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Unique Winter Activities to Heat-Up any Schedule

Mike Wilkinson

Mike Wilkinson

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As the New Year arrives, many individuals have set a resolution to improve a personal goal, or to step out of their comfort zone. More often than not, one or more of these goals includes trying something new or unusual in their personal life. However, with the cold weather and winter snow, it might seem the only fun-filled winter activities are snowmobiling or hitting the slopes. Fear not, as we have compiled a list of unique or unusual actives to investigate this winter season.

 

Peabody’s Ice Climbing

Does scaling a chunk of ice using a pair of ice axes, crampons, a harness, and lots of muscle strength sound fun? You might be interested in Peabody’s Ice Climbing! Located in Fenton on a retired apple orchard, Peabody’s features two towers, 45 ft and 72 ft, for climbers of all skill levels to try. Additionally, the facility has a heated clubhouse, a 10-person sauna, and a bunkhouse for climbers to stay the night. Also available are on-site instructors to teach beginners, and provide all rental equipment needed. Peabody’s also is home to an altitude training facility, which can simulate an environment of up to 19,000 ft., according to the company’s website. This facility would be used for those interested in serious mountain climbing or for endurance training. Peabody’s also hosts a multitude of winter events and clinics, including their annual ice fest, through the winter months. For more information, check out their website at www.peabodyiceclimbing.com or look them up on Facebook.

 

Zehnder’s Snowfest

This year will mark the twenty-seventh annual Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth. During this festival, downtown Frankenmuth will be lined with ice sculptures. Past figures have ranged from giant pigs and mermaids, to full-size dragons. Artists spend hours to build these on-site, and this ice sculpture festival is one of the largest in the Midwest, according to its official Facebook page. This year, Snowfest will take place January 24-29, with lots of local shops, booths, and restaurants to stop into and warm up. More information can be found on www.zehnders.com

The Barn

Popular sports bar, The Barn, is located in Fenton and offers much more than food and drinks. Behind the restaurant sits a fully functional ice rink. The rink is a volleyball court that is sprayed down with water to convert into an ice rink. The rink is accessible to any customer for free, all they need to do is bring a helmet, skates, and sign a waiver. Three-on-three hockey leagues take place Sundays and Thursdays. Broomball is on Wednesdays starting at 7 p.m. Open hockey is on Mondays and Tuesdays, and open skating is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until 5 p.m., according to owner Jason Warda. Customers can play both broomball and hockey, or just skate around. In addition to the rink, The Barn also has a small curling rink off of the restaurant’s back patio. The curling rink is also free to customers. While the rink is not professionally sized, it is big enough to get started in curling, or just to have a good time.

 

Toboggan Run at City Forest

A popular toboggan run, located in City Forest, is an excellent and cheap way to have fun. City Forest is a “520-acre park that offers tobogganing, a large sled hill, cross country skiing, ice skating, mountain biking, and hiking,” according to the official Facebook page. The toboggan run track is .11 miles long and fits roughly 3-4 people. Toboggans can be rented for $8 per hour, at a two hour maximum, according to the Midland City website. Reservations are not taken, and rentals are a first come, first serve basis.

 

TED talk at the University of Michigan

While it’s not specifically a winter-themed activity, attending a TED talk might be on your bucket list for the year. The ninth annual TEDxUofM conference will be held Saturday, Feb. 9 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This year’s theme is “Black Box: into the unknown” and features speakers including Sava Lelcaj, Joe Holberg, Keiana Caves, and Marcus Collins. Tickets are $15 for students and $30 for the general public. They can be bought online at ww.tedxuofm.com. 

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