Humans Aren’t Meant To Hibernate! Discover Michigan Skiing With These Cost-Cutting Tips

It’s winter in Michigan! For Mickey MacWilliams, Executive Director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, it’s her favorite time of the year. Here she shares some tips for taking full advantage of all that Pure Michigan ski areas have to offer this season.

Photo by Instagram user @benhunt13

Photo by Instagram user @benhunt13

Skiing has been a popular sport in Michigan for over a century, and today it’s a $4 billion industry. Michigan is home to the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame, and some of the first and largest ski jumping competitions originated here back in the early 1900s. We have been enjoying Michigan’s winter weather ever since, and now it’s your turn!

For those who don’t know how to ski or snowboard but want to learn, January is the month. That’s when ski facilities all across Michigan offer an exciting and affordable learn-to-ski or snowboard program called Discover Michigan Skiing. Beginners aged seven and up receive a lesson, equipment rental and a lift ticket or trail pass for just $20 for cross-country skiing or $35 for downhill skiing or snowboarding. To get started, a Discover Michigan Skiing voucher is needed, and they are available at participating McDonald’s restaurants in Michigan or online at goskimichigan.com.

Snowboarders_basin_stKids in fourth and fifth grade can ski for free all across Michigan this year with the Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport. Twenty-seven ski areas have each contributed up to three lift tickets for this passport booklet, so students can ski all winter long, accompanied by an adult. Cold is Cool Passport applications and program details are available at ski shops across the state and also at goskimichigan.com.

Ski areas across the state offer packages, special events and discounts that can be a lot of fun while helping to reduce the costs of getting out onto the slopes and trails. The Events & Discounts tab on goskimichigan.com is updated frequently and offers a wide assortment of options.

MtBrighton_2274_485_322_300Want to know what the snow conditions and weather are like at any Michigan Ski area?  The Ski Areas and Conditions page provides up-to-date snow conditions and direct links to ski areas all across the state, where you can view web cams and see conditions in real time.

We live in a state that turns cold for four months each year. Michigan is truly a winter wonderland. If you’re dressed right for the weather – like our ancestors did for over 100 years – it is amazing out there.  Here is a link to a brief, condensed history of Michigan skiing.  Now it’s your turn to get outside and enjoy the Pure Michigan winter!

What are your tips for first-time skiers and snowboarders? 

Screen-Shot-2013-11-25-at-4.57.24-PM-150x150Mickey MacWilliams is the executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, which represents the ski and snowboard industry in our state.  She is also an avid downhill and cross-country skier and a very timid but enthusiastic snowboarder.  You can reach her at info@goskimichigan.com.

10 Michigan Snowboarding Facts to Know Before You Hit the Slopes

 The snowboarding season has arrived, and whether you’re planning on shredding the ‘gnar, carving up black diamonds or just going down your first bunny hill, you know that the Great Lakes State has some of the most exciting and diverse terrain in the Midwest.

Photo courtesy of iEnvision Photo

Photo courtesy of iEnvision Photo

We’ve put together a list of 10 snowboarding facts you should know if you want to stay crunchy – or “cool” to all of you non-boarding folk. So drop in and read below to see if you’re up to snuff on these snowboarding fun facts.

1. Muskegon, Michigan is noted as the birthplace of modern snowboarding. In 1965, Sherman Poppen, an engineer, invented a toy for his daughters by tying two skis together and attaching a rope to one end so they would be able to steer as they stood on the board and glided downhill. Poppen’s invention was known as the “snurfer”, a combination of snow and surf.

2. In 2000, Snowboarding was the fastest-growing sport in the United States, with the number of boarders rising to a total of just over 7.2 million. In 2013, in the Midwest alone, 7.1 million snowboarding enthusiasts dropped in on hills and grinded on rails and boxes.

3. Snowboarding was first included in the winter Olympics in 1998. Nick Baumgartner, hailing from Iron River, competed in the 2014 Winter Olympics. He also won the gold and silver medals in the 2011 and 2012 Winter X Games, respectively. Read our Q & A with Nick here.

Baumgartner4. Just 20 years ago, many popular ski resorts, like Aspen and Toas, did now allow snowboarders on their hills. Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a resort that doesn’t welcome snowboarding with open-arms. In fact, not one of the more than 40 ski resorts in Michigan have snowboarding bans!

