Hitting the Luge in Muskegon

img_1939Instead of going up north over New Years we went to the west coast.  Michigan’s west coast. More specifically, Muskegon.

Muskegon State Park has a great winter sports complex, which is what drew us there.  And we made good use of the facilities.

On New Year’s Eve we went XC skiing at night.  The trails are well lit, groomed, and except for  a couple hills, they’re relatively flat.  The ski, boot, and pole rental was just $5 while the trail pass was $7.

We returned on New Year’s for ice skating.  The complex has a large outdoor rink and a short  ice trail through the woods.  The skating pass was just $4.

After the warmup on skates, it was time to do the luge.  The cost was $40 for the coaching, helmet, and sled.

The luge coaching wasn’t too exhaustive.  Luging seems to be a sport where you learn as you go.  After a run or two, you really get the hang of it.  Eventually you can improve your start from just letting go to something a little more Olympic.

And the basic premise it don’t hit the walls and maximize your speed through the turns.  On a good run with good ice (like we had!), you can hit 25 MPH.  That might not sound too fast for cyclists, but when your inches above the ground, it feels plenty fast.

Is it a workout?  You bet.  Every luger has to carry their sleds up the stairs to the start line, some of which weight nearly 40 pounds.

I highly recommend this.  We’re so fortunate to have such a great facility so close (about 3.5 hour drive.) It’s a great place to enjoy winter sports.

As for lodging we rented a house on the lake.  It was inexpensive for our large group due to this being the off season.  There is a 10% lodging discount available from the Muskegon County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

And here’s an article describing some planned enhancements to the Complex, including a wheeled luge track for the warmer months.

Some photos from Muskegon are on-line in addition to this brief video.

Back on the Skinny Skis

Skiing at Hartwick Pines State ParkI used to cross country ski a fair amount. I’ve done a couple races, including the VASA. But since I started biking more in the winter, I’ve hardly skied at all.

The dry spell was broken this year when Karen and I skied the Lake Ann Pathway near Interlochen. That was a great time.

I hit the trails again with Dan Harrison. Dan was good enough to let me borrow his waxless skis so I wouldn’t have to deal with waxing mine. We did a quick loop at Harwick Pines near Grayling, but not the main groomed trail. Instead we did the less used, more rustic AuSable River trail.

Dan Harrison at Hartwick Park State ParkI need to put a plug in for my Patagonia Cold Track jacket, Windshield tights, lightweight balanclava, and All Season clothes. My hands were chilly at the start, but I was the perfect temperature after that and everything seemed to breathe just enough.

Again, it was another great time.

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