10 Reasons to Celebrate 50 Years of Winter Fun at Boyne Highlands

Boyne Highlands will celebrate their 50th Anniversary January 31st – February 2nd with food, fresh powder and special events for the whole family. Today, guest blogger Erin Ernst from BOYNE gives us 10 reasons to celebrate 50 years of winter fun at Boyne Highlands! 

1.   Join Boyne Highlands Resort’s Anniversary Celebration Weekend, Jan. 31 – Feb. 2, for tons of live entertainment, dinner and dancing with the Up North Big Band, fireworks over the slopes and sky lantern release, and 50th Anniversary Party featuring The Sun Messengers, Detroit’s best dance band, in the Zoo Bar.

2.   Ski the highest vertical terrain and most skiable acreage in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Boyne Highlands offers 552’ vertical feet and 435 skiable acres with trails that are over a mile long.  From the top of the slopes, there are many spectacular views, two in particular are must-sees.  From the south-west side, take in the panoramic scene of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay and on the north side, the sight of the Mackinac Bridge.

3.   Unique family adventures are abundant.  Fly high on a Zipline Adventure, enjoy the rush of a dog sled ride, slide on a tube, saunter by horseback through a winter wonderland, climb the slopes in a groomer ride, cruise along groomed trails with fat tire bikes, traverse with snowshoes, or glide over 35 km of cross country trails.

4.   Explore a part of history.  On December 26, 1963 when Boyne Highlands Resort opened, guests were greeted by not one, but two of the first triple chairlifts ever built.  In 1990, one of the triples was replaced and in its place now stands another first – Michigan’s first high-speed quad chairlift, the Heather Express.

5.   Learning a new winter sport has never been easier. Boyne Highlands SnowSports Academy has ski, snowboard, and cross country lessons for all levels and even guarantees beginner lessons or the next one is free.  Even the youngest of riders can get a jump on snowboarding with the resort’s Burton Riglet Park designed for ages 3-6.

6.   After a day on the slopes, cozy up indoors with a treatment at The Spa at Boyne Highlands, kick back by the toasty fireplace in the Slopeside Lounge, or experience the infamous après ski scene in the Zoo Bar.

7.   Sip on Boyne Highlands’ 50th Anniversary cocktail featuring Courvoisier Cognac, Cointreau, sour mix, and New Holland Freshwater Huron Rum, shaken over ice and served in a martini glass with sugar coated rim.

8.   Dine on top of a mountain with the Aonach Mor Moonlight Dinner.  The enchanting evening begins with a groomer cat sleigh ride up the slopes to the top of Boyne Highlands’ North Peak for a delicious dinner served family-style. Bubbling kettles of French onion soup, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, roast beef tenderloin au poivre, and chocolate fondue, all are enjoyed while a live acoustic guitarist strums and sings favorite tunes.

9.   Loads of special events pack the calendar including the annual Brew-Ski Festival, Boarding for Breast Cancer, Krazy Daze, Chocolate Cake Downhill, and Ski League Championships, all happening in March.

10.  The home away from home experience. Boyne Highlands is well-known for offering a warm welcome and exceptional customer service.  Generations of families have made Boyne Highlands their choice for creating memories, spending time with loved ones, and returning season after season.

Erin Ernst is the Director of Communications for BOYNE, which owns and operates Boyne Highlands Resort, Boyne Mountain Resort, The Inn at Bay Harbor – A Renaissance Golf Resort, Boyne Country Sports, and Boyne Realty.  She is a Michigan native who has worked in the resort and tourism industry for over ten years.  She is also a board member with the Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau and West Michigan Tourist Association. 

How to Experience Sled Dog Racing in the Upper Peninsula

Winter in Michigan is a great time for snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, but if you’re looking for a different type of winter sports action, then you won’t want to miss the UP 200 and other sled dog races around the state. Today, featured blogger Jesse Land of Things to Do in the U.P. gives us the inside scoop on sled dog racing in the Upper Peninsula.

The UP 200

Photo courtesy of aaronpeterson.net

The UP 200 sled dog race is one of the premier sled dog races in the country. Mushers from all over travel to the Marquette, Michigan each winter to compete in this race. They love it not only for the beautiful and challenging terrain, but also for the warm welcome they receive from the huge crowd that assembles in Marquette to cheer them on.

The start of the race is truly something to see. The city of Marquette shuts down Washington Street, which runs through the heart of Marquette’s downtown district, and covers the street with snow. This is where thousands of people will gather onto the sidewalks on the evening of Friday, February 14th to watch the dog sled teams embark on the 240 mile course.

