Archive for the ‘Winter & Winter Sports’ Category
Tuesday, April 9th, 2013
Reports are putting the snowfall total for Leelanau County and the Sleeping Bear Dunes at around 125 inches for the season; in other words, a beautifully average winter.
Check out season through the camera lens of one of northern Michigan’s best known photographers, Ken Scott, and this slideshow that might make you a little sorry to see Old Man winter go.
From sunsets over the Empire Bluffs to starry skies over the Manitou Islands, Ken Scott has compiled a wonderful array of winter images from the Sleeping Bear Dunes on flickr. If you like what you see, check out Scott’s website for more information on posters, postcards and frame-quality prints.
Saturday, January 12th, 2013
Last month, The Homestead announced an incredible new deal for families heading to northern Michigan this ski season — kids 17 and under ski and snowboard for FREE.
Check out the details and get the scoop on other local offers and promotions free for the taking this holiday season.
Kids Ski Free
The Pitch: No restrictions, no blackout dates, and no fine print lead up to savings that that could amount to what a family would pay for gas to drive here. The Homestead’s “kids 17 and under ski free” deal kicks off as soon as the snow flies.
How It Works: Families (including kids) must be registered guests at The Homestead; at least one parent must have purchased a same day, all day, lift ticket; proof of relationship must be presented.
Need to Know: Call 231.334.5100 for more information or to make your reservation.
The Pitch: Movie goers get a free small popcorn when attending any regularly priced movie on Tuesdays at the Traverse City State Theatre.
How It Works: The State Theatre is already known around town as having the cheapest concessions of any movie theatre in Traverse City. On average a soda and a small popcorn costs less than five dollars, except on Tuesdays when they give the latter away.
Need to Know: Check the online, State Theatre movie schedule for show times.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Guided Snowshoe Hikes
The Pitch: Not only is snowshoeing easy, fun and good exercise, it’s also an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. Ranger-led snowshoe hikes at the Sleeping Bear Dunes allow visitors an opportunity to look for signs of wildlife or evidence of ancient glaciers or to simply experience a winter wonderland.
How It Works: Hikes happen on Saturdays, from 1:00 to 3:00, every January and February. The National Lakeshore has a limited supply of snowshoes and provides them to visitors free of charge on designated tour days. Participants meet at the Visitor’s Center in Empire and only need to purchase a park entrance pass to join in the fun.
Need to Know: Space is limited, so call 231-326-5134, extension 328 for more details and to make your reservations.
The Pitch: The best burger deal in Glen Arbor is back this winter. Every Monday night is free burger night at Art’s Tavern.
How It Works: Free burger night happens at Art’s from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Monday. Not available over Christmas and the New Year holidays. Buy one burger and get the second one (amounting to the same of lesser value) free.
Need to Know: Call Art’s Tavern at 231.334.3754 for more information on “Burger Monday” as well as other weekly specials.
Thursday, January 5th, 2012
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Superintendent Dusty Shultz is pleased to announce that the entrance fee to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) will be waived during the upcoming holiday weekend, beginning Saturday, January 14 and continuing through Monday, January 16.
The National Lakeshore, along with the other 397 units of the national park system, will waive the entrance fees as part of a nationwide initiative to encourage everyone to visit and experience the many wonders of their national parks acrossAmerica. The other fee-free days this year include: April 21-29 (National Park Week), June 9 (Get Outdoors Day), September 29 (National Public Lands Day), and November 10-12 (Veterans Day Weekend).
Winter is a great time to explore the National Lakeshore. Visit the Philip A. Hart Visitor Center in Empire (open 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily) to learn about all the park has to offer in winter. Bring your inner tube or saucer and enjoy the designated sliding hill at the Dune Climb, or cross-country ski/snowshoe one of the many trails in the park. Also, don’t forget to join us for a Park Ranger-led snowshoe hike every Saturday. Hikes begin at 1:00 p.m. at the Visitor Center. Reservations are encouraged. Park Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are limited to 30 participants. Please call 231-326-5135, ext. 328, for details and to make reservations.
For more in-depth information, please call the National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134 or visit their website at www.nps.gov/slbe.
Wednesday, December 28th, 2011
Official Press Release of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintner’s Association
December 22, 2011
December is the time for the Ice Wine Harvest in Northern Michigan. Ice wine is a rare and wonderful dessert wine unique to cool climate wine regions like Leelanau.
‘When you want something truly amazing, ice wine is the nectar of the gods.”
~winemaker Alan Eaker of Longview Winery
The Leelanau Peninsula in Northern Michigan is an ideal location to grow and harvest grapes for ice wines. Located right on the 45th Parallel, Leelanau is on the same latitude as some of the best wine growing regions in the world including the Rhone Valley in France, the Piedemont in Italy, and the Williamette Valley in Oregon.
