Alright friends, it’s cold and snowy* in Mid-Michigan. If you booked your Caribbean vacation 4 months ago, good for you! This is for the rest of you looking to get some fresh air in the cold months.
I’m going to focus on activities you can *only* do when it’s cold or snowy. Since movement is the key to warmth, Cross Country (Nordic) Skiing can be learned in a few hours. It also takes a lifetime to master so I tell students, when you fall, it means you’re trying! Burchfield Park and Harris Nature Center both will rent you a pair of skis/shoes/poles. Burchfield Park packs down ski trails making it easier to learn and ski faster.
These other snow activities can have a shorter learning curve. Snowshoeing is a lot like walking, but backing up can be difficult. Ice skating is speedy fun when you find a frozen lake without snow. Early season cold usually sees the local lakes freeze up. East Lansing City hosts outdoor skating at Valley Court Park. Sledding in your sloped driveway is fun, but other good spots are Raney and Bancroft Parks in Lansing. Burchfield and Hawk Island Parks rent tubes for sliding down their hills. With your own gear, you can play for free at your local park or preserve.
Snow can be pretty…and cold. Let’s talk about layers. The idea is that layers trap air between the clothes. If the air trapped in between is warm, then so are you. From sweaters in summer to shorts in winter, I say this--if you need a layer, wear it! Answer the question: How long can I handle this weather? Three layers matter in variable cold: insulating fleece/wool, water resistant, and wind blocking. Some products claim all three! Most winter clothing only does one thing well. If you must choose one active layer, find something insulating, not cotton and 90% water resistant.
As the snow holds on into April, you’ll have to get creative. Got some new cold weather skills, imagine a winter campout at Rose Lake State Natural Area. Winter bike commuting is a good option if you find a fat-tire bike or invest in some metal-studded tires to grab the icy pavement. For trail adventures, try running with snowshoes for a challenge. There are a number of ski races and organized events short distances Lansing.
My last piece of advice is this: Bring a friend. Make a friend. Be a friend. Keeping warm together (or miserably cold) makes the experience more fun, statistically safer, and your stories wilder at your favorite taproom. To you weekend warriors and couch surfers alike, let’s get outside, stay active and have fun!
**I make no claims about the safety of any of these activities. Plan ahead, ask around, or get in touch for more information!
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