Winter adventure abounds at sports complex.

February 15, 2021

Winter adventure abounds at sports complex.

Around the County is a presentation of Peterson Farms, Inc., www.petersonfarmsinc.com.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

NORTH MUSKEGON — Sometimes going “around the county” takes you “out of the county” when looking for outdoor adventure.

If you’re seeking outdoor winter fun, go no further than the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex at the Muskegon State Park located at 462 Scenic Drive.

The park offers cross country skiing trails, an ice skating rink and trail, snowshoeing trails, a winter zip line and a luge track.

I recently spent part of a sunny afternoon cross country skiing at the complex. Overnight snowfall created ideal conditions with a fresh layer of fluffy powder against a backdrop of blue skies. Duty called, and my expedition was cut short for a structure fire in Oceana County. However, the limited time I spent skiing the trails was well worth the trip, and I definitely plan to return soon.

Cross country skiing

The park offers over 15 kilometers (about 9.3 miles) of marked and groomed ski trails. The mostly gentle terrain winds through the woods, dunes and Lost Lake offering a close-up look at Muskegon State Park’s natural beauty. 

The trails are nicely groomed for skate and classical skiing daily — as conditions dictate — “for some of the best stridings and skate skiing in West Michigan,” states the sports complex’s website, www.mssports.org. Trails are lighted every night until 10 p.m., so you can ski under the stars.

Ice skating 

The rink is located right beside the lodge, with space for family skating and playing hockey. The ice rink and trail are lighted and open every day from 10 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., weather permitting. The one-of-a-kind ice skating trail takes you on a 1/4 mile figure-eight loop through the white pine forest. The trail is about 5 feet wide with smooth ice and is lighted every night.

Luge

The luge track is one of only four in the United States. “It’s the only kunstbahn track (German for artificial track) made from natural ice and not refrigerated. The 850-foot track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley. Shorter in length than the Olympic tracks in Lake Placid and Salt Lake City, the Muskegon track provides an Olympic thrill with first-time luge athletes in mind. It consists of six curves and two starting areas. Public participants receive equipment and training before sliding at speeds up to 30 mph.”

If you’re interested in luging, visit www.mssports.org to check for availability and pricing and to schedule a time. 

All luge participants must be at least 8 years old. An instructor will explain the components of the sled and how to control it. Participants are required to sign a liability waiver, and those under age 18 must have a waiver signed by a legal guardian.

Snowshoeing

The snowshoe trails “take you from the low levels of the white pine forest to the tops of the Lake Michigan sand dunes with breathtaking views of the tree canopy, Lake Michigan, and Muskegon Lake,” states www.mssports.org. Trails are groomed and marked to guide you to natural features and landmarks like the iconic Block House. Although the snowshoe trails are not lighted like the cross country trails, they can be navigated at night with a good headlamp.

COVID-19 restrictions

The park has several COVID-19 protocols in place to ensure visitors’ health and safety. Tickets and rental equipment are purchased outdoors. Concessions are also sold outdoors and limited to fewer items. The occasional food truck is on site to serve customers during peak times. “We will keep areas around the ice rink and trail head as comfortable as possible with fire pits and patio heaters along with regular shoveling and drying of spaces.” Visit www.mssports.org for more information.

— Winter sports complex prices —

Cross country skiing:

Daily trail pass, $10

Daily ski rental, $8

Season ski pass, $85

Ice skating: 

Daily rink pass, $10

Daily skate rental, $5, hockey stick, $3, helmet, $1

Season skate pass, $85

Snowshoeing:

Daily trail pass, $10

Daily snowshoe rental, $8

Season snowshoe pass, $85

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