“Many of the ice wines made in Northern Michigan consistently rival those from the great ice wine producing regions around the world. -Lee Lutes, winemaker at Black Star Farms. ”Our region is extremely well suited for the production of ice wine because of our unique climate.
The shape and location of the Leelanau Peninsula is also important in producing ice wines. The long, somewhat narrow shape provides a superior micro-climate. Leelanau is surrounded by Lake Michigan on three sides, and is perfectly buffered from harsh weather which allows for a gradual freeze.
Ice wine or ‘eiswein’, from its German origins, is a rare and wonderful dessert wine that requires special care and skill. Limited quantities of healthy grapes are left on the vine until conditions are right for an ice wine harvest. This can occur anytime from November to the first of the year. The labor-intensive harvest requires picking grapes that have frozen on the vine by hand, often before the sun has risen. Quantities harvested are small, and the grapes must also be pressed while frozen, providing a concentrated grape juice that gives ice wine a deep sweetness that is balanced by high acidity.
Due to the labor intensive harvest and small quantities of suitable grapes, ice wines are generally rare and expensive. Here are some of our Leelanau Peninsula Ice Wines, which we hope you will get a chance to sample:
Black Star Farms: A Capella Riesling Ice Wine
Verterra: Vignoles Ice Wine, NorthPole
Price: $40 (375ml)
Good Neighbor Organics: Organic ice wine
45 North: Icebox Gewurtztraminer
Longview – Winter Ice
Bel Lago: Pinot Grigio Ice Wine 2011
release date: Spring 2012
Watch Black Star Farms as they harvest grapes in the YouTube video 2007 Ice Wine Harvest.
The Leelanau Peninsula Vintner’s Association was formed in 2000 with a goal to help spread the word about all the wonderful things the Leelanau Peninsula has to offer including a growing number of award-winning wineries, excellent restaurants and a rich agricultural history. Today, it is the largest and strongest of the four organized wine trails in Michigan which promote the state’s nearly $790 million grape/wine industry.
Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011
Explore Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (National Lakeshore) on snowshoes this winter! Join Park Rangers for a guided snowshoe hike this holiday season and every Saturday throughout the winter. The first hike of the season will be on Thursday, December 29 at 1:00 p.m. Thereafter, regularly scheduled Saturday snowshoe hikes will start up again on Saturday, January 7 at 1:00 p.m. Meet at the National Lakeshore Visitor Center in Empire. If you do not have your own, snowshoes will be loaned out at no charge.
Inside the Visitor Center, Park Rangers will first provide basic snowshoeing instructions and then everyone will travel by car to the trailhead or area of the National Lakeshore pre-selected for that day. Once there, the Park Ranger will help participants learn about the park’s unique features and winter’s effect on them by exploring and discovering clues on site. Be prepared and plan to be outside until about 3:00 p.m. Dress in layers and wear waterproof boots to be most comfortable.
Not only is snowshoeing easy, fun, and good exercise, it is also an activity that can be enjoyed by all ages. The Park Ranger-led hikes are mildly strenuous, yet they proceed at a leisurely pace for only one and a half miles at the most.
Since the National Park Service has a supply of snowshoes for use within the National Lakeshore, participants need only purchase the park entrance pass or have an annual pass to join in the fun. Reservations are required. Park Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are limited to 30 participants.
For more information, please call the National Lakeshore at 231-326-5134, extension 328, for details and to make reservations or visit the website at www.nps.gov/slbe. Also, check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/sbdnl.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 397 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
This is an official press release from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Empire. Release date: December 9, 2011. Contact: Lisa Griebel, 231-326-5134, ext. 301, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
According to AccuWeather.com long-range weather experts, the Midwest and Great Lakes regions will be “dealt the worst of winter this year.” 2011-2012 will be the fifth winter in a row with snowfall well above normal and temperatures well below average for Chicago, our neighbor to the south. Paul Pastelok, a long-range weather forecaster with AccuWeather.com said this winter will be similar to last year, in terms on both snow and cold. Last year there was one big storm that brought a lot of snowfall, but this year there will be several large storms.
The long-range weather forecasting team predicts our neighbors to the west in Minneapolis will have “especially awful” cold. Since we are a neighboring state, we are likely to get some of the cold as well.
AccuWeather Lake Effect Snow Predictions 2012
La Niña is to blame for what is to come. La Niña’s occur when sea surface temperatures across the pacific are below normal. La Niña’s tend to bring winter storms early in the season, usually in December. There will be a long, frigid January and February. Even winter weather lovers have had enough of cold and snow by early spring, but the La Niña may keep the cold weather in the area well into spring.
