An Inside Look at Cold Rolled: Amazing Video on Snow Biking in the UP

Today, featured blogger Jesse Land of Things to Do in the U.P. shares his interview with filmmaker Aaron Peterson on snow biking in Michigan and his new film Cold Rolled.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Peterson

A new film by Michigan filmmakers shows that Marquette, Michigan is breaking ground in the sport of snow biking, with veteran snow bikers leading the way. With a custom made trail groomer and a dedicated snow bike trail (simply dubbed the “SBR” for snow bike route), there’s yet another reason to visit Marquette in the winter. I caught up with filmmaker Aaron Peterson this week for a quick Q &A about the film, Marquette and snow biking in general.

The film is being released in five parts, and you’ll find the first two parts below the interview.

How did this film come about? What were some of the challenges you ran into while making it? Did you run into any pleasant surprises?

I wanted to showcase the unique winter riding opportunities available in Marquette. We started out with the idea to make a short action video for the web, but then found a deeper story about a strong culture of winter cycling in Marquette and decided to expand the project into a film. Some of the challenges were that I’m new to video and filmmaking, this is my first major undertaking. I’ve been shooting video for about a year and just started to learn editing about 10 months ago.

As far as you know, how does the snow bike trail in Marquette compare to snow bike trails in the rest of the country?

Marquette’s SBR is, as far as I know, the first of its kind. It is very similar to a standard summertime mountain bike singletrack flow trail, meaning its fast, narrow and has fun features like bermed corners, rollers, etc.

From what I’ve seen in other areas, most places are simply allowing fatbikes on existing Nordic ski trails, which has a very different feel than buzzing through the woods on a dedicated bike trail. The NTN SBR is a really unique product, and one that I think was made possible due to the 30-year history of winter riding in Marquette that is featured in the film.

How does the NTN groom the snow bike trail?

Mike Brunet and Matt Belic of the NTN experimented with a number of different techniques and equipment over the past few years before developing and constructing their own groomer design. It’s sort of a cross between a snowmobile trail groomer and a Nordic ski trail drag. It rolls and packs the snow leaving a 27-inch wide courdoroy ribbon of fun through the hills and forest within the city of Marquette.

Are there any other snow bike trails in the area that will be opening in the foreseeable future?

The Range Mountain Bike Club of Negaunee/Ishpeming is planning to groom some of its system this season, making Marquette County a true hub for winter cycling. Also the Noquemanon Ski Marathon will have three races during the weekend of†Jan 24-26, 2014.

Do you need a special bike to ride the snow bike trail?

Yes, this is a trail specifically for fatbikes, bikes with oversized tires available from a variety of manufacturers. Fatbikes are available to rent from The Sports Rack in Marquette and can be demoed at any of Marquette’s four bike shops. The trails are also open to snowshoeing.

Can you talk a little about snow biking in general? I heard of it last year for the first time and it seems like it’s rapidly growing in popularity.

Fatbikes are the fastest growing segment of the bike industry right now. They use an oversized tire with low pressure to increase flotation and traction in soft conditions, they work in all types of terrain but excel like no other bike when it comes to riding on snow, which is why locally they are called snow bikes.

They do need a packed surface of some sort, like a ski trail, dedicated snow bike trail or anywhere a snowmobile of snowshoe traffic has compressed fluffy snow. Riding on snow is surreal. For an experienced cyclist, the feeling is similar to mountain biking but different enough that it lets you feel an entirely new experience on a bike. Marquette’s SBR can be very fast because it is smooth, the ride is like a roller coaster.

The bikes are very stable because of their wide tires and the traction is unbelievable. It’s just fun to try something familiar yet different and see what the bike can and can’t do. Plus it’s outdoors in crisp fresh air and great exercise. You just have to try it.

Video One:

COLD ROLLED-Chapter One from Clear & Cold Cinema on Vimeo.

Video Two:

COLD ROLLED-Chapter 2: The Thirty-Year Winter from Clear & Cold Cinema on Vimeo.

The remaining three videos (and the full length film) will be available the following dates:

These approximately 4-minute long chapters will be live by 8 a.m. EST on the following dates:

  • Saturday, Dec. 21 Chapter 3: The Lake Superior Session
  • Saturday,Dec. 28 Chapter 4: MindSparks-Birth of the SBR
  • Saturday,Jan. 4 Chapter 5: The SBR Shred Session
  • Saturday, Jan. 11 Full film available

Have you ever been snow biking? Tell us about your experience.

This post was written by Jesse Land of Things to do in the U.P. on behalf of Travel Marquette Michigan.

Pure Michigan January 2014 Events Roundup

It’s almost a new year in Pure Michigan! From winter festivals to the Detroit auto show, there are plenty of events happening across Michigan to help you welcome in 2014 with some fun. Below is a roundup of a few of the many events taking place around the state throughout the month. For a complete listing of events, visit michigan.org. 

