Hit the Michigan Slopes this Spring Break

 

Photo courtesy of Crystal Mountain Resort

With most school spring breaks coming early this year, the recent cool temperatures and lake-effect snowfall, it turns out that Michigan is the ideal place for a spring break ski vacation.

Mickey MacWillliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, fills us in on spring skiing in Pure Michigan.

Mother Nature was a little late this winter, but once she provided us with cold weather and snow, she just didn’t stop!  What makes this ideal is that spring break for most schools is early this year and that means families can take advantage of unprecedented snow conditions right now, right here in Michigan.

Plus, to entice folks to ski instead of fleeing to warmer climates, our ski areas are offering great discounts and special events.  I encourage skiers to check MSIA’s website at goskimichigan.com and click on the “News, Events, Specials & Discounts” button, which is updated almost daily. Here is a link to that page.   

Many Michigan ski areas are still open, but it’s always best to check before heading out to be sure. The following ski areas are either open now, or will be open on the weekends:

Upper Peninsula

  • Big Powderhorn, Bessemer
  • Blackjack, Bessemer
  • Indianhead Mountain, Wakefield
  • Marquette Mountain, Marquette
  • Mont Ripley, Houghton
  • Mt. Bohemia, Lac La Belle
  • Pine Mountain, Iron Mountain
  • Porcupine Mountain, Ontonagon
  • Ski Brule, Iron River

Lower Peninsula

  • Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs (possibly April 6-7)
  • Boyne Mountain, Boyne Falls
  • Caberfae Peaks, Cadillac
  • Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville
  • Cross-Country Ski Headquarters, Roscommon
  • Nubs Nob, Harbor Springs
  • Pando Winter Sports Park, Rockford
  • Pine Knob, Clarkston
  • Shanty Creek, Bellaire

Will you be hitting the slopes this spring?

Mickey MacWillliams is the executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association. To learn more about skiing in Michigan, visit goskimichigan.com or michigan.org.

Shape Up This Winter in Michigan

Winter is well under way in Pure Michigan, but that’s no excuse to stay inside and let your fitness regimen fall to the wayside. In winter there are plenty of ways to get in a good workout while enjoying the great outdoors. We’ve rounded up some fun ways to work on your fitness this winter. So bundle up and get outside!


Ice Skating

Ice skating is a great workout and can be fun for the whole family. While skating can also be done indoors at the many local skating arenas throughout Michigan, in the winter many cities and parks feature outdoor rinks like Campus Martius in Detroit, Millenium Park in Portage and  City Forest in Midland.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding in Michigan offers excitement at any level of skill. With a combined total of 51 ski areas, boasting over 260 lifts and about 1,000 runs, the silvery slopes of Michigan offer the best Alpine skiing in the Midwest. Whether you want to hit some jumps, make fresh tracks or just take a lesson you can find it all in Michigan at resorts like Alpine Valley, Shanty Creek and Marquette Mountain.

Cross Country Skiing

If downhill skiing isn’t your thing and you’re looking for something more tranquil, Michigan is home to over 3,000 miles of cross country ski trails. Distance yourself from the noisy crowds while working on your fitness and enjoy the quiet beauty of a glistening white winter cross country skiing in Michigan.

Sledding

The terrain and amount of snow in Michigan makes it a great place to go sledding! In addition to traditional backyard sledding there are also places like Fitzgerald Park, William Burchfield Park and Rolling Hills County Park that claim to be some of the best sledding spots around.

Hiking

It may take a few extra layers then in Michigan’s other seasons, but hiking in the winter is a great way to take in the sights and be active. Michigan has the largest state park and state forest system of any state and offers hundreds of great hiking trails to explore and enjoy. Among the popular hiking spots in Michigan is The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire.

This is just a summary of some of the activities that can be done in Michigan this winter. For more, take a look at the Pure Michigan Winter Video Series or visit michigan.org.

How do you stay in shape during winter months?

Cross Country Skiing in Pure Michigan

The start of a new year means new goals and for many of us, getting in shape is on the list.

