Brace yourself! Although we haven't quite reached the Winter solstice yet, which takes place on Wednesday, December 21, meteorological winter is officially underway which means it's time to break out the ice skates and snowboards.

Despite having already experienced our first Winter storm of the season here in West Michigan, we've still got several snow-filled months ahead. How do you make the most of it?

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One Michigan Redditor, u/lloydpalace, wants to know what Michigan's best Winter activity is.

Think of it this way,

If you were just getting into a winter sport or activity in our state, what would be your go to? What sports have the best infrastructure here, and what have the most opportunities to do statewide?

Our license plates don't proclaim Michigan to be a "Water-Winter Wonderland" for nothing! Here are Michigan's best winter activities according to fellow Michiganders:

Snowmobiling

Photo by Nate Johnston on Unsplash
Photo by Nate Johnston on Unsplash
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With over 6,500 miles of dedicated snowmobile trails throughout the state, snowmobiling is not only a popular pastime in the Mitten but it's also a feasible mode of transportation too! It's not uncommon to see snowmobiles parked outside of local establishments while popping in for a quick errand.


Skiing/Snowboarding

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash
Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash
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Did you know Michigan is the birthplace of snowboarding? Originally called "snurfing", a Muskegon man invented what is now one of the most popular Winter sports when he nailed a pair of his daughter's skis together. You'll find ski resorts across the Mitten from Otsego to Boyne Falls to Clarkston.

Ski resorts in Southwest Michigan have temporarily closed pending more snowfall, but the resorts up north like Crystal Mountain and Nub's Nob are up and running for the season. Monitor ski conditions across Michigan in real time with these live webcams.


Snowshoeing

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash
Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash
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This is something I have yet to do myself, but I've always wanted to! One Redditor adds,

The under appreciated activity is snowshoeing sand dunes. Any huge sand dune park + a fresh layer of snow + snow shoes = all day hiking with no one around. Plus you’ll be completely physically destroyed by the end. Bring a backpack with snacks and a big thermos of something warm and it’s a great time.


 Ice Fishing

Photo by Glenna Haug on Unsplash
Photo by Glenna Haug on Unsplash
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In the dead of Winter, you'll see numerous ice shanties pop up on inland lakes across the state. Frozen waters also mean you can explore more corners of the lake that would be inaccessible during the warmer months.

According to Pure Michigan, of the over 150 species of fish found in Michigan lakes, most can be caught through the ice. These include bluegill, perch, northern pike, walleye, and various trout species.


Ice Skating

Photo by Taylor Friehl on Unsplash
Photo by Taylor Friehl on Unsplash
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Whether it's hockey or figure skating, you'll find plenty of places to ice skate both in and out of doors here in the Mitten. Each Winter, downtown Grand Rapids transforms Rosa Parks Circle into a beautiful outdoor ice rink in the heart of the city.

Millennium Ice Rink in Portage faced numerous mechanical issues and opened late last season; the 2022 season is up in the air and their listed phone number has been disconnected. I personally took skating lessons at Lawson Ice Arena on the WMU campus when I was a kid. There are also plenty of inland lakes and ponds that freeze over-- perfect for pond hockey!


Drinking

Photo by Dan Barrett on Unsplash
Photo by Dan Barrett on Unsplash
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For those of us who would prefer to stay warm indoors, this is a popular way to pass the time! If you drink enough the months start to blur together and, before you know it, it will be Spring again. The Winter months are a perfect time to bust out hearty local favorites like Founders' porter or a Kalamazoo Stout from Bell's.


Going to Florida

Photo by Gary Runn on Unsplash
Photo by Gary Runn on Unsplash
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I'm sure you've heard the term "Snowbird" before, meaning a northerner who flies down south for the Winter. Many Michiganders make the annual trek to places like Gulf Shores or Orlando to avoid the frigid cold of Michigan Winter. If you can't manage to get away for three months, you can at least drop by for a visit! I usually try to get down to Florida for an extended weekend trip each February.

What's your favorite winter activity?

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