The great New Years melt-off of 2010/11 has come and gone, and now we're back to a winter wonderland. It's cold but beautiful, and great for winter fun.
Downhill skiing has been great at Crystal Mountain Resort. I was out last Sunday, which was the first cold day after the thaw, and the conditions were remarkably good- major kudos to the snowmaking and grooming crew. The downhill course on the North face was a favorite addition for my oldest son and I.
While Crystal has Nordic ski trails as well, the cross country trails in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are my favorites. I'll admit it has been a few years since I've been out on them, but there is something about skiing in the lakeshore that is special. Once you get away from the trailhead, almost all the sounds are natural- wind through the trees, waves crashing on the shoreline a mile away, birds and squirrels are the back singers to the sounds of your breathing and the "swick swick" of your skis. While the area immediately along the shoreline gets a bit less snow that we do inland, the trails there should be back in shape soon if they aren't already.
The National Lakeshore is a great asset. I can't help but think of all the outdoor opportunities it presents when I'm showing properties nearby. The beauty of having this linear type National Park - it features 35 miles of Lake Michigan coastline - is that it is quickly accessible from so many locations. In fact, as I write this, there are 145 properties available within a couple miles of the South Unit of the Lakeshore- some literally at the very edge of the park.