The Copper Peak ski flying hill in Ironwood, MI is pretty awesome. The structure towers 241 feet above the crest of the hill on which it stands. It’s marketed as “The Eiffel Tower of the North” and honestly that’s not too far off.
It’s also marketed as an “adventure ride.”
Copper Peak adventure ride – the basics
So, what’s the adventure ride? Basically, you purchase a ticket at the office ($13 when I was there) and ride a chairlift from bottom of the hill up to the base of the ski jump.
An attendant then guides you into the elevator and brings you up eighteen stories. You are now at the main observation deck. At that point, the attendant stays by the elevator and you’re free to walk up the additional six stories to the very top of the jump if your nerves can handle it.
As their brochure says “everything about Copper Peak is big.”
Here are a few more facts about the hill:
- The jump reaches an elevation of 1,782 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest points in Michigan. (The highest point is Mount Arvon.)
- It’s 1,180 feet above Lake Superior .
- The top of the ski jump is 26 stories above the ground below.
- From the top on a clear day, you can see more than 2,500 square miles, including Isle Royale, the Porcupine Mountains, the Apostle Islands and much more.
- In competition, ski flyers accelerate to speeds near 70 mph and can fly 600 feet or more.
- Copper Peak was built in 1970 at a cost of over $1 million.
- It is the world’s largest ski jump / ski flying structure.
Yeah, it sort of is. Not in a “whoo hoo this is a crazy roller coaster ride” kind of adventure, but I would say it’s a little more than just a nice view.
The 300 foot chairlift ride on the way up gets pretty high above the ground, so that’s fun. And then, once you exit the elevator, the stairs you walk up to scale the rest of the thing are the “metal grid” type, so you can see all the way down to the bottom several hundred feet below you.
And did I mention that the whole structure sometimes sways a little bit in the wind? Can you imagine being a ski flyer on this thing?
What the heck is ski flying?
From what I understand, ski flying is pretty much larger scale ski jumping. The jump is bigger. The skis are a little bigger. The “flyers” go further. The ski flying events at Copper Peak aren’t annual events (check their website for details) but we do have ski jumps each year at Pine Mountain in Iron Mountain and Suicide Hill in Ishpeming. Now, for my experience here…
I showed up not long before they closed for the day on a Friday afternoon, stopped at the office to buy my ticket and then made my way to the chairlift.
I handed my ticket to a student worker running the lift and rode up 800 feet to the top, where another seasonal employee was there to stop the lift if I were to somehow fall on my face.
It moves pretty slow, though, so I wouldn’t worry about that.
I hiked over to the ski jump and was guided up the eighteen story elevator to the main observation deck, which is fully enclosed an offers a gorgeous view of the area.
I climbed up to the top and was surprised that I ended up being a little nervous. Like I mentioned above, the metal grate steps allow you to see all the way to the ground. So that, coupled with the fact that the whole structure was swaying back and forth in the wind (almost 250 feet above the ground) shook my nerves a bit. And I usually really like heights.
It was super cool, though, and the view was spectacular. Like the top of Sugarloaf, it’s one of those panoramic views that’s really tough to capture with a camera. You’ve got to experience this view to really “get it.”
From the top of Copper Peak you can see for miles and miles in every direction. You can see Lake Superior, the Porcupine Mountains, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Apostle Islands and more. It’s well worth the trip over to Ironwood.
Bottom Line: The Copper Peak ski flying hill offers one of the best views in the Midwest.
Address: N13870 Copper Peak Rd Ironwood Township, MI 49938
Phone: (906) 932-3500
Map: To see Copper Peak’s location on my map of Things to do in the U.P., click here: http://goo.gl/maps/6PKDQ
More Photos: See more photos of Copper Peak here.