Student Newspaper at Michigan Tech University since 1921

Published Weekly on Tuesdays Office Located in Walker 105

The best day to hit the slopes

I have lived in Houghton for over ten years now. That’s ten winters, or roughly 50 months of surviving in this freezing, snow-covered country, and yet somehow I have managed to never once set foot on Mont Ripley during the winter season. 

This isn’t without reason — I’m pretty sure I’m cursed. The first year I moved here, I made a friend who offered to take me downhill skiing the following weekend. I agreed, and the day before we went, she fell while snowboarding and broke both her wrists —- like bones-outside-of-her-body type of break. That scared me away for a few years. Later on, another friend offered to take me, and again, I agreed, thinking it was time to get over my old fears. The day before we were supposed to go, she also fell, tearing her ACL in half. She can’t ski anymore. 

After those two experiences, I was pretty sure the universe just did not want me to be a downhill skier. I’d like to think it’s because I’m bound to be the best downhill skier ever to ski, and the world just isn’t ready, but who’s to say?

This year, I’ve finally agreed to subject a new friend to my potential curse. I’m still quite wary though, and I’d like to set myself up as well as I can to have the best possible time. I’ve done a lot of research as to the best times to head over to the hill, and now you, my dear reader, can benefit from my casual anxiety. 

It would appear that the best time to be at Ripley would be in the later evening on a weekday, after the lights are turned on. The reason for wanting to go in the evening is twofold: one, it’s often easier to see when the lights are on, as it allows you to get a lot more definition and dimension — when it’s bright and sunny outside, the landscape seems to flatten out, even in areas where it’s actually quite bumpy. Two, it’s often less busy later in the evening, which can be nice if you’re someone who suffers from performance anxiety and feels as though any public action is a performance. Weeknights are also better for this same reason, as there tend to be less people on the hill. Many high school kids visit over the weekend, which is a population that many of us will go great distances to avoid. Typically during the day the snow is a bit better, as the hill is south-facing. This means that it gets hit by the sun (when the sun is actually out) and can end up melting throughout the day and potentially refreezing at night. 

Really though, no matter whether you’re someone that enjoys downhill skiing and snowboarding or if you’re a ski hill virgin, you can’t go wrong. When else are you going to live less than a ten minute drive away from an opportunity like this? Go any time, go often, just go. 

One Response

  1. Thank you for this article. I would like to add that, especially for people with “performance anxiety”, that Sunday mornings before noon are Ideal. They are generally quiet and most of the people here go largely unobserved.

Leave a Reply