The mushers travel from Marquette toward Munising, through sections of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and then on to Grand Marais. Grand Marais is the layover point, where the teams will arrive sometime the morning of Saturday, February 15th. After spending a few hours in Grand Marais to rest and refuel, the teams will head back to Marquette sometime late Saturday afternoon and evening.

The Midnight Run

Photo courtesy of aaronpeterson.net

And then there’s the Midnight Run, an exciting ninety-mile race that takes place between the start and finish of the U.P. 200. Midnight run mushers leave Marquette from Washington Street shortly after the U.P. 200 mushers. However, their course is different.

In the past Midnight Run teams have finished in Grand Marais. New this year the teams will race to Chatam, then turn around and finish in Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park.

Where is the best place to see the dogs?

One of the most popular questions that gets asked by spectators is “where’s the best place to se the dogs?” Luckily, there are many great options.

Washington Street in Marquette is the most popular viewing area by far because the races start right there and it’s located in the heart of downtown. However, for those looking to avoid the crowds or take in a different stage of the race there are definitely other options.

Photo courtesy of aaronpeterson.net

Not far from downtown Marquette, the welcome center offers a great spot to view the teams as they head into the woods. Restrooms are available and food and drinks will be provided here at no cost.

The Prince of Peace Church in Harvey also offers a great viewing area. They’ll have a bonfire to help spectators stay warm. Restrooms are available inside the church, and food and drinks will be available for purchase.

The Lakenenland Sculpture Park offers another great viewing spot as the mushers race right by there.

The Downtown Showdown

And if you’re in Marquette for the UP 200 and Midnight Run, be sure to check out the Downtown Showdown rail jam competition on Saturday night. The snow from Washington Street gets moved to nearby Front Street where an awesome course of rails is set up on which snowboarders and skiers will test their skills. It’s a great time for skiers, snowboarders and spectators alike.

So plan a trip to Marquette, Michigan for the weekend of February 14th, 15th and 16th! It’ll be an action packed weekend full of great events!

If you can’t make it to the race, there are plenty of other ways to experience sled dog racing the Upper Peninsula. Visit michigan.org to see a full list of sled dog tours available near you. 

Have you been to a sled dog race in Michigan? 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 February 2014 Events Roundup

Winter is in full swing and there are tons of fun upcoming events happening across the state! From sled dog races to outdoors expos and restaurant weeks, there’s something for everyone this February in Pure Michigan. Below are just some of the many events happening in February. Please visit michigan.org  for a complete listing of Michigan events.

Week of January 27th – February 2nd

Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week
January 27, 2014 – February 2, 2014, Kalamazoo
Explore a variety of downtown Kalamazoo restaurants during Kalamazoo’s restaurant week. During this one special week, participating restaurants will create a dining deal – whether that’s a three-course meal, paired dinner or beyond. Times vary. Visit website link for participating restaurants.

Michigan Ice Fest
January 30, 2013 – February 2, 2014, Munising
Ice Fest takes place in Munising, Michigan on the shores of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior. The Munising area is the host to one of the largest ice festivals in the country. The 2014 Michigan Ice Fest will be held January 30-February 2nd at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Michigan. Headquarters can be found upstairs at Sydney’s Restaurant The Michigan Ice Fest is the perfect place to become familiar with the area and to meet other climbers from the Midwest. It happens in Munising on the first weekend in February every year.

Ice Breaker Festival
January 31, 2014 – February 2, 2014, South Haven
Now in its 21st year, Ice Breaker Festival will host winter fun for the whole family. West Michigan’s predominant and growing winter festival is showcasing dazzling ice sculptures, Chili Cook-off, Pub Slide, outdoor ice skating, curling, horse drawn wagon rides, kid crafts and many more exciting events. A major highlight of the event is the sculpting of more than 50 blocks of ice, weighing 300 pounds each, into incredible works of frozen art. While admiring all the amazing ice displays along the way; make sure to enjoy the Pub Slide, with food drink & entertainment specials offered at participating bars and restaurants all weekend long. For additional information, contact (269) 637-5171.

International 500 Snowmobile Race
February 1, 2014, Sault Ste. Marie
Come join Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, for the 46th Annual International I-500 Snowmobile Race and experience all the thrills of NASCAR on a one-mile oval ice track. The I-500 is the biggest event in the Upper Peninsula and in the entire snowmobile-racing world. No Hans devices. No padding. Just 100% raw courage! When drivers accelerate to speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour on the straightaways, your heart will race. Mark your calendar for the weekend of February 1, 2014 and get ready for the thrill of a lifetime!

