Your Winter To-Do List

By Christy Walcott

I used to hibernate on the couch under a blanket all winter, but in recent years, I’ve had the yearning to get out and find a way to embrace this snow-covered landscape I call home.  One of the biggest drawbacks to me has always been the fear of being COLD.  Ick. No one likes that.  Just a few updates to my wardrobe have already solved that problem and nothing was “high-end” or expensive by any means (remember what your mother always said about wearing a hat?  It’s true.).  

So as a newbie to finding joy in our winter wonderland, this is my to-do list for winter 2019:

Sleigh Rides

We all grew up dreaming of “dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh…”  It sounds magical and you can almost picture reaching out and touching the snow-draped pines as you pass through the wooded landscape.  But if you’re afraid of being cold, then you’ve avoided this childhood fantasy and left it dashing through the back of your mind all this time.  This is the winter to bundle up and finally experience a sleigh ride firsthand.  Choose from Cook Family Farms or Treetops Resort (where you can even add on a gourmet dinner!).  For a quick sample, try a horse-drawn carriage ride right downtown during Alpenfrost. 

Cuddle up on a starlit sleigh ride.

Dog Sled Ride

What’s better than a “one-horse open sleigh?”  How about a 6 or 8 dog-drawn sleigh?  Ok, so I honestly have no idea how many dogs it takes to pull a sled, but I want in on this!  Growing up with a Siberian Husky and a trusty, plastic toboggan might have been the closest I would get to riding in a dog sled, but Treetops Resort has added this little gem to their lineup.  And these are no ordinary dogs – they are, in fact, training for the Iditarod. 

THIS is a dog sled!


Alpenfrost is the quintessential winter festival.  No matter what type of activity you’re hoping to find, this two-day celebration delivers.  I plan on mixing it up a little with a quick jaunt in the Frosty 5K, followed by a guided snowshoe hike later at the Otsego Resort.  But I also have a “Plan B” in case I drift back into hibernation mode and need a little break from the great outdoors.  Not only can I fill up on samples of simmering soups at the cook-off, but I can meander over to Treetops for a little beer and wine tasting.  It’s all about having options…

Get ready for some frosty fun!

Michigan’s Richest Snowmobile Fun Run

If you’re like me and not an avid snowmobiler but someone who enjoys taking an occasional ride, this is the perfect event! You have most of the day to ride at your leisure to five different stops, have a snack, drop your name in a basket, then mosey on.  The best part?  The day of riding concludes at the Eagles Hall with live music, more snacks and (are you ready for it?) a drawing for a $1,000 cash prize!  Remember that trail of little slips you left behind?  Each one gives you another chance to take home the grand prize. 

I cut ‘er loose and must have hit 30 this day.

Free Fishing Weekend

I don’t know if this quite falls into the “event” category, but this is my to-do list and Free Fishing Weekend made the cut.  I could fish all day every day during the summer, but I’ve never been able to muster up the courage to sit on a bucket on an ice-covered lake and play the waiting game.  2019 is when that changes!  I’ve got a date with my favorite fishing hole (yes, I’m keeping that a secret) and be prepared for some ice fishing selfies in the near future.  I’ve been told that if you love it in the summer, then you’ll love it in the winter, so by golly, I need to give it a shot.

This will be me soon!

Welcome 2019 in whatever way suits you best!  Skiers, schuss it up.  Snowmobilers, start your engines.  If you’re like me and just learning to love all winter has to offer, make your own to-do list and stick to it!  You might just find your new favorite hobby in your new favorite season.