Spring Skiing, Punxsutawney Phil and Misplaced Enthusiasm

Winter in Michigan is unlike anything else. Between the trails, hills and snow-covered landscape, it truly is an outdoor-enthusiast’s dream destination. One of the many great things to take advantage of during a Pure Michigan Snow Day is the beautiful ski and snowboard hills at Shanty Creek Resorts. Guest Blogger Chris Hale from Shanty Creek shares more on the iconic Pure Michigan destination, and some things you can do as the weather gets warmer.

For many years I’ve struggled with what I call “misplaced enthusiasm.” You see, it won’t be long until spring is in the air. And for many, the first hint of warmer, spring-like temps elicits throngs of skiers to pack up their winter gear. The pursuit of golf clubs, mountain bikes, and unwrapping winterized boats begins. And this is where misplaced enthusiasm lives.

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Think back to November. Social media pages light up like Christmas trees with questions about “When are you opening?” “How much snow do you have?” “Are the snow guns on?” and on and on. Winter can’t start soon enough, and regardless of when that opening day is, diehards willingly spend a day skiing even if that’s only on a few runs. And while that’s great, like clockwork their enthusiasm wanes by mid-March.

Sure, on some level it makes sense. Everyone loves the anticipation of what’s next. And after a long, cold winter, spring offers the promise of rebirth and blooming flowers, and blah, blah, blah. But let me be the loudest to say it: Spring skiing in Northern Michigan is simply brilliant!

The snow-pack is deep. Temps are warmer. There’s sunshine, and the slopes are 100% open. For skiers and boarders, it is nothing short of amazing!  Plus we, the industry people who live it day-in and day-out, are ready to have some fun too. That’s why all ski resorts throw our Krazy festivals this time of year!

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Here at Shanty Creek, the first weekend of March is our annual Slush Cup at Schuss Mountain. 46 years and counting! The day is filled with family-fun including a Seal Slide, a Frozen Fish Toss, and Shovel Racing before the big finale, and après-ski entertainment. There are s’mores around fire pits and drinks flowing at ice bars. The energy is rocking and contagious.

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

The following weekend is our Cardboard Classic where guests bring sleds made from nothing more than cardboard, tape and glue. We race and have prizes for best design and best use of the Shanty Creek logo/brand. Then there’s Canadian March Break, St. Patty’s, the Blarney Stone slope style jam, a lot of basketball Madness on the big screen, and finally our Last Weekend Luau to close the month.  (Not to mention some incredible deals on lodging and lift tickets. Trust me. Call our reservations department or check us out online. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!)


Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

So grab your sticks, some shades and sunscreen, and enjoy what I consider to be the most wonderful time of the year at Shanty Creek Resorts.

Chris Hale

Chris Hale has been vice president of sales and marketing for Shanty Creek Resorts for the past 6+ years where he manages all aspects of the Shanty Creek brand. His career includes various advertising and marketing gigs and has taken him from St. Louis, MO to Boulder, CO to Atlanta, GA before making the move “up north.” He now resides in Traverse City where he is proud to call Pure Michigan “home.” Check out Shanty Creek’s Facebook and Instagram for fun updates and great pictures!

17 Ways To Use The Year’s First Vacation Days On A Pure Michigan Snow Day

New year, new you, right? Except it still feels the same. More Mondays, more meetings, more gazing out the window thinking, “I wish I was out there skiing right now. Have we even taken the kids sledding this season? Maybe they’ll cancel work tomorrow, like a snow day …”  Ha! Work is never cancelled (ever). 

But, psst! You’ve got vacation time, and you’ve worked hard to earn it! Don’t waste it waiting around.  Get out there and make those memories before the fluffy stuff is gone! Now’s the time to make your own #PureMichiganSnowDay happen when you Go Great Lakes Bay!

You + Yours

Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

“Honey, let’s get away together, just you and me.”

Say these magical words to your significant other, and watch how fast this #PureMichiganSnowDay can snowball! Live it up and cozy up, too – opportunities for snow day smiles and snuggles are just around the corner:

Let Nature Soothe You: The soft crunch of snow underfoot will put you and yours in sync on a free, guided snowshoe hike at Midland’s Chippewa Nature Center.

