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!

Michigan Ski Resorts Get Ready for Winter

Michigan’s beautiful winter weather provides premium opportunities for winter sports fans to enjoy the season. Skiers and snowboarders can look forward to an exciting winter with many places to enjoy Michigan’s snow-filled slopes and trails. With 51 ski areas, more than 260 lifts, nearly 1,000 runs, more than 50 terrain parks and hundreds of kilometers of groomed cross-country trails, everyone can find the perfect place to enjoy some Pure Michigan snow.

Michigan’s ski resorts are constantly working to improve and grow to ensure skiers and snowboarders are having the best experience. This includes things like a new tow rope at Mt. Holiday in Traverse City, a larger ski shop at Mont Ripley in Houghton and new snow technology and special events at resorts across the state.

The following is a rundown of other improvements and special offers for the 2012-2013 season:

Upper Peninsula

Big Powderhorn, Bessemer, Mich.
Big Powderhorn is celebrating the first full winter season for the new Gun Barrel Lodge, which has received high praise for its convenient and modern design features. 1-800-501-SNOW (7669)

Blackjack Resort, Bessemer, Mich.
At Blackjack Resort, there are continued improvements in snowmaking as well as added glade skiing (runs cut through the trees).  906-229-5115     

Pine Mountain, Iron Mountain, Mich.
Pine Mountain will partner with the Kiwanis Ski Club to host the Pine Mountain Ski Jump Weekend.  The top jumpers in the world will be participating in this event.  906-774-2747

Mount Bohemia, Keweenaw Peninsula, Mich.
This season brings the addition of new runs and a new snocat skiing area.   231-420-5405

Marquette Mountain, Marquette, Mich.
Nine new gladed runs were marked for this year and snowmaking capacity has been increased with the purchase of additional snowmaking guns. In addition, Marquette Mountain is adding more weekday hours by opening at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. 906-225-1155

Lower Peninsula

Nub’s Nob Ski Area, Harbor Springs, Mich.
Nub’s Nob has added six guns to the Easy Mile Slope bringing the total snowgun arsenal to 282. They increased snowmaking capacity and made some significant changes in distribution infrastructure with the addition of six guns to the Easy Mile Slope, bringing their total snowgun arsenal to 282.  New grooming machines were also purchased.  Families will be excited about the addition of a “just for kids” trail on the Nub’s Nob South. Additional night lighting was added to sections of Nub’s South and Dorie’s Bowl.   231-526-2131 or 1-800-SKI-NUBS

Boyne Highlands, Harbor Springs, Mich.
Boyne Highlands is featuring a new spa facility available to guests this winter, in addition to upgrades at the Main Lodge.  Snowmaking capacity has been increased with the addition of 40 fan guns and the resort has added electronic live-time signage at the base of the slopes providing easy access to the open/close status of trails and chairlifts.  Boyne Highlands has partnered with Burton Snowboards to develop Riglet Park for the 2012-2013 season.  Riglet Parks offer on-snow play areas with fun terrain and features designed to introduce children ages 3 to 6 to snowboarding.  1-800-GO-BOYNE

Boyne Mountain, Boyne Falls, Mich.
Snowmaking efficiency and capacity has been upgraded with the installation of an additional 1,000 gallons-per-minute water pump and ten fan guns.  New live-time signage provides immediate access to the open/close status of trails and chairlifts, and Boyne Mountain’s beginner chairlift, Boyneland, will see increased up-hill capacity this season with the addition of 13 triple chairs on the lift.   Boyne Mountain is also introducing a Riglet Park this winter and opening a Burton-exclusive store at the resort.  Boyne Mountain’s tubing park is being expanded and the resort is introducing winter fly fishing trips. 1-800-GO-BOYNE

Shanty Creek Resorts, Bellaire, Mich.,
In partnership with Monster Energy, major renovations and expansion of terrain parks have been completed.  The ski area is retiring its half pipe and in its place adding Big Air ramps and landings to Elf Shelf.  In addition, they are adding a beginner’s terrain park called “Low Rider.” Like many other ski areas, Shanty Creek has made improvements to its snowmaking equipment by adding ten new snow guns.  For the cross-country skier, Shanty Creek is doubling the lighting on Moonlite Run.  For additional diverse winter activity, they have expanded the tubing park and snowmobile rentals are returning this winter.  1-800-678-4111

Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville, Mich.
Crystal Mountain is adding snow bikes this winter for northern Michigan’s only dedicated snow bike trail system.  The resort has also added to their snowmaking capacity this year with new water pipes and more snow guns.  More than half of the Wintergreen condominiums units have been upgraded with new kitchens and bathrooms. 1-800-968-7686 or 231-378-2000

Caberfae Peaks, Cadillac, Mich.
Thirty-two additional energy-efficient snowmaking fan guns, along with the expansion of the snowmaking reservoir, several snowmaking pipe installations and various electrical upgrades all add up to a major increase in snow making ability. A new Bombardier Snow Groomer will assist with keeping all that snow groomed for skiing.  231-862-3000

