Grab Your Imagination and Your Boots for a Snow Day Getaway in Oscoda

Cardboard? Check. Scissors? Check. Creativity? Check. Pack up your snow gear and your imagination. Oscoda’s Snow Box Derby is back for its 25th year! Today, Oscoda Area Convention and Visitors Bureau tells us how to suit up for smooth sledding and a snow day getaway on Michigan’s sunrise side. 

Photo by George Thomas - Lumberman's Monument

Photo by George Thomas – Lumberman’s Monument

Snow Box Derby
Snow Box Derby is an Oscoda area tradition. The unique sled race glides into action February 8, 2015. Participants work to create a race-worthy sled using cardboard, scissors, duct tape and ingenuity. Creativity is encouraged! Many teams even wear costumes. The theme for this year’s race is “25” in honor of the derby’s 25-year celebration. Throughout the day, there will also be free children’s games including frosty bowling, as well as snowball golf for the adults! What type of sled would you build?

Photo via Under the Radar Michigan

Photo via Under the Radar Michigan

Turn your derby day into a Pure Michigan winter weekend. Check out these other snow day activities that the Oscoda area has to offer:

Snowmobiling
Oscoda is the eastern gateway to northern Michigan’s snowmobile trail system. From here you can travel across the state to Traverse City or northward to the Upper Peninsula. In Foote site Village, six and a half miles west of the trailhead, riders will find food, beverages and fuel. There the trail divides and riders have the option of heading north via Rea Road across the AuSable River and connecting with the Alcona County Trail system.

Cross Country Skiing
Whether you’ve been skiing for years or are just now picking up the sport, Oscoda offers trails for skiers of all levels.

Photo courtesy of Oscoda CVB

Photo courtesy of Oscoda CVB

Experienced XC Skiers

Highbanks Cross Country Ski Trail – This is a linear trail, covering 14 miles of scenic AuSable River bluff, running from Iargo Springs on the west past Lumbereman’s Monument to Sid Town. This back-country trail is marked but not groomed, and is suitable for novice to intermediate skiers.

Hoist Lakes Trails – Longer loops and steeper hills offer an exciting challenge in beautiful surroundings. The trailhead is six miles north of Glennie on the west side of M-65 where parking is available.

Photo by Melissa Ghrist

Photo by Melissa Ghrist

Corsair Ski Trails – This trail is nestled in the beautiful Silver Valley area, surrounded by 120,000 acres of Huron National Forest. The Corsair system offers 44 miles of groomed and tracked trail with a variety of terrain, being one of the largest groomed trail networks in Michigan.

Eagle Run – located two miles west of Oscoda on River Road. The trail runs along the banks of the AuSable River in the Huron National Forest, through mixed hardwoods and pines. The trail consists of 11 miles of groomed loops of varying lengths and difficulty. Trails are 13 feet wide and double packed.

Beginning XC Skiers

Sled Hill (Old Orchard Park) – is located eight miles west on River Road. Winter time fun for the whole family. Groomed sled hills.

Reid Lake – offers six miles of gently rolling trails through an area of many ponds where you can easily find evidence of beaver activity. Parking lot is plowed but the trails are not groomed. The parking area and trailhead are located on the south side of M-72 across from Kohler Road. From Oscoda, follow F-41 north to M-72. Turn west and go 12.5 miles.

Will you build a sled made for speed or ski through peaceful surroundings? Whichever you choose, plan your Oscoda area snow day getaway at oscoda.com

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.

Five Thrilling Gifts for the Adventure-Seeking Traveler on Your Shopping List

While many will be shopping for gizmos and gadgets for their loved ones this holiday season, we couldn’t forget about the adventure lovers who are always seeking their next thrill. Luckily, Michigan offers some of the most unique and adrenaline-pumping winter activities around.

This year, give the gift of adventure with these five experiences that are sure to blow the thermal socks off the thrill-seeking traveler on your shopping list.

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Dog Sledding Tours

Dog sledding is a wild winter adventure. The hot breath of the huskie pack fogs the crisp winter air as they pull you with focused determination across the glistening landscape. Imagine you’re racing against another team, over the same frozen terrain that explorers did long ago. So “mush!” and check out these exhilarating tours around the state.

Ice Climbing

Michigan is home to one of the best ice climbing regions in the country. One of winter’s newest silent sports, ice climbing combines challenge and adventure. With ropes and harness, ice climbers ascend stunning natural ice structures. Icefalls, frozen waterfalls, cliffs and rock slabs are all waiting to be conquered. Ice climbing takes you to breathtaking scenery that few people experience.

Ski and Snowboarding Packages

SkiingGet stoked! Michigan ski and snowboarding regions offer adrenaline junkies some of the most exciting, diverse terrains in the Midwest. Michigan is home to more than 40 ski areas and resorts that offer both beginners and experts a thrilling ski or boarding experience. So whether you want to catch some big air or just take a lesson, Pure Michigan is the place to look.

Ice Luge 

Luge

For those who’ve always dreamed of being an Olympian, the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex offers three separate luge tracks designed to introduce beginners to the sport of luge. Shorter in overall length than Olympic-style tracks, the Muskegon track provides an Olympic thrill with the safety of the participant in mind.  The track is designed specifically for general public use and those who never have slid before! Equipment is provided.

Winter Zip Line

Zipline3

If you thought zip lining was only for summer fun, think again. Snow Snake zip line tours consist of ten unique and exciting lines that take you through thick woods and over deep valleys at speeds reaching up to 25 mph. The longest line is more than 800 feet long and the highest is 70 feet high. The entire tour is take you more than 4,000 feet. If you know someone between the ages of 8 and 88 who is adventurous and loves being surrounded by the great outdoors, consider booking a zip line tour.

Want to discover more Pure Michigan winter fun? Head to michigan.org/winter for a complete list of activities you can enjoy this season.