It’s only February, but it feels like we’ve been living on a frozen tundra for MUCH longer. If we’re trusting it to Punxsutawney Phil, we’ve got at least another six weeks, and I believe it based on the accumulation of snow surrounding my house, car and the pair of gloves I lost somewhere outdoors.
If you’ve followed the news at all, you may know that the Polar Vortex is the cause for the record-breaking low temperatures and unprecedented snowfall. The subzero temps with windchill have led to schools and universities in our mitten and beyond to declare multiple snow days; I’m sure the parents with kids trapped inside are more anxious than anyone for this madness to pass. You can reference my guide to entertaining kids over Christmas break and apply it as needed for any more snow days or long weekends. With inspiration from The Awesome Mitten’s Kristin Coppens, I’ve compiled a list of positive things about Michigan winters…yes, positives exist. Let’s look at a few facts to make this winter fly by!
1. Snow Biking
If you’ve never seen a fat-tire bike, then you should take some time and check out Cold Rolled, a five part documentary from Clear and Cold Cinema that reveals the beauty of Marquette’s one of a kind snow biking trail. The trail is fifteen miles long and features steep descents, flowing terrain and some beautiful scenery. Beat the cold and work up a sweat instead!
2. Construction Season is next…winter has been miserable, but every time the roads dry out for a day or two, it’s obvious that road crews have an obscene amount of road damage and potholes to remedy. So enjoy this while you can, with spring comes Michigan’s second season–construction.
3. 4,000 miles of Snowmobiling Trails
If you just need to drive something besides your vehicle, take a weekend and try snomobiling in Michigan. Rental places are now as common as marinas in the summer time and many hotels close to trails offer “Stay and Play” packages that include rentals for the day. Aside from the fact that it’s fun and a good way to see our state, there’s no better style than full on snowsuit and a helmet that weighs as much as a watermelon.
4. 40+ Ski Resorts
While Michigan isn’t always considered the skiing/snowboarding destination in comparison to the midwestern states, there are a surprising number of cool places to hit the slopes here in the mitten! A personal favorite is Crystal Mountain, but check this list for a full account of places you can snag a lift ticket. Don’t forget to check for specials–many resorts offer deals for good report cards, or for skiing on an off day!
5. Pine Mountain Ski Jump
While the idea of a ski jump terrifies me, Iron Mountain boasts the largest man made ski slide in the world. The annual Jump Weekend is one big party for viewers as 20,000 people huddle up to watch the brave souls vault off of this thing. This winter, Jump Weekend is happening as this article goes to press (February 6 through 9), so you may just want to go see the jump for yourself and ski the rest of the day at Pine Mountain. Or sit inside by a fireplace the rest of the day at Pine Mountain.
6. We won #8 and #1 for the snowiest universities in the country!
Winning awards is always a warm and fuzzy. Thanks to Accuweather, Michigan scored twice on the list of the ten snowiest universities in America. Coming in at number eight is Western Michigan University, which is commendable. However, let us take off our hats to the students attending the Michigan Technological University, who officially must go to class in the snowiest weather around.
7. Hot Chocolate
Don’t you dare underestimate the power of liquid chocolate. Mid-Michigan’s WNEM rounded up five of the finest places to drink a cuppa and declared Journey’s Coffee House of Midland the producer of the best hot chocolate around. Drink it at a bookstore, drink it at a ski resort, drink it in your living room–just enjoy sipping a beverage warmer than the air.
Let us know if you have any more ideas for surviving these last six (I say eight) weeks of winter!
Drive safely and Stay Warm,