Michigan Winter Triathlon
February 2, 2014, Muskegon
This is your opportunity to try out three exciting Winter Olympic sports (luge, ice speedskating and cross country skiing) in a family-friendly competition smack in the heart of “Pure West Michigan.” The event is geared toward those that have never done at least one of these sports. There are no big awards. There is no pressure to win. We want you to simply have fun doing a sport you would not normally think about trying. It will be a fun competition. Serious competitors will also be welcome but our main focus is to introduce you to a new sport that you may never before have tried. We will teach you everything you need to know to get through this competition in continuous 20 minute clinics at each venue. Event held at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex which is within the Muskegon State Park. Family rate $50, 13 and over $25, and 12 and under $20. Visit the website link for registration and additional information.

Week of February 3rd – February 9th

Winter Carnival
February 5, 2014 – February 8, 2014, Michigan Technological University
During an all-night competition, Michigan Tech students carve larger-than-life sculptures from mountains of snow.

Detroit Camper & RV Show
February 5, 2014 – February 9, 2014, Novi
All types of new 2014 recreation vehicles will be on display including folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, truck campers and fifth wheel travel trailers. This show will include booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information and RV financing making this the complete RV Show experience. Parking and admission fee. For showtimes or more information, click on the website link or call (517) 349-8881.

Michigan International Auto Show
February 6, 2014 – February 9, 2014, Grand Rapids
Where the automotive world comes to you! This is the greatest annual opportunity to view your “next new car!” Car manufacturers from around the world will bring their finest traveling displays with 300 + new vehicles, including sedans, vans, SUVs, trucks, hybrids and sports cars. Not only is the Auto Show the best place to shop and compare options for every day vehicles, it is also the first opportunity for West Michigan residents to see many of the most recently released or “soon to be released” models! Admission fee.

Magical Ice Fest
February 7, 2014 – February 9, 2014, St. Joseph
Enjoy a weekend of winter fun in downtown St. Joseph. Weekend activities include individual and team ice carving competitions, the return of Ice Wars presented by the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, and the SnowBiz Scavenger Hunt! This weekend has something for everyone to enjoy!

Independence Lake Ice Fishing Derby
February 8, 2014, Whitmore Lake
Join us for a fun-filled day of competition and prizes! Catch Northern pike, blue gill, bass and crappie. Bring your own bait. No alcohol, ATVs, or snowmobiles.

Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival
February 8, 2014, Traverse City
The annual Winter Microbrew & Music Festival is the perfect opportunity to warm up with some of the best craft beer, cider, and mead from around the area (and the Midwest). Pair that with local grub from some of Traverse City’s best, live entertainment, and more winter themed fun, and you have the perfect recipe for an afternoon of winter fun! Downtown Farmers Market area.

Week of February 10th – February 16th

UP200 Sled Dog Race
February 13, 2014 – February 17, 2014, Marquette
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 here in the Upper Peninsula. 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. The mushers will leave Marquette Friday evening and arrive in Grand Marais sometime Saturday morning. After a layover to rest and eat, they’ll head back to Marquette late Saturday afternoon and evening. Come join in the excitement for the start of the race located in downtown Marquette, Michigan.  For more information on this event, visit the website or call (906) 228-3072.

Cupid’s Couple
February 14, 2014, Jones
Cupid’s Couple Course. Love skiing? Love snow? Love each other as connected couples make their way through
an obstacle course. Contest will take place Friday evening around 7pm on the flatland behind the Ski Rental building. Listen to live music in the chalet afterwards and make a date of it.

Midnight Run
February 14, 2014 – February 15, 2014, Marquette
The Midnight Run is an eight-dog, 90-mile race. This race is typically a faster race than the UP200. Midnight Run mushers will again start in downtown Marquette traveling to Chatham and then returning to Marquette for the finish. Midnight Run mushers start 30 minutes after the last UP200 team, but not before 8:30pm.

West Michigan Golf Show
February 14, 2014 – February 16, 2014, Grand Rapids
For over 20 years, West Michigan has started their golf season off right with the West Michigan Golf Show. With the area’s top equipment dealers, courses and resorts, you can plan your entire summer of golf, and even tee off for the first time of the season, all inside DeVos Place. Admission fee.

Little Traverse Bay Snowshoe Dog Walk
February 15, 2014, Harbor Springs
This event is perfect for those looking to get out and enjoy the beauty of northern Michigan this winter. Participants are invited to bring their furry friend for a snowshoe walk through the woods (three trails ranging from beginner to expert) while exploring the beauty of a northern Michigan farm. Afterwards, enjoy a delicious lunch while your best buddy snacks on some tasty treats of their own. $30 in advance, $35 day of the event, and $5 for children 12 and under. Snowshoes will be available on-site at no charge. To reserve snowshoes, call (231) 347-2396. 11am to 2pm.

