Five Reasons to Bundle Up for a Round of Golf on Top of Frozen Lake Huron

Grab your flannel, fleece and golf clubs… Yes, you read it right! You don’t have to leave the Midwest this winter to enjoy a mind-blowing round of golf. St. Ignace Visitors Bureau shares five reasons you can’t miss the one-of-a-kind U.P. Ice Golf Scramble.

Photo Courtesy of The St. Ignace News

Dying to get back on the links for a round of golf? Want to keep your swing in shape but don’t have the budget to search for warm weather? The U.P. Ice Golf Scramble, Feb. 27-28, will reunite you with your favorite pastime – complete with five St. Ignace twists.

1. The Next Best Thing to Fireflies
Remember the fun of chasing fireflies on a summer night? Combine that memory teeing off after sunset and you’ve got the Glow Ball Challenge. Participants will spend Friday evening trying to land their glow-in-the-dark ball closest to the pin for special bragging rights and the chance to win an exclusive tour of the Mackinac Bridge towers. They’ll also enjoy beer tasting and live music. Definitely more fun than fireflies.

2. Our Greens are White
Forget about those pesky sand traps. Let St. Ignace introduce you to a new course and a new twist on your favorite pastime. Anyone can say they shot the back nine, but how many of your friends can say they played on 12 plus inches of Great Lakes ice?

Ice Golf Scramble 13. A Fun and Level Playing Field
Literally and figuratively – this outing offers a level playing field. Literally – because the lake surface is as level as Mother Nature can make it. Figuratively, because we’ve constructed an event that places the emphasis on fun. Saturday’s outing is a two-person, best-ball scramble, which is our way of saying that even if you’ve never golfed in your life, partner up and take a swing at a winter adventure. No handicaps. No pros. Just fun.

Ice Golf Scramble 4. Go to the Extreme
Golf is traditionally a quiet, relaxed sport. But in this age of amped-up activities, bucket lists, and thrill-seeking, what could be more extreme than playing through atop 20 fathoms of icy cold waters? St. Ignace has a long history of using the frozen Great Lakes as a playground – from snowmobiling to pond hockey championships – but if you haven’t golfed Huron, you haven’t taken full advantage of the state’s winter wonderland,

5. Fashion turns to Flannel and Fleece
Ice golfers can forget about the preppy polo shirt or the golf knickers. Pack your thermal underwear, your fleece and anything else that can provide layers of warmth. Make sure you have a touk (a knitted winter hat) or a Stormy Kromer (a stylish wool cap made in the Upper Peninsula) and remember your sun glasses because St. Ignace is known for beautiful winter sunshine!

What could be more thrilling! Are you brave enough to golf on a frozen Great Lake? Learn more and register for the U.P. Ice Golf Scramble at www.stignace.com or call (800) 338-6660.

A Distinguishing Winter Ritual – Celebrating 25 Years of Marquette’s UP 200 Sled Dog Race

The UP 200 is one of America’s premier 12-dog, mid-distance sled dog races. Mushers say this is one of their favorite races, not only because of the challenging race, but because of the cheering crowds and warm welcome they receive in the Upper Peninsula.

up200finishHappening February 12th-15th, The UP 200 trail covers 240 miles of challenging terrain through the areas of Marquette, Grand Marais, Wetmore, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and finishes at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette. Today, Barry Winslow from Travel Marquette tells us how you can make the UP 200 a winter ritual of your own.

Crowds gather along the race track which is comprised of the pure snow hauled into Marquette’s downtown streets. Spectators clutch Irish coffee and hot cocoa. Voices and laughter mingle with the excited yipping of the dogs. It’s time for the race to begin. It’s time for the UP 200.

For twenty-five years, mushers and their teams have endured the UP 200 and its scenic trail that runs along the frozen shore of Lake Superior, from Marquette to Grand Marais and back. For the mushers, it’s a chance to test their dogs in the Iditarod qualifying race. For the spectators, it’s a time to enjoy the wintry weather and local culture of this Upper Peninsula city.