A Michigan winter provides the perfect terrain and scenery to get in shape outdoors while enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. One activity that is great for families, beginners and experienced athletes alike is cross country skiing. You can burn up to 500 calories per hour while enjoying the peaceful Michigan winter landscape far away from the crowds at the gym.

Michigan cross country skiing trails stretch over 3,000 miles and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources grooms various state forest pathways to provide trails across the northern Lower and Upper Peninsulas. It is also a great way to observe wildlife – from tracks in the snow to seeing birds and animals up close, it’s an experience that you can only get outdoors.

With cross country skiing being one of the many activities featured in A Pure Michigan Winter, we compiled a list of just a few trails to check out this winter. For a complete list of cross country skiing trails in Michigan, visit Cross Country Ski Trails in Michigan State Parks and Recreation Areas.

Cadillac Pathway has 11.3 miles of groomed trail with varying terrain that allow users to determine the length of trail and degree of difficulty they desire. Trailhead parking lots are located five miles northeast of Cadillac on 13th Street and on Seeley Road, north of Boon Road.

Bring your skis, snowshoes or just your hiking boots to Van Riper State Park for enchanted evenings of fun in the snow from 6-9 p.m. on Saturdays, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16. Experience the beautiful lit trail at Van Riper with your family and friends or make it a romantic date night.  The trail will be lit from 6-9 p.m. For details, call the park, 906-339-4461. The park is located at 851 County Road AKE in Champion, Mich. 49814 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Enjoy an evening ski or snowshoe along a lantern-lit trail through the snow covered forests of the Upper Falls at Tahquamenon State Park during one of their Lantern-Lit Cross-country ski and strolls. Events take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Warm up by the bonfire with refreshments along the 1-mile loop. A limited number of snowshoes are available to borrow at no charge. Participants must provide their own cross country ski equipment. A headlamp is recommended during overcast evenings. Meet at the Upper Falls Fact Shack.  The park is located at 41382 W. M 123 in Paradise, Mich., 49768 in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. For details, call 906-492-3415.

Pine Baron Pathway, southwest of Gaylord, provides beginners and intermediate skiers with nearly 9 miles of well-groomed trail that meanders through beautiful woods. The trailhead parking lot is located on Lone Pine Road. Three of the four loops are fairly level, and the remaining loop has several good downhill runs that will interest the intermediate skier.

Join other cross-country skiers for a magical winter evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 when the snow-covered forest at  Hartwick Pines State Park is warmed by the glow of lantern light. Skiers can traverse the 1.25-mile, groomed cross-country trail, guided by more than 75 lanterns along the way. Meet at the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum. It is recommended that skiers be of intermediate skill to participate in this event.

Wildwood Hills Pathway, a three-looped trail covering approximately 9 miles of beautiful rolling hills in Indian River near Petoskey, offers a more challenging course for the intermediate skier.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, located on the south shore of Lake Superior near Silver City in Ontonagon County, is offering cross-country skiing and snowshoeing by lantern light in late December, and on Saturday evenings in January and February. Nearly 80 old-fashioned kerosene lanterns will illuminate a 1-mile trail for a unique and memorable experience. Stop halfway around the loop at the warming shelter and join the park naturalist for a campfire and refreshments.

Blueberry Ridge, just south of Marquette, has the bumps for advanced skiers, the flats for beginners and is very well maintained. There are 12 miles of groomed trails. The three north loops have side-by-side diagonal-groomed tracks so people can ski next to each other. The 1.7-mile lighted central loop is groomed for both diagonal-stride and ski-skating, as are the south two loops.

Algonquin Pathway, located south of Sault Ste Marie on 16th Avenue West. This pathway has 15 km (9 miles) of groomed trail that is laid out in three loops. The 1.6 mile lighted trail is the first loop off the trailhead parking lot. This pathway straddles old beach ridges and passes through mixed-age aspen intermixed with pine and hardwood.

Learn more in Cross Country Skiing | A Pure Michigan winter, from the Pure Michigan winter video series.


Do you have a favorite cross country skiing trail in Michigan? Share with us below!