Being cooped up in your room waiting for the snow to leave is no way to spend your winter this year.
There are plenty of things in Big Rapids and the Mecosta County area to help keep you from dying of boredom.
One of the easiest, and cheapest, things to do is to gather a group of friends and go sledding. The small hill by the Swan Building is close and convenient for students living on campus, not to mention it’s an easy trek back to the top. Those river tubes you’ve had lying around since the warmer months make great sledding tubes. Even a flattened cardboard box covered with a garbage bag works well.
“I’ve wanted to go tray sledding using a tray from Westview, but I haven’t been able to do that yet,” said Thomas Breeden, freshman in pre-pharmacy.
After sledding, you and your friends can partake in a snowball fight, build a snowman, or create your own igloo. Warm yourselves up with a steaming mug of hot cocoa with extra marshmallows.
Another great winter activity is ice skating. Ferris’ Ewigleben Ice Arena offers public skating on Sundays from 2 to 3:50 p.m. Admission is $4 and skate rental is $2. Public skating is also available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. Admission on these days is $3 and skate rental is $2.
“Ice skating makes for a good date. I’ve taken my girlfriend skating there,” said Breeden. “Also, one of the things I like about skating here, unlike back at home, is you can just bring your stuff and play hockey at the 3-on-3 rink.”
Located directly behind the Ewigleben Ice Arena is Santer Nature Preserve, a perfect place for a winter’s walk with a friend or that special someone.
For a good outdoor workout, try cross country skiing at Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park, which stretches from Grand Rapids to Cadillac.
According to Michigan.org, “The trail surface is natural ballast and hard packed gravel, with 15 miles of asphalt pavement from Cadillac south to Leroy, another 13 miles from Reed City to Big Rapids and 22 miles from Sand Lake to Grand Rapids.”
Another great cross country skiing location is Hungerford Lake Recreation Area, located seven miles west of Big Rapids in Newaygo County.
For those seeking more of a thrill, Caberfae Peaks Ski and Golf Resort offers College Nights every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. With a valid student ID, you can get a lift ticket for as cheap as $9 and ski or snowboard rentals for an additional $9. Caberfae is about a 40 mile drive from campus to Cadillac.
“It was really nice getting outside and enjoying the fresh air,” said Valoree Burns, freshman in pre-optometry, about her recent skiing trip to Caberfae.
While you’re in Cadillac, you can also check out Shemhadar Kennels and go on your own dog sled adventure.
Festival of the Arts, which began on Jan. 27 and continues until Feb. 27, is a 30-day event that features workshops, performances, and shows right here in Big Rapids. Most of the events are free and will help pass the time during the cold month of February.
Don’t be stuck inside all winter. There are these options and more available to everyone in the area and you don’t have to break your budget to partake in them. n