Posted by: Kath Usitalo | January 31, 2013

Winter Fun in Michigan for the Other 11%

Yeti sighting at the Leelanau Peninsula location of YetiFest

Yeti sighting in Leelanau Peninsula (YetiFest photo)

One of Michigan’s greatest assets—and one of the things both cursed and joked about—is its weather. This is Michigan, where you can experience the four seasons all within 24 hours.

In a state where winter tourism is important to the economy the Pure Michigan travel office hired an outfit named Harris Interactive to conduct an online survey of 2,059 adults over age 18 in the U.S. The question:

Which of the following winter sports/activities, if any, would you like to participate in?

Make your own snowshoes at Michigan State Parks including Hartwick Pines

Snowshoeing was a shoe-in with 15% of 48% surveyed

Ice climbing
Downhill skiing
Ice sailing
Ice fishing
Dog sledding
Cross country skiing
I would not like to participate in any winter sports

As you can see in the complete results of the survey here, the majority (52%) of those questioned do not want anything to do with winter sports.

Or, in Harris survey-speak, “Almost half (48%) of U.S. adults would like to participate in any winter sports.”

Of the fewer than half willing to pull on the longjohns and earmuffs, the top choice at 50% was sledding or tubing; snowmobiling, at 36%, was the second most in-demand snow-dependent activity. Some 24% claimed they’d angle for ice fishing, 17% were hot for dog sledding and 7% picked ice sailing.

Banshee Dog, UP 200 mascot (TJ Kozak photo)

Banshee Dog, UP 200 mascot (TJ Kozak photo)

Then there were the 11% who chose “other” winter sports/activities.

This must explain the abundance of kooky cold weather events from frozen turkey bowling and frozen fish toss to polar dips into frigid waters, outhouse races on slippery streets and, at the February 14-17 Snowsfest in Les Cheneaux, golf on ice and ceremonial snowman-burning.

Even in wintertime there are spectator sports like this weekend’s I-500 snowmobile race in Sault Ste. Marie and the UP200 dog sled races, starting February 15 in Marquette.

At the Trenary Outhouse Classic you can watch from the sidelines or be a part of the action by building a mobile, ski-mounted latrine to race through the heart of beautiful downtown Trenary on Saturday, February 23 (still time to participate; you can register up until a half-hour before the 2 p.m. start).logo

You’ll find outhouse races at other winter fests in the state—they’ve made their way to events below the Mackinac Bridge—but Trenary’s is the Michigan original.

There’s no shortage of Michigan snow-sculpting and ice carving competitions—unless, of course, there’s a shortage of cold weather and snow.

If you like chili you can taste your way through February weekends at chili cook-offs, usually washed down with a cold beer. There must be some very persuasive porta-john rental companies that say it’s a good idea to have a beer tent set up in the chilly outdoors, because they seem to be a winter festival staple.

New nuttiness this year: YetiFest, February 16 in Suttons Bay with a 1.2 mile bicycle hill climb, Abominable Snowman building contest, Yeti look-alike contest and Kids Expeditionary Parade (just bring your pots, spoons and other noisemakers to beckon Yeti to the first-time event).

Check out the “other” wintertime options at michigan.orgPure Michigan logo_with tag


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