Soft Snow, Long Days and Great Discounts on Michigan’s Slopes

March means the start of warmer weather and longer days in Pure Michigan. It also means prime time for hitting the slopes! To learn about spring skiing in Michigan, we spoke with Mickey MacWillliams, executive director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association.

Q: We understand that there are some great deals for skiing and snowboarding in Michigan during March.  Can you tell us a little about this?

A: Shorter lift lines, low-season rates, carnivals and other fun activities plus some of the best snow conditions await skiers and snowboarders on Michigan ski slopes in March. Many ski areas remain open through the end of March, and some stay open well into April because of deep bases of natural and machine-made snow.  To entice folks to ski instead of fleeing to warmer climates, our ski areas have come up with some pretty creative ways to get us out on the slopes.

Q: Can you give us some examples?

A: Spring carnivals with ski races across man-made ponds, costume contests, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and other events abound. Just about every ski area in the state has some sort of spring carnival with special reduced lift tickets or lodging rates.  I encourage skiers to check MSIA’s website, goskimichigan.com and click on the “News, Events, Specials & Discounts” button, which is updated almost daily.  Here is a link to that page.   A Monster Energy Slush Cup race at Shanty Creek, Sausage Fest at Indianhead Mountain, Huck Finn Snowboard Series at Treetops Resort, Brew-Ski Festival at Boyne Highlands and a treasure hunt, moon bounce and petting zoo at Ski Brule are just a few of the events listed.  Easy links to Michigan ski area websites and snow conditions are also available from that Website.

Q: Besides wacky events and beer, what else does spring skiing offer?

A: Spring is my favorite time of the year to ski.  The days are longer, the sun is high in the sky, the snow is soft and ski areas offer discount rates to get people on the slopes one last time.  Efficient snowmaking has given Michigan ski areas the ability to provide consistently good snow conditions all winter long,. Most ski areas across the state are scheduled to be open for at least a few more weeks.  Those in the northern portion of the Lower Peninsula and those in the Upper Peninsula typically stay open at least into late March.  Although some Michigan ski areas stay open into April, I always advise skiers to check the website for snow conditions at the ski area they plan to visit before heading out. Links to ski conditions across Michigan are available on MSIA’s website, here.

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.

Winter Fitness in Pure Michigan

On our blog today, Ashleigh LoVette from the Michigan Fitness Foundation shares tips on fun ways to stay fit during winter months in Michigan.

After the beauty of autumn fades into the first frost, many Michiganders settle into the season of hibernation: Winter. Although, it may seem dormant, the snowy season welcomes a whole new realm of possibilities to stay active. The only real obstacle to staying fit in the cold is proper clothing and equipment. Additionally, the beautiful state of Michigan provides numerous physical activities to turn even the grayest of days into a winter wonderland.

Frozen Family Fun

Winter is the perfect season to spend quality time with the family. The holidays already bring everyone together and the winter snow can provide physical activities for every budget. Look no further than your own backyard or local park. Going outdoors and enjoying the season can be as easy as sledding or snow tubing. Add some friendly competition to see who can make it both up and down the hill the fastest. Is your nearest park too flat for sledding? Try making a snow fort, snowman, or snow angel. Summer beach toys have multiple uses as molds for snow castles and other creations. Extend your family fun even further with a trip to try one of Michigan’s best sledding spots. These ideas are sure to keep you and your family moving, despite the drop in temperature.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Staying fit in the winter doesn’t always have to be a family affair. Walking can also be modified for the colder weather. This low-impact activity is also great if there’s risk of frostbite (temperatures around -20 degrees F, including any wind chill) or if it’s too icy. Sidewalks and trails aren’t the only places to take a stroll in the snow. Check with your local mall to see if they have a mall walking program. Malls are generally open before stores open and can provide a great way to get in those extra steps. No malls nearby? Ask local schools, community colleges and community centers if they have open hours for walkers.

Head for the Hills

For those who prefer a bit more action, Michigan allows you to experience great skiing and snowboarding without leaving the state. The fitness benefits of these sports include improved balance, flexibility, agility, and leg and core strength. Skiing and snowboarding provide endless fun for individuals of all ages. For information about ski areas in Michigan, visit www.goskimichigan.com.

Don’t let the cold weather keep you inside, when there are so many options in your own backyard. As always, hydration is crucial when exercising. Remember to stay warm by dressing in layers. The layers help to keep heat in and enable you to remove clothing as the workout intensifies. Keep in mind skin is still exposed to the sun’s rays during cold weather and the reflective effect of snow means that wearing sunscreen is still just as important as in the warmer months. So bundle up, embrace the cold and get moving!

Tweetable Facts About Pure Michigan Winters

Winter in Michigan is full of activities and fun. With that in mind, here are 10 quick facts about winter in Michigan that you can share with your friends on Twitter. Simply click on any fact and it will automatically populate on your Twitter status bar. And while we’re talking Twitter, remember to follow Pure Michigan on Twitter as well.

For more information about some of these winter activities, check out these articles on michigan.org:

Fun fact: @PureMichigan is home to 43 downhill ski areas – more than any other Midwest state http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
No matter where you are in @PureMichigan, you are only a two-hour drive from a downhill ski area http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
Fun fact: There are more than 6,200 mi. of maintained, interconnected snowmobile trails in @PureMichigan http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
Like snowmobiling? The Upper Peninsula offers 3,000 miles of groomed trails @PureMichigan http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
The International 500 in Sault Ste. Marie in @PureMichigan is the oldest and fastest snowmobile race in North America http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
Fun fact: @PureMichigan has more than 2,000 miles of dog sledding trails http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
Did you know some areas of the Upper Peninsula can get more than 25 ft. of snow a year? @PureMichigan http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
Peabody Ice Climbing in Fenton in @PureMichigan has ice climbing towers that range from 45 – 75 ft. tall http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
Fun Winter fact: Otsego Ski Club in @PureMichigan serves as an Olympic snowboarding training facility http://bit.ly/xoNZRr
Did you know @PureMichigan has more than 100 miles of snowshoeing trails? http://bit.ly/xoNZRr