Sledders head to the Lake Superior shore January 15 for the annual Blessing of the Snowmobiles in Paradise, and return February 18-19 for Mardi Gras De Snow. The family-friendly activities include a candlelight parade of snowmobiles, sled decoration contest, moonlight safari, food, bonfire and Tour De Mardi Gras.
Michigan’s largest snowmobile event, the North American Snow Festival February 3-6 in Cadillac, warms things up with a chili cook-off and features races on Lake Cadillac, Poker Fun Run, entertainment, ice fishing contests and Parade of Lights.
The International 500 Snowmobile Race, the nation’s oldest, biggest such event, happens Saturday, February 5 in Sault Ste. Marie when expert sledders take to the one-mile oval for 500 miles at speeds approaching 115 mph. Called “NASCAR on ice,” the I-500 was the first event of its kind when it was held in 1968, and since there were no guidelines for a snowmobile race the organizers based their event on the rules of the Indy 500. The race begins at 10am Saturday; the all-day event includes food, beverage and merchandise vendors and the Memories at the Mile Vintage Snowmobile Show. Arrive on Thursday for the new event featuring old machines, “The Lakes & Trails Powersports Vintage Dash,” and Friday’s Kids Mini Z Snowmobile Races.
With 300 miles of groomed trails and over 230 inches of snow each year, Munising and Alger County claim the title, “The Snowmobiling Capital of the Midwest,” has hundreds of trails that connect to the 3,000 miles of UP trails. The area also hosts the February 25-26 Munising 300 snowmobile race of the U.S. Cross Country Snowmobile Racing Association.
Houghton Lake, the largest inland lake in Michigan, and the resort town of the same name host the 61st Tip-Up Town USA January 22-24 and 29-31. The two-weekend schedule of family-friendly events includes a snowmobile show and race plus Grand Parade, fireworks, ice fishing, contests for all ages, music, carnival, and ice sculptures on and around the lake.