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community weblog - [ SNOW ]

Ice climbing gives different perspective

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While some rock climbers are scurrying into climbing gyms to hibernate through another Michigan winter, others are busy donning their winter gear for a cold-weather version of their sport - ice climbing.

In warm weather, rock climbers squeeze fingers and toes into cracks in rock faces as they scale to the top. In cold weather, ice climbers use ax-like tools and spiked boots called crampons to climb anything from ice-covered cliffs to frozen waterfalls.

According to Tommy Pozzi, an instructor at Ann Arbor's Planet Rock climbing gym, ice climbing is more than just a way for rock climbers to get outdoors in the winter.   more...

 



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SnoCountry Reports Latest Skiing Conditions Information

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MIDWEST
Big Powderhorn - Sun 5:00p powder machine groomed 12 - 48 base 27 trails, 100% open, 7 lifts

Bittersweet - Sun 1:20p w packed powder machine groomed 12 - 22 base 11 trails, 73% open, 5 lifts

Blackjack - Sun 6:51a powder machine groomed 16 - 36 base 20 trails, 100% open, 6 lifts

Boyne Highlands - Sun 1:48p packed powder machine groomed 40 - 40 base 50 trails, 100% open, 10 lifts

Boyne Mountain - Sun 1:49p packed powder machine groomed 40 - 40 base 65 trails, 100% open, 13 lifts

Caberfae Peaks - Sun 12:00p w packed powder machine groomed 36 - 49 base 22 trails, 65% open, 4 lifts

Crystal Mountain - Sun 6:42a powder machine groomed 45 - 45 base 45 trails, 100% open, 9 lifts
        
 


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Improved conveyor systems and other resort upgrades highlight what's new on the slopes

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Wonder Carpet conveyor systems for young children and novice skiers are appearing at more Michigan ski resorts. Like a flat escalator, the conveyors gently move beginners up the slopes with easy ons and offs.

"It's a great learning tool ... it makes a great first-time ski experience," says Mark Tibbitts, manager of Mount Holly, which added one of the conveyors. You'll also find them at Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, Crystal Mountain, Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield and Pine Knob in Clarkston.

The big news for more experienced skiers and boarders is new terrain parks, halfpipes and glade runs at various resorts, says Mickey MacWilliams, director of the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association. "These are especially popular with teens and young adults," she says.

Here's a rundown of improvements on slopes and trails across Michigan. For more information, visit www.goskimichigan.com:    more...

 



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15 great winter getaways up north

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As snow falls, things are heating up at state's ski resorts

ImageAs snow wafted through Michigan this week, resorts and ski areas rolled out welcome mats for winter enthusiasts eager to play in Michigan's north country during the holidays and the long, cold months ahead.

Here's a sampler of peak winter experiences this season in northern Michigan:

Best family resort: Crystal Mountain, Thompsonville. Rated No. 1 Resort in the Midwest in SKI magazine's annual readers' poll, this family-friendly favorite in northwest Michigan has it all and serves it up with a smile: downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoes, lessons, races, kids' activities, special events and more. It ranked No. 1 in the poll's lodging and dining categories too. (231) 378-2000; www.crystalmountain.com.    more...

 



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Snowmobile increase aids trails

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State recreation officials are reminding snowmobile enthusiasts that snowmobile trail permits for the 2004-05 winter season are available for $25, an increase of $5 from last year.

The increase is a result of a change to Michigan's snowmobile law, which requires user-pay funding for the maintenance of the state's 6,200 miles of designated snowmobile trails.

"The additional funds are necessary to maintain safe recreational opportunities for snowmobile enthusiasts and others who use these trails," said James Radabaugh, a trails coordinator for the DNR.

The revenues will be used to enhance the DNR trail-grooming program, purchase new grooming equipment, and improve off-season maintenance and pay for the planning and development of new trails.

The snowmobile trail permit is valid for one year. Trail permits are required for anyone operating a snowmobile in Michigan, except when the snowmobile is being operated exclusively on lands owned or under the control of the snowmobile owner or used on the ice for the purpose of augmenting ice fishing activities.

Snowmobile trail permits are available at 1,700 DNR license agents statewide, or from more than 300 Michigan Snowmobile Association agents. For more information, call (517) 373-1276.

 



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Snowfall finally covers ski trails

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FREDERIC -- Remember those winters when you were a kid, and the snow seemed to come earlier and stay later, and it piled up so deep you could dig snow forts with vaulted ceilings and attached garages for the sleds?

You think to yourself, "It was probably just because I was so much smaller and played outside all the time. The winters probably weren't much different from today."

Dave Forbush would give you an argument on that one. The owner of one of Michigan's top cross-country skiing areas has been playing in the snow most of his life, and he said winters now definitely are shorter than 40 years ago, when he used to come up from Lansing to study for his veterinary school exams at the family cabin near Grayling in this Crawford County hamlet.   more...

