winter sports

The Environment Report
8:55 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Saltless surfing: Riding the waves of the Great Lakes

Great Lakes surfers brave all kinds of bad weather.
Photograph by Mike Killion

When you think “surfing,” you probably think sunshine, “Aloha!” and warm beaches with palm trees. You probably don’t think winter, icebergs, and Lake Superior.

Surfing the Great Lakes is at its prime during the winter months, and this year’s delayed spring is providing a dedicated group of Great Lakes surfers with some great swells. Winter and early spring storms produce large waves that are ideal for surfing. 

Ryan Gerard is the owner of Third Coast Surf Shop in New Buffalo, Michigan. He’s noticed the effect of a late spring on surfing conditions.

“It is kind of a double edged sword,” he said. “The surf conditions have been pretty good lately because we’ve been having more of these weather conditions that bring us waves. I guess the other side of the sword is that we’re ready for summer too.”

Read more
Stateside
6:57 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

The astounding success of Southeast Michigan skaters

Liz Chastney davis-white.ice-dance.com/

In less than two weeks on March 10th, the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships will begin in London, Ontario.

That  means the eyes of the world will be on a couple of University of Michigan students who have been hailed as one of the greatest American teams in the history of ice dancing.

Five-time national champions, silver medalists in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, 2011 world champions and four-time Grand Prix Final champions.

It’s no exaggeration to say these individuals helped to make Southeast Michigan the ice-dance capital of America.

Today we spoke with Meryl Davis and Charlie White who shared the secret to the astounding success of Southeast Michigan skaters.

To hear the full story click the audio link above.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

Sports
3:19 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Harnessing ice and wind for thrills in Michigan's UP

Competitors during last year's ice and snow sailing championship in Finland
WISSA

If you were listening to Michigan Radio last night, you might have caught a snippet on PRI's The World about a unique winter sports championship that took place recently in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with contestants from all over the globe.

In case you missed it, here's the general idea.

Read more
Environment
8:59 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Climbing melting ice in the Upper Peninsula

Neale Batra rappels down a frozen waterfall. The rope is anchored to trees at the top of the climb.
Meg Cramer/Michigan Radio

The Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore is a special place for Midwestern ice climbing. Every February, hundreds of climbers meet in Munising for Michigan Ice Fest. That’s because the Lake Superior shoreline has one of the highest concentrations of accessible ice climbs in North America.

Usually, Bryan DeAugustine is a middle school principal. But this weekend, he’s a volunteer instructor at Michigan Ice Fest.

“Ice climbing is like solving a puzzle and doing gymnastics at the same time. So it’s a nice marriage of your mind and your body. You have to really be focused and balanced. It’s just a fun way to spend the day outdoors.”

Ice climbers wear metal cleats strapped to their boots. In each hand, they carry an ice tool that looks like a small pick axe. They swing, chop, and kick their way up vertical ice.

It’s a lot less dangerous than you might think. Everyone uses ropes and harnesses. Still, advanced climbers often give this advice: don’t fall.

Read more
Environment
10:57 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Strange winter weather affects some parts of tourist economy

It's been wet enough, just not cold enough.
Patrick Feller Flickr

The arrival of winter in Michigan is not supposed to last long.

The cold snap earlier this week is expected to give way early next week to temperatures back in the forties.

The lack of snow is taking a toll on some parts of the state’s tourism economy.

Forecaster Mike Boguth says northern Michigan might set a record this year for the least amount of snowfall ever. Boguth works at the National Weather Service office in Gaylord.

He says what little snow there is now could melt next week when temperatures rise.

“We don’t see any signs of cold weather coming back after we get by this week.”

Most ski resorts up north opened in December. That’s because nighttime temperatures have been cold enough to make snow.

But for businesses that depend on snowmobile traffic this time of year, things couldn’t be much worse. They’ve had just one weekend of business all winter. That was this past weekend which included the Martin Luther King holiday.

Dave Ramsey owns Beaver Creek Resort near Gaylord. He says just enough snow fell late last week to open the trails.

Still, more than half his cabins were empty this weekend when he would usually have a waiting list.

“Every hotel in Gaylord every motel and little cabin cluster will just about fill to capacity on every major holiday if we have good snow.”

The weather could also create problems for the North America Vasa. The cross-country ski race near Traverse City could draw 1,000 racers the second weekend in February.

The VASA trail has three inches of base but no snow-making capacity.

-Peter Payette for The Environment Report

So what's up with this weather? Wunderground.com's Dr. Jeff Masters explains.