A Communal Gathering
For the spectator, the UP 200 is more than an incredible and unique sporting event to watch from a distance. The event is a social catalyst that sparks the forging of a special relationship between the area and its people. Winter is a season that Marquetter’s take very seriously, and the apex of that seasonal appreciation is achieved at the UP 200 every February. This special relationship between the area and its people is replicated by that of the mushers and their relationship with their sled dogs. It is this outstanding appreciation for nature and a tightly-knitted community that makes Marquette County the perfect location for the UP 200.

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Pristine Cuisine!
From Das Steinhaus to Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery to the Wild Rover, race fans eat their fill and get their thrills as they watch the teams of dogs both start and finish the UP 200 from the packed sidewalks and downtown storefronts in Marquette. Marquette, the largest city in both Marquette County and the Upper Peninsula, is home to some of the most delicious local restaurant options in the state of Michigan. A wide array of cuisine choices include authentic German food, delicious Cajun dishes, home-cooked Irish plates, delectable Italian pasta’s, slow-cooked barbecue, fine American dining and so much more.

Marquette takes great pride in their local restaurants, which stems as a direct result of its people, the “small-city” size of Marquette, and the passion for the area that its residents and visitors have. But, with great food there must be great beverages to go along. Marquette County is home to some of the greatest beer in not only the state of Michigan, but all of the country.

Peruse Some Brews!
The UP 200 draws a generous crowd to the five microbreweries in Marquette County. One of the favorites has to be the Ore Dock Brewing Company. Built in an old brick building in downtown Marquette that once functioned as a car garage and dealership, the Ore Dock has re-stylized itself as one of the trendiest venues in the state to grab a beer and dance to some live music. Specializing in Belgians, Saisons and Ales, the Ore Dock delivers a delicious beer menu to go along with the friendly atmosphere.

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Photo courtesy of Travel Marquette

Another UP 200 spectator favorite is Blackrocks Brewery. Located just up the hill from downtown on north Third Street, Blackrocks started up their microbrewery operation in an old two story house in 2010. What started as an “open ‘til empty” policy with their original brewing equipment and smaller capacity is now a full-fledged brewing business with a weekly rotating menu and additional canning facility. Stop in and grab a mug of the good stuff. You never know what’s going to be on tap!

There’s even more beer in the area. The Vierling serves up some delicious varieties from their downtown Marquette location and has been doing so since 1995, making them one of Michigan’s first brew pubs. Ask for their “blueberry beer” and you’ll be in for a treat! Even in the small suburb of Harvey, Chocolay River Brewery recently hit the scene and doubles with the Bayou Restaurant to deliver excellent food and beer at even better prices.

A Progressive Northern City
Beyond the downtown nightlife, breweries, local restaurants, storefronts and boutiques, there is something even more special about Marquette. The shining gem of this incredible place is the comforting aura it gives off and the unwavering attitude of its people. It is a passion for place that drives the people of Marquette County to host such incredible events as the UP 200.

Do yourself a favor and make the trip north to Marquette County this winter. The sled dogs and mushers are ready…are you?

This Musical Journey Through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Will Leave You Mesmerized, Guaranteed!

Do you have five minutes? Trust us. You’ll be blown away by this new music video produced by Marquette, Michigan based visual artist Shawn Malone. 

“As the World Falls Away” is set to the new music of North American Ambient Electronic recording artist David Helpling, and features captivating scenes of Michigan landscape and night sky, interwoven with NASA ISS flyover scenes, courtesy the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center.

This wonderful juxtaposition of spectacular scenes from Earth and Space take the viewer on an immersive audio and visual journey from the edge of the Earth to the depths of the sea and leaving the viewer completely mesmerized.

Check out the video filmed entirely in Michigan. Then, see where it all took place with Shawn’s notes on the video and scene-by-scene breakdown below!

As The World Falls Away – David Helpling from LakeSuperiorPhoto on Vimeo.