Detroit Boat Show
February 15, 2014 – February 23, 2014, Detroit
The Detroit Boat Show is the original, biggest and best boat show in the state of Michigan, featuring the premiere showing of hundreds of new 2014 and new non-current model boats, motors, trailers, accessories and more, ranging from 1- to potentially 50 feet in length, including: fishing boats, ski boats, pontoons, cruisers, inflatables, pontoon watercraft, kayaks, antique boats, race boats and much more. Saturdays, Friday & Monday 11am – 9pm; Sundays: 11am – 6pm; Tues, Wed, Thurs; 3pm – 9pm.  Admission for adults $12, children 12 and under are free with an adult, Seniors (62 and older) free on Monday. For more information cal (800) 932-2628 or visit our website.

Week of February 17th – February 23rd

Grand Rapids Boat Show
February 19, 2014 – February 23, 2014, Grand Rapids
A West Michigan tradition! In our 68th year, the Grand Rapids Boat Show is launching into an era where we will be showing our broadest array of power boats ever…especially for the Great Lakes! Besides Motor Yachts and Cruisers we have attracted Great Lakes Catamarans, Tugs, Trawlers, and even a new Australian marvel, Sealegs…for those that need to get their boat out of Lake Michigan and up onto the beach. Boaters, this is your Show!

Aqua Freeze Festival
February 21, 2014 – February 23, 2014, St. Clair Shores
Ice carvings, with activities for children and adults, food, fun, warming stations, ice skating, hockey shoot, and more.

February 22, 2014, Coopersville

The winter festival, which always kicks off with Thom Eno playing a tough tune on a sharp, cold, steel instrument (the saw), is scheduled for February 22nd and is designed to give families something to do on a cold winter Saturday in Michigan. Many of the events are held outside and the weather is always a challenge to stay ahead of. In the past, various groups have sponsored activities like the Polar Plunge Challenge, the 5K Chill, and of course the Decorated Toilet Seat Contest. The Outhouse races will run no matter what the weather! There is also plenty going on inside at the Coopersville Farm Museum & Event Center: the Chili Cook-off, live music, and kid’s crafts and activities. Most of the activities throughout the day and into the evening are free or low cost. This is an outing the whole family can enjoy–close to home, affordable, and fun.

Grand Haven Restaurant Week
February 21, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Grand Haven
Discover old and new favorites as you explore eateries in Grand Haven’s downtown and centertown districts! At participating eateries, you can check out their special Restaurant Week priced menus including $8 lunch and/or $15 dinner. For additional information, contact the Grand  Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority at (616) 844-1188.

Experience Beer
February 25, 2014, Grand Rapids
“Michigan Beer Dude” Ben Darcie teaches you how to taste and talk about our nation’s favorite beverage, including its cultivation from field to glass, all while sampling Michigan brewed beer and appetizers specifically paired for the tasting. Stop drinking beer and start experiencing it! February 18 and 25. $50 per person. Reserve by calling (616) 975-3151.

Week of February 24th – March 2nd

Outdoorama
February 27, 2014 – March 2, 2014, Novi
Whether it’s hunting, fishing, boating, canoeing, hiking, mushroom hunting or bird watching, this show has plenty to offer. The Outfitter’s Expo area along with major feature attractions like “Big Buck Night,” “Wildlife Encounters” and the Trout Pond provide the best place to book the trip of a lifetime or entertain the family. In addition, with a huge display of boats, docks and lifts, and marine accessories, this show is the best place to shop for new boats and accessories. Outdoorama is a must-see for everyone who loves the outdoors. Phone (800) 328-6550.

The MARVAC Battle Creek Camper & RV Show
February 27, 2014 – March 2, 2014, Battle Creek
All types of new recreation vehicles with over 50 units and over 15 brands displayed from folding campers, motor homes, toy haulers, travel trailers and fifth wheel travel trailers. Booths featuring parts and accessories, campground information, RV financing and RV rentals. Weekdays 11am – 8pm, Saturday 10am – 8pm, and Sunday 11am – 5pm. Adult admission is $5, senior admission is $4 and children under 12 are free. For more information contact (517) 349-8881.

Women’s Lifestyle Expo
February 28, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Kalamazoo
An annual two day extravaganza created for women by women! Every minute is designed to be fun, educational and entertaining! Admission for adults $5, children 12 and up $2, children under 12 are free. Fri 12-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm. Held in Main Expo & Expo South.

The Great Lakes Comic-Con
February 28, 2014 – March 1, 2014, Warren
Over 100 vendors/dealers at our largest show yet! Friday night 7pm to 9pm and Saturday 10am to 6pm. Admission fee (children 10 and under free both days). Free parking. For more information, call (888) 497-3116.

Which February events do you plan to attend?