Feel Exhilarated: Ski or snowboard down the The Ski Slopes At Apple Mountain Resort together in Freeland, and yell it out together: “B’bye work meetings, hello snow day!”  Afterward, cozy up for a cup of hot cocoa and a bite to eat at Kathleen’s Apple Mountain, while you watch other skiiers hit the slopes!

Enjoy the Warmth: Stare into each other’s eyes while wine tasting at Frankenmuth’s St. Julian Winery, share good times during a free tour at Frankenmuth Brewery, or lounge in overstuffed leather chairs and play footsie by the roaring fire at Whine in Midland. You and yours will be rested and ready … for another #PureMichiganSnowDay!

Family Q Time 

Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

“School, work, dinner, baths, bed, repeat. There’s got to be more to family life than this!”

Oh, there’s more-so much more! Break the routine, and declare a #PureMichiganSnowDay! Then grab your phone to forever capture the look on the kids’ faces when you say: We’re going to …

Splash Village! Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark is 50,000 square-feet of “we needed this”! With a six-story, family raft ride and super loop, lazy river, indoor arcade, two spacious hot tubs (and, ahem, memorable Bloody Marys for the oh-so-deserving parents), and much more, the whole family is sure to have the BEST SNOW DAY EVER!

Toboggan together! Sled until little hearts are content at City Forest in Midland, rent a toboggan ($6/hour) for a whole new experience, or maybe even cross-country ski the .6 mile groomed trail. Pack a thermos of hot cocoa, and simply enjoy!

Aftershock! When you go to Midland’s new indoor trampoline extravaganza, please let us know one thing: Who had more fun, the kids or the adults?! (Psst! Aftershock runs daily specials, including Dollar Jump Night on the first Tuesday of each month.)

Go mini-golfing! The Family Fun Center at Bavarian Inn Lodge has an indoor, 18-hole miniature golf course, four indoor pools, two waterslides, and a 15-foot waterfall to play in! Family fun center, indeed!

See the stars! Winter stargazing sounds cool … like burr! But you can beat the winter chill at Delta College Planetarium and still discover astronomical fun on your snow day! Check out “Led Zeppelin”, January 23 – April 30, for rock sounds and laser lights.

Adventure Bound

Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

“The walls are closing in! Must. Get. Outside.”

Feeling suffocated, adventure enthusiasts? Outdoor-induced adrenaline and blood-pumping experiences await – just take a #PureMichiganSnowDay, and they’re all yours!

Hit The Trails: The rail trails, that is! Plans are in action to eventually connect the Saginaw Valley Rail Trail, Midland County Pere Marquette Rail Trail and Bay County Riverwalk and Rail Trail into The Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail, but each are currently multi-use meccas for walking, running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even fat tire biking! (Want to know more about fat tire winter biking? Go to the gurus at Jack’s Bicycle Shop in Bay City, and ask about their guided bike tours!)

Drop a Line: In the Saginaw Bay, of course! Local ice fisherman know that our freshwaters are full of hot spots for good eats of the walleye, perch, bass and catfish-kind! (Need gear? Little Forks Outfitters in Midland; staff might even have hints about lucky spots …) Before you get here, brush up on our recent Saginaw Bay Icefishing post from local guest blogger Tom Bennett for even more insider tips on uncovering those high-yield icefishing honeyholes.

Shred it Up: Strap on a set of skis or a snowboard, and hit The Ski Slopes at Apple Mountain! Check for their Cool Deals before you go!

Now that you’re well-versed in all the ways to sled, ski, snowshoe (and, yes, even swim!) your way past the winter blues with the perfect Pure Michigan Snow Day, be sure to share your adventures out into the fluffy white beyond using #PureMichiganSnowDay and #GoGreatLakesBay on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!  You can even enter Pure Michigan’s Show Us Your Snow Day Dance contest on Instagram using #MISnowDayDance!

Guest Blogger - Wainwright O'Deay

Guest Blogger: Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Jen is a freelance writer in Bridgeport, Mich. She specializes in creating effective connection through marketing communications copy, feature articles and content/blog posts. You can find her camping with her family or reading Thoreau.

