3 things to do this winter right here in Pure Michigan

3 things to do this winter right here in Pure Michigan

Pure Michigan | Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Far fewer people are flying to Florida and other warm-weather destinations this winter. That means there’s even more opportunity than normal for Michiganders to get out and enjoy their own state’s snowy paradise.

Are you ready to travel local and give Alpine tubing a try? How about a wintry zipline adventure tour or some fat tire snow biking? Maybe a cross-country ski trek or a casual hike through snow-covered woods is more your pace.

“You don’t have to do the black diamond runs at Mount Bohemia Adventure Resort to enjoy winter,” said Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan. “We have it all here whether you’re into downhill skiing, ice fishing, fat tire biking, whatever it is.

“You just need to get out there. We’ve had to be in our houses way too much this past year.”

RELATED: Find rental equipment for skiing, cross country, fat tire biking, snowshoeing and other winter activities

With multiple COVID-19 vaccines being distributed, there’s hope that life will return to normal at some point in 2021. Until then, Michigan’s tourism industry is working hard to make travel as normal as possible.

For example, the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association came together to create uniform standards of operation to help ensure that people can enjoy Michigan’s winter wonderland safely. When you visit one of the state’s many ski areas, you can know that there’s advance lift ticket purchasing available online and touch-free rental equipment pickup. There’s reduced capacity on the hills to promote safe social distancing and chairlifts limited to the people in your own party. Facemasks are being required, but then when you’re flying down the hill you’d be wearing one anyway!

With those precautions – and Mother Nature doing its part by sending fresh, white snow to supplement the solid base already in place – the stage is set for a typical ski season.

“It’s perfect right now with tons of snow,” Lorenz said. “It seems like normal except for a few little changes.

“You just print out your pass (at home) or there’s a kiosk at the resort where you print out your pass and, there you go, you put it on your gear and get going. It’s so easy.”

In addition to all of Michigan’s ski areas, the winter playground of the Midwest also is home to more than 11,000 lakes for ice fishing, or just skipping stones over the frozen surface. There are endless miles of trails for high-octane snowmobiling, or just walking through the serene beauty of a landscape coated with snow.

person standing on top of a snowy hill looking into a forested valleyIf you’re up for an extreme winter activity, try ice climbing frozen waterfalls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. For a unique adventure the whole family can enjoy, go winter rafting on the Sturgeon River in Gaylord. Or, for a more leisurely pursuit, how about snowshoeing through Ludington State Park?

Whichever winter activity fits your style, be sure to give it a try! And when you get hungry, you can experience some new ways of socially distanced dining that are popping up all over Michigan. For example, Treetops Resort in Gaylord is offering igloo dining for up to six people at a time.

You can find igloos elsewhere around the state, too, as well as special patio heaters, tents to block the wind and even greenhouses and shanty towns for unique and relatively warm outdoor dining. Of course, you can also order room service at many ski resorts and other places to stay around Michigan.

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Speaking of room service, lodging operators across the state have signed the Pure Michigan Pledge to help keep guests healthy and safe during their visit. Whether you need a home base for a few days of downhill skiing or just a place to rest your head following an afternoon of hiking, you can know that many of Michigan’s places to stay, restaurants, attractions and outdoor spaces have committed to disinfection and social distancing protocols to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Pure Michigan Pledge logo“We need to vacation to break away from our everyday stress and struggles,” Lorenz said. “We need to travel. And when you are ready to travel, you can travel safely in Michigan.

“We all have a role to play to allow us to travel safely, and if we do these things we can still have a rewarding time.”