Copper Peak sits in the far western reaches of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and at one time hosted international ski flying competitions. Now, it's just a great place to see Michigan's fall colors.

The peak sits at the edge of the Black River Valley, just north of Bessemer off of US 2. Once unsuccessfully mined for copper, the peak, also known as Chippewa Peak, was turned into a ski flying hill by the Gogebic Ski Club in 1970.

A 18-story steel structure was built on top of the hill, costing over one million dollars. The hill hosted international ski flying events from 1970 until 1994.

Now it's a tourist attraction for summertime visitors, and hosts the Red Bull 400, an uphill race from the bottom of the peak to the top of the ski jump. This year's 400, scheduled for September 26, was canceled due to Covid-19.

During my recent vacation, I stopped by Copper Peak on my way to do some hiking along the Black River. The fall colors were just turning, and the cool wind at the top that day was powerful, causing the structure to sway as I stood on it. That's a creepy feeling.

I can't even imagine what it would be like to strap some skis on and fly off the edge of that thing in the dead of winter. It was scary enough just standing on it.

Anyway, here's what it looks like from the top of the ski jump.


And here's a view from the top of the ski jump looking back the other way.


And here's the Black River Valley running just to the north of the jump.


This is the steep hill the Red Bull 400 run is competed on. Not easy to run up that bad boy.


And this is the chair lift that takes lesser mortals like myself to the top of the hill.


If you're ever in the far western Upper Peninsula, Copper Peak is worth the stop. Especially in the fall when the colors are turning.

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