The Midwest – It’s Phlat!

People who live in areas where the ground actually has undulation maybe won’t be able to relate to this, but still it’s too funny not to share. Here in Mid-Michigan the latest craze has been Nordic Snowboarding or “XC Boarding”. Developed by flatlanders Joel Warren and Tate Evans, Cross Country Snowboarding’s roots are humble. But with an ever-increasing interest in recreation pushing the envelope, this one just may have some legs, especially in parts of the country where you can see your dog run away for 3 days.

Don’t take it from me, watch the 3 minute demonstration yourself. Just as promotional health host Cal Johnson, who decribes Cross Country Snowboarding as “a safe, low-impact cardio activity, with the great cool factor, to get you noticed on the nordic track.”


Find Solitude in an Urban Setting

Sometimes you just have to get away.  It’s especially nice if you don’t have to drive a haul to find that “away”.  My quick escape often is at Rose Life Wildlife Preserve which is a 10 minute drive from our place.  I frequent Rose Lake State Wildlife Preserve near Bath, MI on a consistent basis in all four seasons because of this exact proximity.  In the spring, I trail run before the foliage gets too thick, and in the summer and fall, I strap on my helmet and shred it’s tipsy-turvey single track (if it’s not too buggy).  But in the winter is where I have the most fun, and the most solitude.  I am able to glide amongst the tress on my XC Skis, on the same track I run and bike without noise or walker, biker, runner encounter.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hermit, but I do appreciate the opportunity when there is nothing around but my dog Gus, the whoosh of snow, and wind through the trees.

Some solitude in Mid-Michigan
I am a caffiene-jacked, iPhone-wired,  spreadsheets geek just the same as the next guy, but I truely cherish these opportunities so close to home.  While Rose Lake may not be the true definition of “wilderness”, but when the snow is falling, and there is nothing around but trees and skis, at that moment it is!
Find your own by visiting your DNR website.

A Free Ride

A nice little touch/ plug by two of my home resorts.  Big Sky and Moonlight Basin are offering killer deals to those of us with season passes at resorts around the country with pathetic snowpack (if any at all).

Less-than-great snow conditions are killing season pass holders around the country from Colorado and California to Vermont, while Montana is enjoying good ski conditions compared to the rest of the west and east…and central for that matter.  A few large storms this year have dumped close to 100 inches, and Big Sky has 3,381 skiable acres open so far – which is the most in the Rocky Mountains.  Because of Colorado’s lack of snowfall, Big Sky and Moonlight are offering great deals.  Colorado EPIC ski pass holders can ski Big Sky for the month of January for FREE, and may ski Moonlight for only $49!

Hiking Headwaters at Moonlight Basin

“Big Sky has about twice the open acreage that Vail and Breckenridge do right now, plus we’ve had some great powder,” said Chad Jones, Big Sky Resort Public Relations Manager. “And with other Epic Pass resorts like Heavenly at under 200 acres, we decided to share the wealth.  We’re a skier’s and rider’s mountain, and no one should miss out on good snow just because they live in Colorado or California.”

That’s not all.  Moonlight Basin is also getting in on the act, offering ALL season pass holder from ALL resorts around the country to ski their pristine glades for only $49.

So stop praying for snow, and just go get it!

Porkie Pow(d)er!

Backcountry Porkie Powder!

We all know that Porcupine Mountains State Park “The Porkies” are best served in the fall, when the color wheel of leaves is awe-inspiring.  But as locals will tell you, the winter will offer the solitude you crave, and the opportunity to frolic in some of the deepest, lightest snow east of the Rockies (around 200 inches per year).

Porkies Yurt

The park has almost 100 miles of designated ski trails that come complete with panorama views of Lake Superior “Gitchee Gumee” shoreline, and peaceful glides through deep forest in a winter wonderland!  For a quick six-miler, follow the interpretive trail to the south from the visitor center and the Nonesuch trail past the ski area to the Superior Loop.  On the way enjoy sweeping views of  the big lake.  The Deer Yard Trail will loop you back home to the visitor center, but you can also turn this into a weekend trip.  Reserve a spot and get one of the rustic backcountry cabins that are ski-in (Details HERE).  Be sure to book in advance!

Gitchee Gumee

Backcountry Ski Touring…in the Midwest?

Backcountry skiing and the Midwest are about as far apart as you can get.  But hold on!  Marquette Backcountry is introducing a unique backcountry touring ski that mixes the ease of mobility in a snowshoe and smooth gliding of a BC ski.

So let’s say you live in Michigan, or Wisconsin where the forest is thick and the hills small, but rolling.  Imagine being able to glide amongst the spruces in deep lake-effect snow effortlessly, while you make a turn or two down a decline, and can move uphill with just as much ease!

They key is quarter-sized fish scales on the ski’s base catch snow, and allow you to move up without sliding backwards.  Then the placement of the scales allows your ski to slide downhill just as easy.  The ski allows several binding options depending on the stiffness of boot, and style of skiing!

The materials for the ski are sourced domestically in Michigan and are 100% recyclable. It’s made of polypropylene, glass, silicone and brass. (MSRP $189)

I just may have to give these babies a shot!