5. Are you regular or goofy? This may seem like an odd question to those just getting into the snowboarding sport, but to veterans, it’s like knowing their own two feet. Literally. Regular means you snowboard with your left foot forward and Goofy means you snowboard with your right foot forward. Don’t worry; it has nothing to do with your state of mind!

6. Once you’ve got your feet on the ground, you’ll need to know what kind of board to get. There are three types of snowboards: freeride, freestyle and racing. Each board is unique to the type of snowboarding you’ll be doing, so it’s important to ask what’s best for what you’ll be doing when renting or buying. Of the three types, the freeride snowboard is the most popular.

7. In 2013, 67 percent of snowboarders were males and only 33 percent were females, with boarders aged 18-24 representing more than one quarter of all shredders on the slopes.

skiing-in-michigan8. Mount Bohemia, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is noted as having the highest vertical (900 ft.), most snow and the most expert terrain in the Midwest. In fact, Mount Bohemia is rated #1 for powder skiing east of the Rockies by Powder Magazine and has been called one of the top ten undiscovered ski resorts in the world by MSN.com!

9. According to Livestrong.com, snowboarders make up approximately 30 percent of all business for major ski resorts in the U.S. In Michigan, many major resorts like Boyne HighlandsCaberfae and Alpine Valley invite boarders of all skill levels.

10. Snowboarding isn’t just about going down hills. Much like skateboarding, snowboarding can also be considered a trick sport. Many boarders grind off rails, jump off boxes and fly off jumps to land in the fresh powder below. If you’re going to try one of these stunts, just make sure you wear a helmet!

Interested in learning more about snowboarding or planning a trip? Visit http://www.michigan.org/snowboarding for more information!

From Our Fans: The Ultimate Way to Spend a Pure Michigan Snow Day

Winter in Pure Michigan means plenty of snow and plenty of chances to bundle up and get outside with the ones we love. As we prepare for the snowy season ahead, our fans shared a few of their favorite ways to spend a snow day in Pure Michigan.

Use these suggestions and plan ahead for the next time Mother Nature transforms our state into a glistening winter wonderland. For more on planning a Pure Michigan winter outing, visit michigan.org/snowday.

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Chris Campo

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Chris Campo

Grab some coffee and a good breakfast, shovel the driveway, and get out and enjoy the snow! – Twitter user  ‏@Randomhero180

We go to Mackinaw and play in the snow by the bridge. Its a 3 hour drive, but it’s so fun. – Brent Mowry

Dress warm and drink lots of warm beverages. – Deborah L. Sorgen

Start the day off with a morning skate at a outdoor rink, snowball fights with the street, hitting the slopes in the evening. – Twitter user @Mike_Carlson23

Building snowmen with my grandkids. – Rhonda McClain

Playing with the kids building a snowman, having snowball fight or building a snow fort. – Twitter user @FShawnoo

Photo courtesy of Todd Schloegel

Photo courtesy of Todd Schloegel

Sledding through the Upper Peninsula. – James Clymer

Ideal snow day: Bundling up & going outside to snowshoe, ice skate, snowboard, or go ice fishing – or all! – Twitter user @stefherder 

Walking in the quiet woods. It’s peaceful and beautiful. – Julie Burr Bryan

Snowshoe + home brew; Michigan winter combo! – Ben Nighswonger

Drinking Michigan craft beer in any of many locations in the state. – Twitter user @jaw325

Walking the pier in St. Joseph and having hot cocoa at the Chocolate Cafe after! – Briana Herzog

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Katrina Wright-Rayhill

Photo courtesy of Facebook Fan Katrina Wright-Rayhill

Go outdoors! Snowball fights, forts, tubing/sledding, snowboarding/skiing, and then dry out/warm up while reading by the fire. – Twitter user @MegDaLibrarian

As I recall, the ultimate way to spend a snowy day was to bundle up around the fire with hot cocoa and toasted marshmallows listening to some great music. - Frances Resseguie Richardson

The ultimate way to spend a snow day in Michigan = Snowshoeing with family on the amazingly scenic Pure Michigan trails! – Twitter user @Ciesla504

Spending it with FAMILY- the more, the merrier! No matter what you’re doing or where you are! – Twitter user @rychepet

What’s your favorite way to spend a snow day? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram!