• Elizabeth Listerman

Best Outdoor Activities in Grand Rapids During the Winter

We all know Michigan winter can be the hardest. Snow shoveling, icy roads, cold cars, freezing breath, bundled up coats, and chilly drafts, Winter isn’t exactly the season that Michiganders look forward to. It instead is the season where we hibernate inside our homes and stick to the indoors as much as possible. That’s understandable due to -10 degrees wind chill and 3 feet of snow looming outside our front door. But also, Michigan has the most beautiful winters.

White show piling perfectly on thin barren branches, Christmas lights adorning houses, icicles catching the morning light, and Christmas trees seen in every home’s window— winter is beautiful in Michigan. Even with the chilly, crisp air, and piles of snow, you can still enjoy winter outside with family and friends. There are so many fun winter activities that come along with the season, and if you bundle up appropriately then you can enjoy them perfectly.

Let’s dive into some local winter activities that you can partake in this upcoming chilly season!

The most popular winter sports of all: Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding!

· Cannonsburg Ski Area

· Bittersweet Ski Resort

· Timber Ridge

· Mulligan’s Hollow Ski Bowl

Skiing is such an adrenaline rush! I went for the first time last winter and loved it! Now I am an avid fan and can’t wait to go back again this winter! Living in Michigan we are lucky we have snow but also that we have an abundance of ski resorts near us. Not only do we have this list that is around the Grand Rapids area, but also we have northern ski resorts that take downhill skiing to the next level—Boyne Mountain and Mount Bohemia to name a couple! These two stops are perfect for a getaway weekend up north with family or friends. Skiing truly lets you enjoy the winter weather fully— admiring the white velvety coating on the tree branches while having that full blast of adrenaline as you speed by them.

Bittersweet Ski Resort is located in Otsego, so it is a small drive outside the Grand Rapids area, but it is worth it! They have an abundance of ski slopes, most accessed by chair lifts but they also have the moving ropes as well. They do ski and boot rentals alongside a lift ticket, but if you already have your own equipment then you are all set. They offer hot, greasy food inside to help you warm your insides, but if you are here for a grand time, then they also offer beer for a beverage. All their slopes are fun and exhilarating and each one is different from the last! I highly recommend a trip to Bittersweet for an awesome day out on the slopes!

Tubing, tubing, tubing, we are going, going, going!

· Cannonsburg Ski Area

· Timber Ridge

Tubing is fun for all ages and requires no skill whatsoever, it is pure joy and adrenaline. The best thing about tubing is that you can go out and buy a tube, and then find any hill in your neighborhood and have an exhilarating time with as much free reign as you can get. It does take a little effort to get up and down the hills if you have just found your own hill, but if you have small little kids I am sure they wouldn’t mind the extra effort.

At Cannonsburg, you don’t have to worry about the “getting back up the hill” part of the experience. There they have conveyor belts that make it easy to get up the hill after a speedy, fun ride down. At Cannonsburg, they have skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, so you can pick your poison with what you want to experience that day. They have snacks and beverages inside, along with heat to help you warm up after too many tumbles on the hills, but most of all they offer you fun! Fun, that will most likely be bringing you back every weekend or every year!

You’ve seen it in romantic holiday movies and grew up watching Ice Princess, so next, we have Ice-Skating!

· Rosa Parks Circle

· Griff’s Icehouse

· Griff’s Georgetown

· Walker Ice & Fitness

Ice-skating wasn’t necessarily my forte. I fell quite a bit and had to retie my skates a lot, but I still had fun. Ice skating is something everyone should do once in their life, either at an ice rink in town or even on a frozen pond. FROZEN, keyword, frozen pond with supervision of course. It’s fun to gather with friends and family and experience ice-skating together for the first time, it’s nerve-wracking but in the end, it is super fun and a great time.

Rosa Parks Circle is a dream among ice arenas. For one, it is outdoors so bland white walls don't surround you, but instead, you are surrounded by the downtown city life. It’s a beautiful experience and gives off very New York City vibes with the whole Rockefeller Center aesthetic you see on Home Alone. You can skate for an hour or so and then take a walk around downtown stopping at any local restaurants for a quick bite or enjoy warm chocolate from Kilwins on the corner!

Cross country ski and enjoy the relaxing journey across snow-covered terrain!

· Palmer Park Cross Country Skiing at Kaufman Golf Course

· Pigeon Creek Park

· Indian Trails Golf Course

Cross country skiing is for those who are chill and perspective at heart. And for those who enjoy hiking, this is the winter activity for you! Cross country skiing takes hiking and pairs it alongside snow. You get to ski slowly across beautiful terrain where you can enjoy the solstice of winter and the peace of the wild, untouched forest and hills. It is a relaxing experience and lets you enjoy the company of your partner or even the company of your own thoughts as you drift across snow covered land.

Indian Trails Golf Course trades in its greens for snowy hills as it transitions into winter. Not only do they offer trails for cross country skiing, but they also have trails for snowshoeing and tracks for flat tire biking. This business embodies those winter activities that you don’t see as often and lets you experience them all in one place. So whether, you want to ski and enjoy the scenery, take a traditional route and snowshoe, or kill some energy by biking— then Indian Trails is the place for you and your family on a snowy weekend evening.

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