Week of 1/1/2014- 1/6/2014

NHL Winter Classic
1/1/2014 - Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Football Stadium
Hockeytown and The Big House will come together this winter for what is expected to be a historic holiday extravaganza of hockey culminating with the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The long-anticipated matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will take place on January 1, 2014, at The Big House (Michigan Stadium) on the campus of the University of Michigan. Detroit and Toronto have played 644 times since Jan. 4, 1927, when the Toronto St. Patricks defeated the Detroit Cougars 2-1. Detroit holds a slim edge in points gained in the all-time series, 646-645.

International Motorcycle Show
01/03/14 – 01/05/14 – Novi, Suburban Collection Showplace
International Motorcycle Show – the largest motorcycle show series in the world – features hundreds of new bikes, scooters and entertainment for the entire family. Admission fee. For more information call (800) 331-5706.

Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race
01/04/14 - Muskallonge Lake State Park
The Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race features over 60 teams from across the continent. Classes include 4-dog, 6-dog, 8-dog, and 12- dog. Races begin at 9:30am, with a new team taking off every few minutes. Come out to pet the dogs, meet the teams and cheer them on during this all-day event!

Grand Rapids Antiques Market
01/04/14 – 01/05/14 – Grand Rapids DeVos Place
Start the new year right! Featuring Michigan’s largest indoor antique show, Old House Expo, fashion show, and so much more! Show schedule, January 4 show hours 9am-7pm. Sunday, January 5 show hours 10am-4pm.  Meet Danielle Colby Cushman of American Pickers all weekend! More vendor information at the website link.

Guided Snowshoe Hike
 01/04/14 – Grayling  Hartwick Pines State Park
Hartwick Pines State Park will offer guided snowshoe hikes through the old growth forest on January 4 and 18, February 1, and March 1. These hikes will give visitors to Hartwick Pines a chance to try out snowshoes and hike through the Lower Peninsula’s largest stand of old-growth white pines. Guided by a park interpreter or historian, participants will learn about the forest in the winter and discover the importance of winter to Michigan’s logging industry in the 1800s, all while getting great exercise. This event is free of charge, although a Michigan State Parks Recreation Passport is required for park entry. Please call ahead for snow conditions. (989) 348-2537.

Michigan Monster Energy Winter Cup Series at Crystal Mountain
01/04/14 – Crystal Mountain
Crystal Mountain, Boyne Mountain, and Shanty Creek are the place for snowboarding/freeski competitions and after-party events this winter. Series begins Saturday, January 4 at Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville), and continues February 8 at Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls), and the championship finale March 8 at Shanty Creek Resorts (Bellaire). For more event information, please visit the web link or call AGA Nation at (248) 660-2215.

Week of 1/7/2014- 1/13/2014

 Make/Do: Contemporary Artists Exhibit
01/09/14 – 02/14/14 – Kalamazoo, Richmond Center for Visual Arts
All events are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are M-Th 10am-6pm, F 10am-9pm, Sat. 12 pm-6pm, closed Sunday. This exhibition incorporates an expanded conception of craft outside traditional mediums to include painting, video, and performance. The works included in “MAKE/DO”are notable for their materials (shoddy and select) and quality of production (scrupulous and slapdash), which collapse the distinction between fine art and craft, and encourage us, as viewers, to participate in their re-production and reception, to their “making” and “doing.”

The Ultimate Fishing Show
01/09/14 - Novi, Suburban Collection Showplace
Michigan’s largest fishing show. This show is all about fishing tackle, fishing trips, fishing boats and features: Lake Ultimate, Trout Pond, seminar stages, fish fry and more. Tickets can be ordered online via our website. For more show information, please call the show managers at (616) 447-2860 or toll free at (800) 328-6550.

Moscow Festival Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty
01/09/14 – East Lansing, Wharton Center for Performing Arts 
For the first time since their 2012 tour, the legendary Moscow Festival Ballet and their company of 50 returns to Wharton Center on Thursday, January 9. Under the artistic direction of Sergei Radchenko, the Moscow Festival Ballet expertly blends the teachings of the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet companies in their independent, Russian classic ballet styling.

Plymouth Winter Fest
01/10/14 – 01/12/14 – Plymouth, Downtown Plymouth
Formerly known as the Plymouth Ice Festival, the Plymouth Winter Fest will take place over three days and include ice carving competitions, food booths, and entertainment. Admission to the festival is free. Ice sculptures available for viewing 24-hours a day (weather permitting).

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam
01/11/14 – Detroit, Ford Field – Home of the Detroit Lions
Detroit Monster Jam will feature 18 Monster Jam trucks, including the legendary Grave Digger® driven by Chad Tingler, Max-DSM (Maximum Destruction), driven by Morgan Kane, Northern NightmareSM driven by Cam McQueen and El Toro Loco® (Yellow) driven by Becky McDonough. For information call (800) 745-3000.

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
01/12/14 – 01/17/14 – Ann Arbor
One price dining, one week, several options. Extraordinary three course dinner menus and fixed price fare lunch menus from Ann Arbor’s best restaurants. Experience cuisine that delights your palate and defines the art of dining in Ann Arbor. Now is your chance to discover new restaurants and enjoy favorites at a discounted price. Make reservations early at participating restaurants. Tables fill fast during this gastronomically great event, so make your reservations now. For more information, visit the website link or call (734) 668-7112 ext 22.