 



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Input sought for ‘Loaf

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The prospective new owner of Sugar Loaf Resort, Kate Wickstrom, is apparently eager to hear from members of the Leelanau County community about what she should do with the resort once she acquires it.

The resort has been closed for skiing since March 2000. Wickstrom said last week she hoped to finalize her purchase of the resort by mid-January.

Wickstrom has posted a notice on a popular local web site asking for public input on what she should do with Sugar Loaf Resort.

“I am interested in the wants and needs of the community as things move forward,” Wickstrom wrote. “I am open to your ideas and welcome the opportunity to talk with you.”

The web site is located at “leelanau.com” which operates the online “Leelanau Forum.” Within the forum is a separate “Leelanau County Business Forum” where Wickstrom posted her notice under “Sugar Loaf’s Future.” Only two people had responded to Wickstrom’s request for comments as of Wednesday morning.
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A white Christmas? No problem

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Cars on 14th StreetTRAVERSE CITY - Suddenly, it's the dead of winter, but Traverse City seems to have shrugged, bundled up and shopped despite the bad conditions.
      In fact, it's perfect weather for "warm, furry hats," said Phil Anderson, owner of Diversions in downtown Traverse City, where such toppers are flying off the racks.
      "Since the head is the biggest area for heat loss, people like to cover their heads," he said. "And they forget about them until it gets cold."
      An early winter storm was expected to dump several inches of snow on the region and the pre-Christmas forecast is for more snow, wind and temperatures as low as 7 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Gaylord National Weather Service.    more...


 



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Cutter coming along

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MARINETTE, Wis. - A new icebreaker for the Great Lakes is taking shape along the Lake Michigan shoreline at Marinette, Wis., in preparation for the October date it will report for duty at Cheboygan.

The new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) is currently hidden during construction inside a mammoth facility at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard on the Menominee River.

The building measures more than 350 feet long and 250 feet wide, with a ceiling that is 60 feet high. The Mackinaw is being built in one of two 100-foot shipbuilding bays, the other occupied by a new Staten Island ferryboat that will be capable of carrying more than 4,000 passengers and 30 vehicles.   more...


 



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Rouse Simmons on The Weather Channel

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MUSKEGON, Mich (AP) -- It's been 92 years this month since the Rouse Simmons, loaded with more than 5,000 Christmas trees, sank in a raging winter storm on Lake Michigan, but the legacy of what's known as the Christmas Tree Ship continues.

The location of the ship's wreckage was unknown until 1971, when a diver found it near Two Rivers, Wis. Now the ship is being remembered in plays, a cable television documentary and limited edition prints this year.    more...

 

The Story of the Rouse Simmons




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Downhill Favorite

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Great Downhill ActionGuess which resort was again chosen by the annual SKI Magazine readers' poll as the #1 area for snow, grooming, service and value in the Great Lakes? You guessed right-it's Nub's Nob. And the resort has held this distinctive title for 11 straight years. Want to know more about this Northwest Michigan resort?  Then read on…   more...

 

 

 

 

 



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Kalkaska Winterfest 2005 (Jan 15 & 16)

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Be sure to mark your calendars for this date in 2005 for the annual Winterfest. What's in store? Dog Sled Races, with I.S.D.R.A. Sanctioning, dog weight pulls, sanctioned by the IWPA, a silent auction, a chili cook-off, dog sled rides by teh Rapid City PTA, breakfast and lunch available on site and additional vendors are welcome.    more...

 



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Great Winter Events & Exhibits

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Mackinaw WinterfestExciting events abound in Michigan this winter. You'll find winterfests, ice extravaganzas, snowmobile races, winter carnivals, ski events, and fascinating exhibitions just to mention a few.   more...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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Jeff Kent at speed

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Sailing on Lake St. Clair's icy winter winds

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When snow blankets the Michigan landscape and the temperature dips well below freezing, ordinary sailors huddle before a roaring fire while ice sailors head for the frozen waters of Lake St. Clair. Ice boaters spirits soar as the mercury plunges.

      Ice boating or ice yachting, which is known as the fastest of all winter sports, originated more than 4,000 years ago in northern Europe. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, Sweden, houses relics indicating that the first ice boat runners may have been made from bones. Up until the middle of the 18th century, sail-carrying boxes mounted on skates transported cargo and passengers along the frozen canals of Holland. During the American Revolution, European-style ice boats appeared on the Hudson River. And in Michigan lumber camps at the turn of the century, ice boat races entertained lumberjacks cutting the boredom of harsh Michigan winters.    more...

Family affair: When Howard Boston, right, went ice sailing on Lake St. Clair in 1961, the whole Boston clan went along. From left, Julie, 6, Kay, 11, Sue, 13, Spike, 14, Martha, 20, Skip, 21, and dad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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