They’re only here for one season—so get in on the wintertime fun while you can at these top Michigan destinations for snowy sports.
MICHIGAN—Winter sports are a pretty big deal here in Michigan. And for these winter sports parks, the end of Michigan’s warmer months means the fun is only just beginning.
Enjoy them while you can.
There are only four luge tracks in the country, and Michigan has two of them—including this popular wintertime hotspot located within Muskegon State Park. At 850 feet long, the track was designed by Luge Hall of Famer Frank Masley to be much shorter than those used in the Olympics, making it much easier (and much slower) for first-time lugers to handle.
Visitors can also find a quarter-mile ice skating trail and a rink for both skating and hockey. Daily equipment rentals are available for less than $10. The sports park also takes extra care for its guests with disabilities, including special sleds for those with physical disabilities.
This Mid-Michigan park is the home of the state’s only hand-packed toboggan runs. The elevated, .11-mile inclines are incredibly weather dependent, usually requiring an atmospheric temperature of 20 degrees or less. But with the right riding conditions, you can glide through 520 acres of forest. Rentals are available. Children must be 42’’ tall to ride.
The City Forest Park includes groomed trails for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, as well as a sledding hill, ice rink, and several mountain biking trails. The City Forest Chalet also offers equipment rentals—and tasty hot cocoa for warming up after a day in the snow.
Porkies Winter Sports Complex (Ontonagon)
Traversing the Upper Peninsula in the middle of winter can be dicey, but the stunning views of the snow-covered Porcupine Mountains’ beside Lake Superior always make it worth the trip. And while you’re there, this winter sports complex will be sure to keep you entertained.
The Up North skiing opportunities at the park rival those in mountainous states like Colorado, featuring a total of 20 downhill runs for a variety of skill levels. Only three are for beginners—so consider getting some practice before you head up the slopes. Besides downhill skiing with wide open spaces and fun jumps, the complex also features 20 miles of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire biking. Rentals are available.
Timberlee Hills (Traverse City)
Michigan’s largest no-lane snow tubing hill is located in Traverse City.
The handle tow rope system at Timberlee Hills guides tubes back up the hill, making repeat rides effortless. The only requirement? Be at least 4 years old, and buy tickets in advance online. Multiple fire pits are also available at the base of the tubing hill to warm up between runs. After, guests can head inside the lodge to relax at the full-service kitchen and bar.
Winter Sports Park (Petoskey)
This Up North park features two ice rinks, including one specifically for hockey, with “ice scooters” available for newbies who need a little help. The rest of the park is divided up into sections—including separate areas for sledding, skiing and snowboarding.
Rentals are available. The warming house also features a variety of amenities, including a fireplace, free wi-fi, board games, and treats like hot chocolate, pretzels, pizza and soda.
Echo Valley (Kalamazoo)
Echo Valley is a hill for all ages with a flat rate for unlimited daily fun. Admission is bundled with equipment rental for a simple rate of $20 per person—with no charge for spectators.
Visitors can choose to toboggan or tube down the hill, and use a tow rope to effortlessly sail back to the top. The nearby warming lodge offers a warm, rustic lodge atmosphere and large observation deck. Don’t feel like getting cold? Sit back inside, and enjoy a snack by the fire.
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