Notes on video from visual artist Shawn Malone:

Living on the south shore of Lake Superior, summer is very special as both sunrise and sunset occur right over the lake. With this past harsh winter, the cold water of the lake produced surreal opportunities with fog, one of those scenes with the massive fog bank completely blotting out the sunset made the cut.

Upper Michigan has amazing dark skies, and is a high enough latitude to catch the aurora every now and then. Simply living here provides endless inspiration for the the subject matter of my art, beautiful country. As a matter of fact, about 15 years ago, with no jobs lined up we made the move from a very urban metropolitan area and chose to live in the Upper Peninsula, in awe of the beauty and solitude of the Lake Superior region.

My video approach actually starts with the music, something that is inspiring and will fit with whatever content I am producing. I then work to tie similar visual elements found in completely different scenes together through sequence order and sometimes the use of color while creating a visual flow that reflects what is happening in the music at the time, with a final result having emotion and impact. I first learned of David Helpling’s music when working on “North Country Dreamland,” another time-lapse video that exclusively features the night sky of Upper Michigan. I had approached the team of David Helpling and Jon Jenkins and asked if they would agree to let me use a gorgeous track from their trilogy, and they agreed. That video went on to win a Smithsonian video award in 2013 and now has over 250k views on Vimeo.

Scene Sequence:

- Morning dew on beach grass, Lake Superior, Marquette
- Lake Superior summer sunsets from the south shore of Lake Superior, Marquette
- Crescent moon rises through pastel colored sky and smoky waves from western forest fires
- Multicolored storm cloud sequences(one pink, one with golden mammatus clouds from the same storm)
- Sunsets from the south shore of Lake Superior
- Marquette
- Grand Island blue ice curtains, filmed under a bright moon while frozen Lake Superior creaked and rumbled under foot

Photo courtesy of Lake Superior Photo

Photo courtesy of Lake Superior Photo

International Space Station fly over scenes:
- Milky Way and red aurora
- Full moon setting behind earth
- A large bright comet rising
- From North to South America in 15 seconds
- Intense isolated lightning storm over Lake Superior Marquette
- Aurora Borealis over Lake Superior Marquette
- Aurora substorm reflecting in Tobin Harbor, Isle Royale, late September 2014
- Winter aurora over frozen Lake Superior with green, red, purple curtains, bright moon illuminating the snow
- ISS fly over of auroras with similar colors as seen from space
- Grand Island shipwreck of 1870, the Bermuda- rays of light shining down on the wreck

- The great auroras from Oct 2011, photographed in Marquette, this scene constructed from a few random stills in the sequence they were photographed, sequence showing light of the aurora forming what look to be angels descending and ascending
- One of those rare sunsets after an intense thunderstorm, lighting still going off behind me, rainbows to my right, and this massively epic sunset to the left. Pink cloud scene immediately following is from same storm
- Subtle auroras over ice mounds of Lake Superior showing how versatile in color the aurora can be, this time magenta and yellowish green hues
- Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse with it’s lantern room pointing directly to Polaris the north star, as the constellations rotate around it- lighthouse illuminated from the light of Munising (it was a very dark moonless night)
- The Milky Way sweeping over the foundation of the company store, Fayette ghost town
- Milky Way reflecting off an inland lake in the central Upper Peninsula
- Very strong fog bank sweeping in off Lake Superior completely blocking out the sunset as it passed
- All sky view of the most colorful aurora I’ve ever seen, as viewed from the south shore of Lake Superior,  with a red arc ending the video straight through the center of the frame

What did you think of the video? 

David Helpling is on the Spotted Peccary label and his music is available on CD and available for download. Follow David Helpling on Facebook.

Shawn Malone is a visual artist based in Marquette, Michigan a and runs a photography gallery at 211 S. Front St. in downtown Marquette of her landscape photography work. Her art is available for purchase and can be contacted there also for time-lapse/video projects. Follow LakeSuperiorPhoto on Facebook.