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!)

TonyDemin-11168

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!

The Chairlift Awaits – Winter Adventures at Shanty Creek

There’s nothing quite like winter in Pure Michigan. The snow and ice turns the state into a winter wonderland, creating an ideal destination for skiers and snowboarders alike. As we anxiously await another snowfall, guest blogger Chris Hale of Shanty Creek shares some reasons to head north.

Life in Michigan delivers the best of all four seasons—from the blooms of spring to the sandy shores of summer to the brilliant colors of fall and the wonderlands of winter. For travelers and residents alike, embracing winter in Michigan means getting outside and playing in the snow.

At Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire, located in the northwest Lower Peninsula, the snow is plentiful and we love to celebrate winter. Smack dab in the middle of Antrim County, receiving on average the most lake effect snow of all counties in the lower peninsula, Shanty Creek is a winter wonderland with two ski mountains, a six-lane alpine tubing park, terrain parks, dogsledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides, 30km of cross country ski trails, 5km of snow shoe and fat biking trails, and more! Plus four ski-in/ski-out dining options, and hundreds of lodging options.

Family Skiing_

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

This January, Shanty Creek is supporting National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month with a variety of promotions designed for families to hit the slopes affordably. For children, newbie skiers 8 and under who take a lesson from SCR’s Ski School will receive a free season pass valid for the remainder of the 2015-16 season.

Need more reasons to head to Shanty Creek?

Shanty Creek is proud of the ski experience they provide guests.  This season, they’re inviting skiers and riders who have season passes to any other Michigan-based ski area to come TEST RIDE Schuss Mountain for free. That’s right, just present your valid 2015-16 season pass and get a free one day lift ticket.

alpine tubing

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek

The fun doesn’t end there. Shanty Creek has partnered with Domino’s and Pure Michigan to create box-top coupons for discounted lodging, lift tickets and alpine tubing this season. There are always Hooky Specials where guests can get deeply discounted lodging starting at just $69 for Thursday or Sunday nights (to ski the following day when everyone else is at school or work!). And finally, don’t miss Shanty Creek’s Sardine Specials where guests squeeze and stuff as many friends and family into a car and everyone skis or rides for one price—just $59. Sardine Specials happen on the 18th of each month of the ski season: December-March.

Enjoy a Pure Michigan Snow Day this winter and go outside and play.

What are your favorite memories from Shanty Creek?

Chris Hale is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Shanty Creek Resorts. For the latest on Shanty Creek Resorts, including snow conditions, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. For more information, visit the website.

Growing the Golf Game in Michigan

Growing the golf game is a hot topic around the country, and many courses and groups in Michigan are doing their part to introduce the sport in new ways. Today, Janina Parrott Jacobs gives us an inside look at what opportunities are available for getting involved in the golf community.

For more on golfing in Michigan, visit michigan.org or take a look at our video on golf from the Pure Michigan summer video series.

Family golf at Shanty Creek Resort

With over 850 public facilities ready and waiting to serve all golfers regardless of experience, Michigan is in a prime position to show new members of the golf community what the sport has to offer.

Despite gorgeous surroundings, golf can be a difficult sport. That’s why new programs at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire are attracting major attention – especially for beginners and juniors.  How much fun would it be to putt at 8-inch cups, almost double the size of the current 4 and ½ inch hole?  From shorter tees?  The great Jack Nicklaus himself is promoting this type of participation, through recommendations for 12-hole rounds, larger cups, and Tee-It-Forward initiatives. Shanty has created a new set of forward tees ranging from 95-125 yards at its Summit course, which is already attracting entire families.

One of the first resorts in America to adopt such a permanent program, Director of Golf and PGA Professional Brian Kautz noted, “We have four golf courses at our resort, so this was the perfect opportunity to convert one of them to implement this program.”  To encourage more children, women, and families to play there this season, children 17 and under can golf for free on the Summit and Schuss Mountain courses with a paying adult all week. Kids can also play free on the Arnold Palmer designed Legend and Tom Weiskopf’s Cedar River layout on Sundays after 2 p.m. Visit www.shantycreek.com for more details.

