Zipping Through the Trees in Pure Michigan

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Brian Confer, a contributing photographer for Michigan Travel Ideas, shares his zip lining adventure at Boyne Mountain.

Sometimes it seems like the whole world has turned upside down. On the Zipline Adventure Tour at Boyne Mountain, it really does.

On a wintry blue-sky day, my 13-year-old son, Jackson, and I journey to Boyne Mountain to capture photography of their Zipline Adventure Tour. Jackson zip-lined at camp this past year and assures me it’s exciting, fun and easy to go upside down.

Not for me, I assure him.

Jackson and I have a bit of time before we meet our group, so we don our harnesses and head to the Twin Zip Ride. With the Grand Mountain Lodge as a backdrop, we warm up by descending side-by-side.

Well, I warm up.

Jackson jumps off the platform and immediately flips upside down, descending at a high rate of speed, arms spread wide, laughing. We zip over the fountain, and I’m guided onto the landing platform—upright—and wait for my stomach to catch up.

Once all my parts are reacquainted, we join a group for the nine-line adventure. This group is more my speed—a gaggle of children, ages 6­–12, chaperoned by three dads. Surely there are no daredevil showboaters like my son here.

Ha! First up, a smiling 6-year-old girl dressed in pink. There she goes, upside down over the heads of skiers on the Cold Spring run. Next up, a 7-year-old boy who has our guide turn him upside down before he leaves the launch pad. Older brother, upside down. His friend from down the road, upside down. One father, two fathers, three fathers, all upside down. Obviously, I’m missing out on something that my camera gear regrettably (thankfully) prevents me from trying.

Over the next six lines, our guides demonstrate how to ride in every position imaginable and show us how to do a flip off the platform. Cheers erupt when every participant but me attempts the maneuver. “Too bad you have that camera gear! You should try it,” I hear repeatedly, until, finally on zip line No. 7, I decide they’re right.

I hand my camera gear to our guide and jump from the platform. I swing my legs forward, use the momentum to carry my feet over my head and then lock them around the supporting lanyard. I settle in, spread my arms and over the head of a skier below, the skier looking up at me, following my arc and hearing me laugh the entire way into the landing.


More Winter Zip Lines:

Brian Confer lives in northern Michigan with his wife and two sons. In addition to contributing to Michigan Travel Ideas, he focuses on fine art photography and other freelance work.

Hit the Slopes for Downhill Skiing in Pure Michigan

With winter just beginning it’s time to think about tackling the winter wonderland. Since Michigan has more ski areas than any other state, what better way to enjoy this winter than by gliding down one of Michigan’s 40+ downhill skiing resorts? Here are just some of the resorts that you will find as you explore the Pure Michigan snowscape.

Shanty Creek has earned the respect of downhill skiers, snowboarders and a “Best Downhill Terrain In The Midwest” award. Don’t miss your chance for Michigan skiing with Shanty Creek!

Located in the Upper Peninsula, Mount Bohemia has the longest runs with the highest vertical and deepest powder in the Midwest. This hidden secret is a true treasure for skiers.

Caberfae Peaks in Cadillac boasts Michigan’s highest lift-served peaks and some of the state’s biggest downhill skiing slopes.  Skiers and will enjoy the best advanced, intermediate and novice skiing in Michigan.

Crystal Mountain in the city of Thompsonville provides the best in northern Michigan skiing and snowboarding. Crystal Mountain is known for offering some of the best excitement a northern Michigan skiing resort can provide.

Swiss Valley entices folks with 11 downhill skiing runs, a 225 vertical foot peak (highest in Southwest Michigan) and seven lifts, including two quads and one triple.

Discover a place that’s luxurious yet relaxed, nearby yet far away at the Homestead Resort .  Homestead features snowsports without crowds and magical moments for families, sparkling fires, candlelit dinners as well as romantic interludes for couples.

Boasting more than two dozen runs, Mt.Brighton is the largest ski resort in Southeastern Michigan. After hitting the slopes warm up at the Hot Wax Café or grab a bite at Bauery Bar and Grill.

If you’re just starting out or have been anxious to learn how to ski or snowboard there’s a great program being offered by more than 20 resorts across the state throughout January designed to help beginners. Check out the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association site to learn more. We should also mention that 4th graders ski for free! Fourth graders can obtain a “Cold is Cool” Ski & Ride Passport that gives them up to three free lift tickets or trail passes at 20 participating ski areas. Click here for details.

For your reference, here is a list of the northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula slopes that are open now for skiing:

Northern Michigan:

Upper Peninsula: