Archive for the ‘Winter & Winter Sports’ Category
Friday, November 15th, 2013
While the official start of the winter is still over a month away, weather wonks are already predicting colder than normal temperatures leading into the 2013-2014 snow season. How are you getting ready?
Whether you like to run, bike, hike or ski, enjoying your favorite winter activity means prepping gear, replacing worn out equipment, and generally getting in shape. Here’s a roundup of websites providing dozens of useful tips for getting the most out of your favorite cold-weather activities.
Winter-Proof Your Run
Everything from tips on hydration to tricks for not taking a fall on icy roads are covered in this article/slideshow by online Health correspondent Rozalynn S. Frazier. However, one of the best pieces of advice with carryover into every other active winter activity has got to be this: Think nylon, not cotton.
“Start with a base layer top made of a sweat-wicking fabric,” says Frazier, “and steer clear of cotton, which traps moisture and draws heat away from your body…Running tights will usually keep your legs warm, but if it drops below 20 degrees, switch to a fleece-lined pair.”
Winter-Proof Your Bike
Techniques for staying warm tend to dominate any talk of enjoying the outdoors in winter. That’s why bikers will appreciate this five-tip list from Active online. The real nut is the advice on installing fenders, replacing chains and cables corroded by road salt, and why you should ditch the skinny road tires and get something with studs when the snow begins to fly.
Your edges are sharp and your skis are tuned. But how about your body? The National Ski Patrol says: “If you haven’t done any preseason ski-or snowboard- specific cross-training, the muscles that have been relatively dormant for several months are going to get a rude awakening, and you’re sure to be quaffing Ibuprofen before day’s end.”
While this list of tips stops short of offering any ski-specific workouts and conditioning workouts, it does a great job of explaining the difference between aerobic and anaerobic training and why you should be working flexibility and strength now to get the most out of the coming season.
Snowshoeing Quick Tips
Did you know that wet, compact snow is best handled by smaller snowshoes? Do you know why you should never leave the trailhead without some duct tape, an extra shirt and some energy bars? Snowshoeing looks so simple to the uninitiated…that is, until you’re miles from home with a busted binding, no water, sweat -soaked clothing and tired legs that feel like they’re made of lead. REI offers a dozen tips for making your next snowshoe adventure fun instead of a miserable sub-zero slog.
Friday, November 15th, 2013
With the hectic summer season now over, the tasting room crowds have thinned but the wineries are still open in Leelanau County. Traverse City Tours is offering “buy-one-get-one-free” fall and winter wine tours on Sundays through December.
If you’re looking to get some holiday shopping done or maybe just a fun fall and winter activity with friends, check out the details of this great deal.
[Photo credit: LPWines]
When it comes to friendliness, service and knowledge of area wines, few area tour companies get more excellent ratings than Traverse City Tours. But this season, the company also gets the nod for the best wine-tour deal of the year.
“From Sundays now until December, Leelanau County wine tours leave from the Holiday Inn in Traverse City at noon,” says Traverse City Tour’s Kathleen McAndrew. “We visit four to six wineries and return the group around 4 pm. Normal cost for the trip is $50 per person, but with this special buy-one-get-one-free deal, half the people in the group ride free.”
In addition to a safe and comfortable ride in a totally clean and detailed shuttle van, every Traverse City Tour offers snacks in all of the vehicles plus free pictures of your group that are emailed to you within a few days after your tour.
Looking for a unique holiday gift idea? Traverse City Tours is also now offering gift certificates for 2014. Contact Kathleen McAndrew at 231.620.8687 for more information and to book your reservation.
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Even in the legendary land of its namesake, spotting a real black bear in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is pretty rare. But make no mistake: this is “bear country.” Bears are secretive and elusive, and that’s why the Michigan DNR is asking for the public’s help.
This winter, the agency is looking for locations of denned bear in order to fit them with radio collars for its ongoing bear research, and that includes locations inside the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Find out what to look for and what to do if you think you’ve come across a den of the Lakeshore’s most elusive creature.
According to Sue Jennings, a wildlife biologist at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, there were only 13 reports of black bear within the park in 2013.
“For the past two years, we’ve been collecting observation reports in an effort to monitor bear activity,” says Jennings. “Four of the reports in 2013 were actual bear sightings. Two were reports of campers hearing what they thought was a bear outside their tent. And the rest were calls from visitors who found bear signs [such as tracks and scat].”
State biologists estimate that there are anywhere from 15,000 to 19,000 black bears (including cubs) roaming the forests of northern Michigan. An adult black bear can weigh anywhere from 150 to 250 pounds. They are a big animal, yet surprisingly hard to track down and study. This is partly due to the fact that a black bear’s home range is huge – anywhere from 50 to 335 square miles for females and males, respectively.
But with the winter season coming, bears across northern Michigan will begin seeking out den sites to sleep away the snowy months. This offers a unique opportunity to study these elusive animals, and that’s where hunters, hikers and anyone else who enjoys the winter outdoors can help biologists learn more.
The Bear Facts
Contrary to popular belief, black bear are not true hibernators. Instead they remain in a state of lethargy during their winter’s sleep. In the den, they reduce their metabolic rate, surviving without eating, drinking or exercising or passing waste. A long winter’s sleep is the bear’s way of escaping the scarcity of food, not for avoiding the cold weather. (Click here for this and other Michigan black bear facts.)
According to the MDNR, black bear in Michigan usually enter dens in late October and emerge in April or May. Den sites may be hollowed-out trees, brush piles, or even open ground nests. If you find a bear near such place, leave the area immediately. It is unlawful to harass bear in their dens. It is best to get a closer look at a den site in the summer when there is no chance of disturbing a bear.
So You Think You Found a Den?
If you believe you’ve discovered a denned black bear this winter, biologists at the Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Michigan DNR would like to know about it. Contact Mark Boersen at the DNR Roscommon Operations Service Center at 989-275-5151. Sleeping Bear Dunes Wildlife Biologist, Sue Jennings can be reached at 231-326-5135.
“Information gathered from female bears helps us to manage the black bear population,” MDNR wildlife biologist Mark Boersen said in a news release this month. Currently, only three female bears are being monitored in the entire northern Lower Peninsula through the use of radio-tracking equipment. And Boersen says they would definitely like to add a few more.
After locating a denned bear, the MDNR advises people to record the location, with a GPS unit if possible. Biologists will then determine if the animal is a good candidate for radio-collaring. Only female bears are selected. They will be sedated by a biologist and fitted with a radio-tracking collar and ear tags. Hair samples will be taken for DNA analysis, and a small tooth will be collected to determine the bear’s age. Upon completion of the short procedure, biologists will carefully return the bear to the den where it will sleep through the remainder of the winter months.
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, email@example.com.
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