Every winter, Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park staff members build a two-acre ice rink by packing snow tightly into the ground and pouring thousands of gallons of water over it. The water comes from fire trucks and it’s quite the undertaking to build and maintain.
To that end, the Muskegon Lumberjacks have partnered with the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park to underwrite the costs of building and operating the ice rink, one of the largest natural outdoor ice rinks in the Midwest.
The rink’s consistency is different from the ice sheet at Trinity Health Arena, where the Muskegon Lumberjacks typically play around 30 home games each year.
“We are proud to partner with Muskegon Luge because their ice rink gives young skaters access to inexpensive ice time on a daily basis throughout the winter,” said Andrea Rose, President of Business Operations for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. “It’s important to us that we look to the future of hockey in our community and get youth from all backgrounds interested in skating and playing hockey at a young age,” Rose said.
In 2021 Pure Michigan named the ice rink one of the “Top 10 Outstanding Outdoor Ice Rinks in Michigan.” It’s used primarily by local families and travelers visiting Muskegon, and for students on school field trips.
The ice rink is open to the public daily in the winter once the Sports Park has received approximately four inches of snow and consistent temperatures below freezing. Visitors can purchase a daily rink pass or a season pass for access to skating on the rink. Hockey skates and hockey equipment, as well as figure skates and speed skates, are available for daily rental at the Sports Park.
“The ice changes with the weather so on really cold days it might be harder and faster than indoor ice,” said Daniel Bonner, manager of the Muskegon Luge ice rink. The Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park, operated by the Muskegon Sports Council, is a nonprofit organization that provides outdoor recreation inside Muskegon State Park.