly chilled in the gift shop and chatted with whoever was nearby. Here’s her two cents.
There was absolutely no cell phone signal in the river valley. However, Chloe managed to call her Dad… from the top of the extremely high Copper Peak Ski Flying Tower. John and Chloe made the pilgrimage to the top. First you take a chair lift up over the ridge, then an elevator, then climb the steps… then more steps, then lots and lots of steps. Then you stand on top of the world and view miles and miles of land and lake around you. Then you look waaaaay down that slope that the skiers fly on. John and Chloe went all the way to the top and loved it.
Due to my fear of heights, I stayed in the very nice gift shop down at the bottom and chatted with people there. I still had little stomach flips when their video of past competitions showed that view down the ski hill.
The tours are the only activity right now but the facility dreams of opening again someday for SUMMER Sky Flying. Skis, Sky, No snow? They are raising money with these tours and applying for grants. I’ve seen the drone video on YouTube and feel safe in saying “You’ve got to be a HUGE adrenalin junkie to do that!” or maybe just nuts. Either way, I wish them success.