Cross Country Ski Headquarters, Roscommon, Mich.
The resort has extended the Rolling Hills Trail and installed a big outdoor bonfire pit on the sun deck of the Stone Turtle Day Lodge.  Every full moon during the ski season (snow permitting) Cross Country Ski Headquarters will light the Trapper’s Cabin ski trail with torches, creating a truly unique and memorable nighttime experience.  989-821-6661

Snow Snake Ski & Golf, Harrison, Mich.
The beginner terrain park, introduced mid-season last year, is now a permanent fixture, in addition to the main terrain park.  The Zip Line, which will be open this winter, received new, upgraded landings. 989-539-6583

Mt. Holly, Holly, Mich.
The snowmaking system was expanded by adding a pump and piping which will increase water output by approximately 20 percent.  More water means more snow when temperatures dip below 28 degrees this winter. 248-634-8269

Learn more about skiing in Michigan in the video below, from the Pure Michigan winter video series:

For more on skiing and snowboarding across Michigan, visit michigan.org.

Where in Michigan will you be hitting the slopes this winter? Share with us below!

A Pure Michigan Winter

The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting that Michigan will be a snowy, winter wonderland this year, and we can’t wait to show everyone how much fun a Pure Michigan winter is. Michigan is home to more than 4,000 miles of snowmobile trails, 3,000 miles of cross country ski trails, beautiful terrain for snowshoeing and much more.  We are the birthplace of snowboarding and organized skiing, ranking second in the nation for number of ski areas. 

Today, we launched the Pure Michigan winter video series to showcase the variety of attractions and activities that make the winter months a great time to visit. From sweeping views of Michigan’s sparkling winter landscape to extreme sports in motion, the series will feature a total of 13 videos released over the course of the next two months.

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a thrill seeker, looking for a family getaway or anywhere in between, check out the adventures a Michigan winter has to offer in our new Michigan winter adventure video series.

To help kick off our series, we asked Dave Lorenz, Manager of Public and Industry Relations for Travel Michigan and our go-to guy for Michigan destinations, to explain what he loves about the winter months in our state.

One of the great things about Michigan, as a travel destination and as a place to live, is that we get to enjoy four very distinctly different seasons. Sometimes it seems, all on the same day. Most people think of Michigan as the place to experience “America’s perfect summer”. For me, the best time to enjoy the splendor of this beautiful place is during the winter months.

When I admit this to others, most people start to cringe just a bit. But, it’s true. I’m that guy who can’t wait to pull out the snow shovel, stack the wood-pile high and unpack the ski gear. For me, winter in Michigan is a magical time, especially if you get out there and enjoy it.  Here’s a short list of some of my favorite winter-time activities. If you haven’t tried them before, give them a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Skiing, downhill and cross country

I was 25 years old when I learned to ski. I had always thought that skiing was for “real athletes” so it was a real surprise to learn that skiing is just controlled falling, so to speak. Friends taught me to ski but if you want expert advice, several of our ski operators throughout the state offer lessons for people of all ages.

Snowmobiling

There are so many fantastic places to snowmobile in Michigan. We have hundreds of miles of groomed trails and several sled rental operators and guides. My favorite experience was when a guide showed me how to cross a section of Lake Superior ice to get to Grand Island, in Munising. I was joined by a travel writer from the south who had never even seen snow before. He later told me it was one of the best experiences of his life.

Ice climbing

The UP is one of the best places in the world to ice climb. It’s the home of Michigan Ice Fest, a national ice climbing festival, and for good reason. There are several waterfalls in the Pictured Rocks region for example that freeze up and build walls of ice that are perfect for climbing. The folks at Downwind Sports in Marquette showed me that climbing ice is like climbing a ladder, although it proved to be about a thousand times more difficult. After you figure out the basic balance issues, most people will love this.

Some of my other favorite winter activities include snowshoeing, dog sledding and hiking our snow covered trails.  But, one of the best things about it all, is that at the end of your winter adventure you can come back to a cozy cottage, world-class resort or great restaurant and take in the beautiful scenery from the indoors.  A Michigan winter truly offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Cross your fingers for plenty of snow and we can’t wait to hear about your Michigan winter adventures.

Check out the kickoff video for the new Michigan winter adventure series below, and let us know what you’re looking forward to this winter in Michigan!

David Lorenz is the Manager of Public and Industry Relations for Travel Michigan. He oversees Travel Michigan’s public relations activities.  He also manages Travel Michigan’s efforts in the areas of international marketing, packaged travel, conventions and meetings, industry relations, golf and sports-event promotion. 

Prior to coming to Travel Michigan in October 2002, Mr. Lorenz was the Manager, Partnerships and Promotions, for Meijer, Inc. where he was responsible for the facilitation of collaborative marketing programs with key consumer goods manufacturers. 

David Lorenz attended Western Michigan University.  He lives in Norton Shores with his wife, Roberta, and son, Tyler.