While many people might consider winter as their least favorite season in Ann Arbor, I love winter especially if it is snowing. There are a variety of activities you can do to enjoy Michigan in the winter. For instance, you can either go skiing or snowboarding. While I enjoying skiing, or at least attempting to ski, it is expensive, and is usually something I do only once a year. There are several ski resorts in Michigan, but to get to any of them you will require a car. Also, a lot of the nicer ski resorts are further up north, and thus require renting a hotel for at least one night. However if you can, I highly recommend going to a ski resort at least once with your family and/or friends. It is a good break from all the tests and projects.
However, there are cheaper snow activities such as snow tubing, sledding, and ice skating. Like skiing, you will need a car to reach sites where you can rent snow tubes, since they are outside of Ann Arbor. Snow tubing is when you go down a hill while sitting/laying down on an air filled tube. Below is an image of people snow tubing.
One possible site where you can rent snow tubes is Hawk Island Snow Park, which is near Lansing Michigan. While the price is reasonable, it is about a two-hour drive from Ann Arbor. Sledding is a little bit easier to do for people without a car, because during winter you can easily buy cheap sleds in stores such as Meijer and Walmart. You can also buy your own snow tube, but it requires a little bit more maintenance than sleds. Once you have your own sled or snow tube, you can go sledding/snow tubing anywhere you see a hill (so long it is not on private property). Usually a good place to go is to a park with a decent hill. In my undergraduate college, we use to take lunch trays and use them to go sledding down a hill. Just be careful of any cars or trees that might get in the way!
Yost Ice Arena, which is owned by University of Michigan, has public skating times. The total cost of admission and skate rental should be less than $10; costs are lower if you go skating at noon on the weekdays rather than in the evening or during the weekend. In addition to being a relatively cheap winter activity, it is near central campus, and if you prefer taking transportation, you can take Bus 6 or 36.
As you can see there are several activities you can do during the winter. Some like skiing/snowboarding are more expensive, while others like ice skating and sledding are easy to do in Ann Arbor. Hopefully during your time in Ann Arbor, you will be able to enjoy at least one of these activities. Just remember to dress warmly for the winter
Written by Sonja Grinfeld, graduate student in Pharmacy