Traveling to southwest Michigan, in Centreville, Island Hills has multiple loops of 5, 7, or 12 holes within their traditional 18-hole routing, depending upon the time of day. This stunning course, carved from hills and the peninsulas around Lake Templene, is ideal for golfers who do not have the time, stamina, or money for a full round. Junior programs abound and kids 13 and under play for free with a paying adult. Don’t miss lunch or dinner: the food is superb and goes far beyond normal 19th Hole Grill offerings.

At Treetops Resort, a member of the Gaylord Golf Mecca, the First Annual Women’s Golf Festival runs from August 11-15. Women can create their own free-form daily or multiple day package of lodging, golf, lessons, demos, pro tips, spa treatments, and more….all at discounted rates. Spouses and kids are welcome too. See WGF.treetops.com for details.

Other grow-the-game efforts around the state include Play Golf America’s ‘Get Golf Ready’ clinics which are designed to teach you everything you need to know to step onto a golf course with confidence…all five lessons range from $70-$100. Topics are: Get Rolling, Hit It Close, Swing, Swing, Swing, Driving School, and Ready, Set, Go Golf; many sessions are available through October so it’s not too late to begin. See getgolfready.com for site information.  All equipment is supplied; just bring yourself, friends, or family.

TGA Premier Junior Golf in southeast Michigan is a youth development golf program for PK-8th grade students which takes place primarily at elementary schools and youth centers. TGA’s curriculum was created by golf professionals and education experts to include lesson plans that are fun, safe and educational, utilizing fields, blacktops, gyms and even hallways.

According to Owner and Territory Director Dave Robinson, formerly a 22-year Detroit Free Press editor, “the kids are inspired most by the magic of being on a real golf course during our summer camps. They enjoy learning fundamentals, rules and etiquette in our after-school classes and during the instructional part of camp. But they are truly excited to be on the course.”  By partnering with Michigan golf facilities, TGA then gets the whole family involved through mom classes and parent/child events using the following components:

  • Golf instruction that is age-appropriate, effective and retainable
  • Character development lessons through our initiative “Play the Fair Way with TGA”
  • Physical education and fitness
  • Rules & Etiquette lessons utilizing our custom 2 Hole Teaching Aid
  • Academic lessons in math, science, history and English

Now at 75 locations with fall, winter and spring classes, summer camps are conducted at eight courses including Salem Hills, Heather Highlands, Downing FarmsSycamore Hills, and Glen Oaks. More local information is available at playtga.com.  Franchises throughout the state are also open for development. The program’s national link is www.golftga.com.

The Michigan Golf Course Owners Association is committed to maintaining great golf courses but its members are also consistently improving opportunities for play.  The Golden Passbook, offers free golf for 2-4 players at 88 top courses in Michigan along with other discounts on lodging and services. Many of these courses are highly rated in Golf Digest, GolfWeek, and Golf Magazine: Yarrow, Marsh Ridge, A Ga Ming, Michaywe, Manistee National, Black Forest, Island Hills, Grande Golf Club, Fox Hills, the Grand Hotel, Shanty Creek, Treetops, Hidden River Golf and Casting Club, Westwynd, Buck’s Run, Boyne, Gull Lake View, Red Hawk, The Fortress, St. Ives, McGuire’s, and more.  With another three good months of golf left, buy the Passbook now for $300 (regular price $550).  Go to mgcoa.org or call Executive Director Kate Moore at 800-860-8575.

Will you be taking advantage of one (or more) of these Michigan golf opportunities? Share with us below!

Janina Parrott Jacobs is a lifelong Michigan resident but her passion as a multi-media golf and business specialist and international golf and travel writer takes her all over the world.  Her website, www.janinajacobs.com, features many other entrepreneurial adventures as a motivational speaker, professional musician and performer, owning Capers Steakhouse in Detroit, and volunteer efforts with the U.S. Navy where she advocates for and mentors young people concerning health, nutrition, and fitness issues. Contact Janina at Jjacobs2456@gmail.com.