Week 1/14/2014- 1/20/2014

Colin Stetson – Concert
01/15/14 – 01/16/14 – Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Arthur Miller Theatre
Ann Arbor native Colin Stetson returns home to make his University Musical Society (UMS) debut performance, January 15-16, 2014, in Arthur Miller Theatre. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, saxophonist Colin Stetson has spent the 15 years since he graduated from the University of Michigan working with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Feist, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, David Byrne, LCD Soundsystem, and Angélique Kidjo, among others. He is a current member of the indie band Bon Iver yet has developed an utterly unique voice as a soloist (principally on saxophones and clarinets). His intense technical prowess is matched by his emotionally gripping skills as a songwriter. For concert information, visit the website link or call (734) 764-2538.

Great Skate Winterfest
01/18/14 – 01/19/14 – Grand Rapids, Rosa Parks Circle
Celebrate winter in the city and skate with Griffins players! Celebrate the 12th Annual Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids! Enjoy a day full of winter-themed events, sport demonstrations and family activities, followed by a 24-hour skating marathon with Grand Rapids Griffins players. Events start at noon and marathon goes through Sunday till 10pm. Free admission. For event information, call (616) 774-4585 ext 3046.

Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Animal Show
01/18/14 – Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground
Buy, sell, or trade a variety of reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and other exotic pets. Admission for adults is $4, children $2, children under six are free, Family Max – $15. Hours are 10am-3pm in Room A

North American International Auto Show 2014
01/18/14 – 01/26/14-Detroit, Cobo Center
Now in its 26th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Week of 1/21/2014-1/27/2014

Snowfest 2014
01/22/14 – 01/27/14 – Frankenmuth, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s Snowfest has been host to one of the top snow sculpting events in North America for the past 22 years. Visitors have enjoyed larger-than-life snow sculptures and beautifully detailed ice carvings each year. Zehnder’s Snowfest 2014 will again dazzle and excite you with snow and ice sculptures created by professional ice and snow carvers from around the world. Zehnder’s Snowfest is also host to the National Collegiate Ice Carving Championship and the High School Snow Sculpting Competition. In addition, Zehnder’s Snowfest will have entertainment for the entire family in the warming tent, a fireworks display, petting zoo and children’s activities. Plan now to attend Zehnder’s Snowfest 2014.

Sesame Street Live
01/23/14 – 02/17/14 – Detroit, Fox Theatre
Join the chorus of ‘Can’t Stop Singing’ for this toe tapping, finger snapping musical event! All you need is a song when Elmo, Abby Cadabby, Murray and all of your favorite Sesame Street friends bring the magic of music to life on stages big and small – and right into the audience! For event times and additional information call (800) 745-3000.

Grand Rapids Camper, Travel & RV Show
1/23/2014 – 1/26/2014 - DeVos Place
A dozen West Michigan RV dealers representing more than 100 RV lines combined with 200,000+ square feet results in the biggest RV show in the state. Along with new RVs, we have a remarkable selection of RV accessories, campgrounds and travel destinations! Admission fee.

Mozart Birthday Bash: Cosi Fan Tutte
01/25/14 – Ann Arbor, Michigan Theater
Beautiful arias sung by great singers, and a message that makes “Thus do all women” an enduring work. Your A2SO become actors in this narrated, semi-staged opera. Performance at 8pm.

Orchid Show
01/25/14 – 01/26/14 – Grand Rapids, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Enjoy hundreds of exquisite orchids featured in lush displays in the Grand Room. Members from Grand Valley Orchid Society will answer your questions and point out some of the most unique orchids. Orchid vendors from across the Midwest will be selling a variety of orchids and supplies. Bring the kids for an “orchid hunt” (12-4 pm both days). Attend free talks presented by Orchid Society members.

Middle Earth Skier/Boardercross Competition
01/26/14 – Boyne Falls, Boyne Mountain
The Middle Earth traveling circus is making a stop at Boyne Mountain for their skier/boardercross competition. Find out who can make it from start to finish the fastest on a course featuring jumps, rollers, banked turns, and more. This event is open to skiers and snowboarder spectators of all ages. All competitors must be USASA members. For complete event details, visit the website link or call (800) 462-6963.

Week of 1/28/2014-1/31/2014

Ferndale Blues and Music Festival
01/28/14 – 02/06/14 – Ferndale, Ferndale DDA
Get your Blues on! The Ferndale Metro Blues Festival has been a hugely popular and wildly successful event. In fact, it was an official sanctioned event of Super Bowl XL in 2006. The Ferndale Metro Blues Festival averages more than 60 concerts held over nine days at two dozen locations in the region. For information call (248) 330-2328.

Ann Arbor Folk Festival
01/31/14 – 02/01/14 – Ann Arbor, Hill Auditorium- University of Michigan
A two-night celebration of roots music takes place at Hill Auditorium. The Folk Festival will celebrate with a selection of the world’s finest traditional and contemporary performers. Advance ticket seating.

These are just a few of the many events happening next month in Pure Michigan. Please visit michigan.org for a complete listing. 

Will you be at any of these events in January? Let us know!