Farmers Almanac Winter 2012 Predictions
The Farmers Almanac also predicts “average temps, very white, wet” winter for the Great Lakes. A very active storm track will bring heavier-than-normal precipitation (that means snow) to the area.
The Old Farmers Almanac reports that the Upper Midwest, including Traverse City, will have colder than normal temperatures with the heaviest snowfall in early and mid-December, early to mid-February and again in mid-March. They predict the first snowfall to occur the first week of November with rain and snow mix in mid-November and finally turning to snow in late November.
For those of you who can understand a ”prognostic discussion for long-lead seasonal outlooks,” it may be worth a read on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Predictions webpage. They update there predictions frequently.
Blog by Ileana Habsburg-Snyder (I love snowy winters, but without ice storms)
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
Listening to the Ranger (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
Although everyone is ready for spring, Mother Nature brought Northern Michigan a big surprise with a late-season snowstorm by dumping 13 and 16 inches of beautiful fresh snow on the area. Cold temperatures and beautiful sunny weather followed. The national park rangers quickly organized one more snowshoe hike to take advantage of the glorious sunny weather. Mark Lindsay attended the event and captured the gorgeous scenery in beautiful color photography.
Approaching Werner Barns (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
The snowshoe hike was lead by a National Park ranger and an intern. The rangers lead the group to Werner Farm in Port Oneida Historic District. Frederick and Margareta Werner came from Germany and settled on the land on September 18, 1855. They were only the second family to settle in the Pyramid Point area; their farm is the oldest mainland farm surviving the early settlement period.
Ranger Giving a History Lesson (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
The farm was originally 204 acres and was used to grow potatoes, corn and grains. They also raised cows and produced cream for making butter. Although they only had four cows the Werner’s were the largest dairy operation in the area. They were also the third most valuable farm in Port Oneida. The Werners sold wood from their forest, slaughtered animals and maintained an apple and peach orchard.
Werner Stone Barn (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
The farm was handed down through several generations. Eventually Fredrick and Margaretta’s great grandson, Franklin, purchased the farm in 1943. According to Franklin, the farm ceased operations in the 1930s because they could not produce enough crops to be profitable.
Wooden Werner Barn (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
The existing structures are being preserved by PRESERVE Historic Sleeping Bear, a non-profit organization with a mission to preserve the natural landscape and cultural structures. The barn is one of the largest in the area and is in excellent condition given its age. It is only one of two stone buildings of its kind in Port Oneida.
Gorgeous Day! (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
Blog by Ileana Habsburg-Snyder and Mark Lindsay
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
Mark Lindsay is a photographer that frequently posts photographs of Sleeping Bear Dunes on our Facebook wall. On March 1st and 2nd he posted three photographs with descriptions of what it was like the moment he captured the spectacular ice formations on his camera. Enjoy!
Facebook Post on March 1, 2011, 7:33 am, “Ice Dreams”
Ice Dreams (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
Now folks I have been known to tell a tall tale every now and again, but seriously here goes…I traveled west to find ice on the shores of Lake Michigan. Turn left and right here …oh my gosh, there it was, all the ice I have ever wanted.
Quickly I went through my checklist, threw my gear on and tried to slow my heart rate down! Anyway, again I got to walk on pure ice! As pure as the 50mph winds and cold temps from the night before. Folks, again I was surrounded by a glorious grandness. I knelt, I felt and I turned over to lay flat on the ice. I wanted to be one with it.
I heard the crashing of the waves on the shores, so I moved towards, and climbed down the ice wall to the polished stone beach. The ice was gigantic from this perspective. I climbed behind an ice structure to block the waves from my upper body. I hunkered down and tucked my legs in and wrapped my arms around myself, like I was bear-hugging me body. But what I was doing was immersing myself in a moment. Not knowing how long I needed, I closed my eyes and listened to the waves stirring the slush-ice and finally crashing along the shores. It was wooshingly soothing!
“I was not alone.” That is what I was thinking. You know the feeling. Time must have moved, but it felt so still, so calm. I opened my eyes, I was still here. The ice was so softly white, it was highlighted with a magical light, coming from a setting sun, and as I started to stand, I noticed a couple standing and staring out into Lake Michigan. I was not alone. Rarely am I though!Again I was on the receiving end of a true blessing. Oh What a Life!