What Makes Michigan Winter Great – 2 Meteorologists Chime In

During winter in Michigan, nearly anything is possible. From dense blankets of snow to unseasonably warm temperatures, Michiganders and seasonal visitors alike have seen it all. And while many prefer warmer weather, two Michigan meteorologists share what makes the winter season special, and why they love forecasting in the Great Lakes state.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)tbulman01

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)tbulman01

Karroll Bohnak – WLUC-TV

Growing up as a snow fanatic in Milwaukee, one of my favorite winter activities was to watch the snowstorms come during the peak of winter.

This love affair with snow brought many bitter disappointments however because most of winter storms dump the heaviest snow northwest of Milwaukee.  In fact, in my youth, one of the biggest snowstorms in history buried Chicago, 90 miles to the south!

To remedy this lack of consistent blizzards, I took my first broadcasting job in northern New England where I was able to experience plenty of snow.  However, I missed the Midwest.  I went back home and worked at various radio stations and finally attended the University of Wisconsin to study meteorology before eventually landing a job at a local TV station in Milwaukee.  The problem was the snow situation still frustrated me because the snowstorms continued to regularly pass to the north.

I eventually came up with the ultimate solution—move north to the beautiful Upper Peninsula. It has the forests and rugged country that I yearned for and a substantial shoreline along the one of the largest inland lakes in the world — Lake Superior.  Plus where I live, there is usually plenty of snow.

Since 1988, I have been able to call Marquette home and tracked nearly every wave of weather imaginable. I’ve experienced some amazing winters, beautiful summers and a place that is rich in history.  Another bonus is  it’s inhabited by some of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet.

Photo Courtesy of Andy Peninger

Photo Courtesy of Andy Peninger

Chris Easlick – WNEM-TV

Since February of 1992, I’ve called Michigan home.

As a state with four legitimate seasons, you get to experience the special characteristics that make up the year. The sounds of spring with the return of the American robin are refreshing, the colors of fall are breathtaking and the summers on the Great Lakes and many inland lakes could not possibly be duplicated.

But the winter in Michigan is a different world within itself.

The Great Lakes are the ultimate meteorological forecasting challenge, especially during the winter months. Growing up in West Michigan, I witnessed the aura of lake-effect snow firsthand. Westerly winds blowing across the big body of water that is Lake Michigan can sometimes dump feet of snow on the state’s west side when initial forecasts appeared to calling for 6 inches.

As a kid, this meant school closings, the best possible news you could receive at 5 a.m. And despite the challenges that come with a significant snowfall, such as shoveling your driveway, the activities that come with it are well worth the trouble.

The trees after a coating of fresh snow are a sight that is truly gorgeous. The ground first thing in the morning is also untouched and looks perfect. But those are just the first sights before a day of fun.

In the winter, a heavy snowfall means it’s a great weekend to gas up the snowmobile, or a great day to witness the power of the Great Lakes as the strong winds known as the Witch of November create stunning wave shows along the coasts.

Although the stories can be intimidating, the great state of Michigan is a true wonderland during the winter months. Dress warmly and get prepared for an unforgettable experience – wintertime in Pure Michigan.

What do you love most about winter in Michigan? Share with us below!

Bohnak_Karl010 (2)Karroll Bohnak has been the main man in the WLUC-TV6 Marquette Weather Center since 1988.  His interests led him to a career in broadcasting and later to his passion, weather.  To that end he studied meteorology at the University of Wisconsin while he worked as a weekend meteorologist at a local affiliate in Madison beginning in 1983.  An interest in history spurred him on to write a book about weather and history of the Upper Peninsula.  The book, “So Cold a Sky, Upper Michigan Weather Stories” was awarded a Michigan Notable Books designation in 2007.


Chris EaslickChris Easlick is a meteorologist on WNEM-TV’s First Warn 5 weather team in Saginaw. He is a lifetime Michigander, born and raised in Battle Creek. Chris obtained his bachelor’s degree in meteorology from Central Michigan University. At his current position, Chris is faced with new forecasting challenges and impacts of Lake Huron. Accepting this challenge, he is driven to provide the most accurate and helpful forecasts to the residents and tourists who tune in. Whether it’s ice fishing on Houghton Lake, a child wanting to go sledding in Caro, or a tourist checking out the Tawas Point Lighthouse, Chris wants to spread the joy of Pure Michigan. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.