5 Winter Sports to Try This Year 

Jake Newby

| 3 min read

A woman and young boy snowshoe up a snow-covered hill.
Even the biggest fitness buffs can tire of the gym routine. If you love to stay fit and active – and maybe you have that competitive edge to you – winter sports are the perfect way to switch things up this year. Most of them even double as fun family activities.
Stay active in Michigan this winter by engaging in some of the sports below. And don’t forget to layer up!
Fat biking: Also known as “fat-tire biking” or “winter biking,” this trendy winter sport is picking up steam in the Great Lakes State. Fat-tire bikes – which look exactly how they sound – are permittable on all Michigan trails that allow bicycles and mountain bikes. Many trails in Michigan are groomed specifically for winter fat-tire biking. Visit Michigan.gov for a statewide list of trails and rental information.
Ice skating: A classic, family-friendly winter sport, ice skating is a fun and challenging activity that can be an underrated workout if you add a little speed to your stride. Be sure to always wear a helmet and well-fitting skates with sharp blades; dull skates can lead to more falls. And since falling is common while ice skating, you may want to wear a few layers of clothing for a little added cushion. If you’re trying it for the first time, consider enrolling in kids or adult classes; cities all over Michigan offer them. Check out Pure Michigan’s list of 10 outstanding outdoor ice skating rinks in Michigan.
Skiing: Skiing and cross-country skiing are extremely difficult to master, but you don’t need to be a winter Olympian to have fun on the slopes. Skiing can be enjoyed at a novice level, as most ski resorts include “bunny hills,” which are smaller, shorter slopes reserved for kids and beginners. If you want to learn the basics or take your ski game to the next level, there is no shortage of Michigan businesses and schools that teach skiing (and snowboarding) lessons. Pure Michigan offers a comprehensive guide to ski resorts in Michigan.
Snowshoeing: Now for something a little less intense. If you know how to walk, you know how to snowshoe. This recreational activity requires wider strides than normal so you’re not stepping on the frame of the snowshoes. Ski poles are optional while snowshoeing, but they do tend to give you a better full-body workout since you’re getting your arms involved. Many Michigan state parks have snowshoe equipment available to borrow. Learn more at this link.
Winter Disc Golfing: This may be the most out-of-the-box winter sport idea on this list, but winter disc golf is well accommodated in Michigan. Winter disc golf combines snowshoeing and frisbee with golf rules. Bald Mountain, Brighton, Holly, Ionia, Newaygo, Sleepy Hollow and Waterloo all have disc golf courses, with multiple distance options available in the winter. Here a few quick tips:
  • Since cold weather can affect the firmness of the plastic discs, it’s best to play with grippier discs made from softer, pliable plastic.
  • Play with brightly colored discs as opposed to white ones that can blend in with the snow. Glow-in-the-dark discs are a good option if you like to play past sunset.
  • Tees aren’t cleared and snow removal doesn’t always happen on state park courses, so you should consider bringing a small shovel and/or broom.
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Photo credit: Getty Images

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