Facebook Post on March 1, 2011, 7:42 am, “Ice Breakers”
Ice Breakers (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
The wind blows across the water. The blown water makes a wave. The waves rush to the beach only to be turned away, but in doing so they make the most soothing sounds. They repeat, one after another, almost as if they are never going to stop. On this day, the waves were gentle. They spoke, I listened. The water was moved by the wind, and I was moved by the waves. I was here today to capture beauty and the beauty captured me! It wrapped itself around me and led me to a incredibly peaceful, happy place. All this caused by a little wind! What a Life!
Facebook Post on March 2, 2011, 2:04 pm, “Beautiful Ice on Lake Michigan”
Beautiful Ice on Lake Michigan (Photo by Mark Lindsay)
Mark Lindsay: “This was the tail end of a day trip spent along the shores of Lake Michigan with my youngest son, Jack. We started with a Polar Dip in Empire and traveled south and hit all the simple entry points along M-22. We went to Frankfort for a quick coffee break and there was a snow-cross right down Main Street. Many photo opportunities today and lots of running up and down icy beaches for Jack!! Grand Day!”
Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitors Bureau: “Is this photo for real? Wow! Spectacular is not a strong enough word!”
Mark Lindsay: “It is certainly real, very much touchable and it was wonderful spending some time tucked down below it and listening to the waves washing up little pieces of ice on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was almost like little chimes rattling an awesome tune!”
Photographers, we really love when you post on our Facebook wall to share the beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes. We also love it when you tell us what it is like the moment you captured it on film (digital card). We welcome any blog articles or Facebook posts like the one above. Feel free to post on our Facebook wall or if you would like to write a blog article (it is really easy to do), email it to email@example.com with jpgs of your photographs or we can download them from of Facebook.
Blog by Ileana Habsburg-Snyder and Mark Lindsay
Friday, March 11th, 2011
Guest Blogger and Photographer, Mark Lindsay
Mark Lindsay posted this photograph and comments on Facebook this week. They were so beautiful and awe inspiring that we had to share them here.
Ice Mound on Lake Michigan by Mark Lindsay
This is, or now once was, one of the most beautiful pieces of ice I have had the pleasure of spending time with. I want to call it something more than a piece of ice, it was so wonderfully soft and white and had the most beautiful aqua blues throughout, as if it had been colored. Again I found myself on my knees, staring in absolute awe at this marvelous creation that Nature had created. And at that very moment, it had been created just for me. The sun was a warming sun and the sky was created, at that moment to be a gorgeous blue, fitting a beautiful background to this gorgeous piece of Art.
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
We stumbled on several blog posts by Jonathan Schechter on his Earth’s Almanac blog. Below is his second in a series of winter hikes through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Reprinted by permission.
The moment was primordial and unscripted and occured about one-hour, cross-country ski time long the Alligator Hill Trail, a meandering trail that crosses some of the wilder sections of Sleeping Bear Dunes and affords excellent views of Lake Michigan. I had just descended a long down hill section and stopped to pause and take in the sights of the deep woods in an area of windfalls. Steep hills were on both sides. Large trees, snapped near their bases told me storms command this land. And then just when I dropped my ski poles to the ground, and unzipped my coat (exposing my camera in the process) and was about to stuff my mittens within the coat before answering my call of nature’s need, I detected movement 30 yards away. I was not alone.
An adult coyote stood and stared. I know he saw me, but he would not look directly at me. I suspect he had been cat napping in the snow and perhaps my falling poles, or descending zipper noise told him he had company. He appeared startled. But he did not bolt. I quickly yipped twice hoping to hold his attention: His glance at me could have been amusement or perhaps it was a look of disgust, “Hey stupid, I know you are not a coyote.” But for the next 30 seconds we watched each other. He kept glancing around for reasons I do not know, and that encouraged me to do the same. I turned back around and with out even a goodbye, old yellow eyes melted magically back into the forest. Note my use of “melted magically”. If I was not a fan of wild things I would have said, “slinked sullenly”. But it will be a long time before I forgot our shared dance of observation, in a peaceful and raw moment of interactions.
Coyote without Camera Zoom (Photo by Jonathan Schechter)
Jonathan Schechter, a naturalist and resident of Brandon Township with a passion for outdoor adventure and severe weather events writes a weekly hiking column for the Oakland Press. He lives on 11 acres with a rich mix of wildlife, meadows, woods and wetlands. He has a Master of Science Degree in Forest Resources from the U. of Washington and is an active member of the Wilderness Medical Society certified in Advanced Wilderness Life Support. His writings and nature photos reveal ways humans are subtly yet dynamically altering the behavior of wildlife leading to a corruption of nature’s way and wildlife behavior. Join his Earth Almanac blog as Jonathan shares thoughts on our natural world in Oakland County and beyond. Visit his blog, Earth’s Almanac.