At the Midwest’s Mount BoHo, the goods are in the woods.
» Location Lac La Belle, Mich.
» Getting There Unload Lift 1 and make a sharp right onto Miner’s Hollow, then veer left down onto Bull Moose. Check your speed and enter the trees to the left of the Extreme Backcountry sign. It’s a mellow slope but the trees are tight at the top. Take heed. Midwestern trees bite back.
Whistler Village, as recently as the mid-1980s, was a black-bear-infested dump. But that didn’t prevent it from being one of North America’s first replicas of a European ski village.
No fear. Sure, it was a cheesy clothing brand in the ’90s, but it sums up Whistler in two simple words. It began with its founders, who hacked for days through coastal rainforest and swamp just to get to the bottom of a 6,000-foot behemoth, and endured unto Intrawest, which brilliantly predicted that high-speed lifts to the top of snow-pummeled peaks would, in the end, let them sell opulent timber-frame weekend chalets for millions a pop.
CB is everything that makes a ski town rad, from locally owned restaurants and shops to coffeehouses filled with people who live for adventure.
I was at an eighth-birthday party this spring for the son of a friend I moved to Crested Butte with 15 years ago. The kids all played soccer while the “adults” drank PBR in the shadow of Crested Butte Mountain. Rowan, the birthday boy, approached the picnic table and asked his mom, “Can I open my presents?” One of the gifts was a Magic 8 Ball, a classic toy that’s been around since 1950. He unpackaged the 8 Ball with a throng of kids surrounding him. Then Rowan asked with heartfelt sincerity, “Will I be a pro skier?” He shook the ball.
Once the first chairlift started spinning in 1972, Telluride became the ultimate ski town. And that’s one reason we love it.
Back in the day, Telluride produced over $60 million of gold, silver, zinc, copper, and lead. Though the last gold was extracted decades ago, it seems wherever you go in Telluride, mining still gets in your face. Riding the gondola, one can scan east to west from the ginormous, treacherously toxic tailings pile to the pickax-stuffed museum in town. Me, I’m over the mining heritage. In the end, it’s just a bunch of rusted metal.