Something New10 Winter Activities for the Adventurous


It’s a well known fact: When it comes to winter beauty and frosty fun, Michigan is at the top of the snowcap! We’ve all skied, sledded, skated and snowshoed for years now. We’ve trekked up the same slopes and skated the same ponds. Hiked down the same trails and sledded the same hills. We are experienced with the experience – made the most of The Mitten … or have we? Just when you think you’ve become the world’s foremost expert in all things “Michigan Winter”, something new comes along that puts the hat on the head, the boots on the feet, and the zipper all the way up. Fall in love with winter again by jumping into a full snowdrift of offbeat winter fun!

1. Curling

Yeah, this is that Olympic sport that only a Canadian could love. It seems like a real snooze – except there is something truly mesmerizing about that smooth stone sliding effortlessly on the ice toward its resting spot that will keep you coming back to give it another shot. It’s a team sport that has everyone involved (sweeping or delivering) that takes some time to master and for those who want to try, there are a number of places a stones’ throw away that can accommodate. Detroit (Ferndale), Midland and East Lansing Curling Clubs are always looking for new initiates to the sport.

2. Fat-Tire Snow-Biking

Just because the ground is snow-covered, it doesn’t mean bicycle enthusiasts need to hang up their wheels. Michigan is one of the country’s leading states for fat-tire snow-biking. The Upper Peninsula has multiple trails dedicated to the hobby. In fact, Marquette is known as the fat-tire bike hub of the Midwest offering 60-miles of trails! If you don’t have your own fat-tire bike, don’t worry – a number of winter getaway destinations in the state offer the ability to rent one.

3. Winter Camping

No, I’m not crazy – winter camping is the ultimate way to enjoy the beauty of seasonal nature. Sure, you’ll be tested in a challenging environment, but you will be rewarded with sights and experiences very few can claim. Visit frozen waterfalls, the ice of the Great Lakes and other natural wonders in their purest forms. If you want peace and quiet with only the crackle of a campfire for comfort, winter camping is for you. Bonus: Winter yurts are available in select campgrounds such as the Porcupine Mountains. (Who wouldn’t enjoy chillin’ out in a yurt?)

4. Ice Climbing

Again, Michigan leads the way in a winter sport – this time, it’s ice climbing. The U.P. shines anew with multiple challenging locations for climbing devotees. Frozen waterfalls along the Pictured Rocks lake shore presents climbs ranging from 20 to over 200 ft. If you want to give it a shot without the long drive, Peabody Ice Climbing in Fenton can give you instruction. For those who are very interested, Michigan Ice Fest takes place in Munising in February.

5. Hit the Toboggan Runs

Sure, we’ve all ridden on a sled – but how many have actually coasted downhill on a toboggan? A unique form of transport, toboggans often have their own designated “runs” where regular sleds are not allowed. Toboggan runs are usually composed of much bigger hills than regular sledding spots. Mid-Michiganders, the nearest opportunities are the Kensington Toboggan Course (Milford), City Forest Toboggan Runs (Midland) and Fridge Toboggan Run (Waterford).

6. Ice Golfing/Disc Golfing

In any sport, the diehards will always find a way to adapt to the seasons in order to do what they love and golfers are no exception. Each year, more and more ice golfing leagues spring up at multiple state resorts and tournaments are held throughout the state. All it takes is some winter gear and brightly colored golf balls. For disc golfers, brightly colored discs with attached ribbons can help you find your shot in the snow cover. Genesee County is quickly becoming a disc golf hub and multiple courses play host to charity tournaments in the winter months (Goldenrod, Mott Park, Hollywoods, etc.).

7. Snow-Tubing

If you haven’t flown down a snow-covered hill on every type of vehicle possible, are you truly a Michigander? Swap the toboggan and plastic sled for a bouncing, jouncing tube! It’s a little more chaotic and a barrel of fun – the laughs won’t stop as you bound down your favorite track. It can be done anywhere, but some of the best tubing hills are located in Traverse City, Shelby, Gaylord, Boyne City, Lansing and Kalamazoo.

8. Mushing

Ever dream of racing in The Iditarod? No? Me either; but zipping down a frozen trail on a dog sled would be a unique adventure, for sure. Thankfully, anything is possible in a Michigan winter. A dog-sledding adventure can include a quick jaunt through a golf course or a 20-mile marathon – it’s up to you. Resorts in Gaylord and the U.P. can accommodate. If you really enjoy the practice, why not sign up for a dog-sledding race in Marquette? Mush!

9. Frozen Lighthouses

Lighthouses are always a scenic draw in the summer with thousands hiking long trails every year for photo ops. While those pictures are great, lighthouses in winter are spectacular. While it admittedly takes a hardier breed of person to get out and visit, our lighthouses in winter are worth it. They are frozen wonderlands not seen by many. Some of the best include the Point Betsie Lighthouse (Frankfort), Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse (Ludington), North Pierhead Lighthouse (Manistee) and South Breakwater Lighthouse (Muskegon).

10. Do the Luge!

The second Olympic sport on this list, the luge is available in Michigan for those lovers of ice and speed. One of only four luge tracks open to the public in the country, Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park presents an 850-ft. track designed by a former Olympian. Participants can experience speeds of up to 30 mph as they rocket down the track and navigate the turns. It’s perfect for a beginner (Olympic lugers often hit speeds of 90 mph).

Tired of spending the winter with the same old blues? It could be time to try something new and exhilarating. Layer on your warmest duds, get out there and enjoy the season!


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