Winter is upon us, but Michigan is far from hibernation. No need to worry about coming down with a case of cabin fever this winter: Accumulating ice and snow means accumulating winter activities. Michigan's Forecast this winter? Lake effect snow sports. It's the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and try something new.
Who let the dogs out?
Winter is for the dogs in Northern Michigan. Mushers offer dog sledding for a few hours, or even a few days. Overnight trippers with Nature's Kennel Sled Dog Racing & Adventures stay in Musher's Village, where guests stay in a yurt and cabin and could enjoy a wood-fired sauna and snowshoeing.
An Olympian endeavor.
The Muskegon Winter Sports Complex is an arena for ice skating, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. It's also home to one of only four luge tracks that exist in the United States. The 850 feet of track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley and consists of six curves and two starting areas.
Hit the slopes.
Avid skiers and snowboarders may head west for mountainous slopes, but Michigan ranks second in the United States for the number of skiing areas. With 49 ski areas, 269 lifts, 50 terrain parks, nearly 1,000 runs and the only ski flying hill in the country, Michigan is a prime powder paradise.
The path less traveled.
Each winter season, Michigan's stunning icefalls, cliffs and rock slabs wait to be conquered. Michigan boasts some of the best ice climbing spots in the United States—especially thanks to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore's miles of sandstone cliffs lined with hundreds of frozen waterfalls.
Now, that's a polar plunge.
With so many great lakes, Michigan offers some of the best shipwreck diving in the world. Thousands of sunken ships rest at the bottom of the Great Lakes, some dating back to the 1600s. The best time of year to view wrecks? During winter, when the ice coating Lake Michigan acts as a sealant against wind, boats and people who stir up the lakebed. Winter driving may not be fun in Michigan, but winter visibility is crystal clear beneath the ice. Huron Scuba offers lessons on how to safely dive beneath the ice.
Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for West Michigan Woman.
Photo Courtesy of Nature's Kennel Sled Dog Racing & Adventures.