Where winter becomes a sport

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex luge track

There’s something for everyone at the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex. With plenty of activities to try and exciting events going on, the facility is a go-to spot for outdoor fun in the winter months.

This unique not-for-profit facility is nestled within the dunes at Muskegon State Park.

Jim Rudicil, executive director of the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, facilitates all of the outdoor adventures and events.

“We offer the winter sports of luge, cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing and sledding, and our venues can accommodate all skill levels, complete with rentals and instructions as needed,” Rudicil said.

With over 1,000 acres to explore, Rudicil encourages everyone to come and try out one of the complex’s various activities:

Winter luge

If you’ve ever been curious about this Olympic sport, here’s your chance to try it out for yourself! This 850-foot luge track was designed by three-time Olympian Frank Masley, and sliders reach speeds of up to 30 mph on it! The facility has all the equipment you’ll need, and there’s a training session at the beginning of each slide time. You don’t need any prior experience. Just come dressed for the weather, and purchase your luge tickets ahead of time online.

Ice skating

With over 2 acres of ice skating space, there’s a full day of fun to be had on the ice trails. Open every day of the week, skaters can spin on the ice rink, play on the hockey rink and explore the quarter-mile-long skating trail through the woods. Ice skates, hockey skates, hockey sticks and helmets are all available to rent.

Muskegon Winter Sports Complex cross-country skiingCross-country skiing

Explore the dunes and woods of the Muskegon lakeshore on the 15+ kilometers of cross-country trails. Equipment is available to rent if you don’t have your own, and if you’re new to the sport, there are group and private lessons available.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is the easiest entry-level winter sport to try, according to Rudicil. The facility offers three different snowshoe trail systems that cater to different skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll through the woods, or some more aggressive terrain, you’re sure to find it here. Daily passes and snowshoe rentals are available at the office.

Sledding

If you’re looking for some family fun free of charge, pack up your sleds and head over to the Sugar Bowl Dune. This sledding hill offers an exciting event for the whole family, and in the heated lodge at the top of the hill, you can cozy up next to the fireplace with a mug of hot cocoa after your ride.

Upcoming events

Try-athlon
(Feb. 3)

As part of the Meijer State Games, the Winter Try-athlon will take place this Sunday. Racers will try three winter Olympic sports: luge, ice speed skating and cross-country skiing.

“This event is family friendly and geared toward those who may have never done at least one of these sports,” Rudicil said. “Of course, serious competitors are welcome as well, but we recognize that many people may have very little experience in some of these sports, so we will teach them everything they need to know along the way.”

More information on the Try-athlon is online.

Parka and Plates
(Feb. 16)

Participants will enjoy a fun, progressive dinner set on the ski and snowshoe trails.

“This event is a new twist on our classic Dine and Glide event and a fun way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a loved one,” Rudicil said.

The evening will consist of skiing and/or snowshoeing your way through a gourmet five-course menu, complete with drinks and live entertainment.

This event is for adults 21 or older. Event details and tickets will be available soon.

Photos: Courtesy Muskegon Winter Sports Complex

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