Winter is in full swing here in the Great Lakes State, and most of us have mixed emotions about it. While there’s something beautiful about the snowy landscapes that surround us, winter also brings along its fair share of difficulties. But no matter how you feel about this chilly season, there are a few traditions and pastimes that simply can’t be avoided. From the silly to the serious, here are eleven of our favorites.
1. Digging your car out of the snow
It’s not a Michigan winter without at least one moment of panic as you realize that your car is completely stuck under a heavy pile of snow and ice. You know the feeling: you’re in a hurry, so you hop in the car and start driving. Your wheels spin, your engine revs, and you realize you’re in for a stressful morning. Make sure to keep your trunk loaded with a shovel or two!
2. Visiting the frozen beach
No Michigander should let winter pass them by without visiting the beauty of a frozen lakeshore at least once. From Lake Superior to Lake Michigan, our Great Lakes are just as stunning during colder months. Frozen beaches present an otherworldly beauty that can’t be found anywhere else, and you’ll certainly want to bring your camera along to capture a few unique shots.
3. Driving to work in a blizzard
Snow days are a rare commodity here in the Great Lakes State, and we’re used to putting up with all sorts of inclement weather. At least once per year, though, we find ourselves venturing to work in what might be classified as a full-on blizzard. Good thing we’re always well-prepared with our snow tires, our warmest gloves, and plenty of Michigan-bred stamina!
4. Ice skating under the lights
Whether you’re lacing up your skates at Campus Martius Park in Detroit or appreciating the scenery at Grand Rapids’ Rosa Parks Circle, there’s nothing more delightful than an evening on the rink. Michiganders are lucky to have access to so many fantastic skating spots, and no resident of our beautiful state should let the season pass without at least one icy adventure.
5. Staying inside and playing euchre
Nothing says "Michigan" like a few rounds of euchre, and winter is the perfect time to gather with family and friends for the ultimate card tournament. After all, the weather outside is frightful -- and there’s something timeless about cracking open a Michigan-brewed beer, listening to Christmas tunes, and challenging your loved ones to an intense round of our state’s favorite card game.
6. Slipping on the ice
Every year, we think we’ll make it through the entire season without an embarrassing fall. And, every year, we manage to prove ourselves wrong. Here in Michigan, icy sidewalks are just part of the wintertime reality, and even the most tried-and-true Michigander can slip up (literally) while strolling along a walkway. The embarrassment only lasts a moment, but those lumbar bruises really take their toll.
7. Shoveling your driveway completely, only to re-do it an hour later
Ah, the joy of lake effect snow. No matter how many times that driveway is shoveled, it only seems to remain clear for a few minutes before requiring another round of heavy lifting. There’s nothing worse than huffing and puffing your way through an hour’s worth of shoveling, only to realize that your hard work has been for nothing. If you’re lucky, your generous neighbor owns a snowblower!
8. Complaining about lake effect snow
Speaking of lake effect snow… we Michiganders can’t let a winter season pass us by without constantly discussing the woes of life in a lake effect snow region. Whether we’re chatting with our hairdressers or talking to loved ones, "lake effect" seems to be the phrase of the season here in Michigan, and we can’t help but bring it up every single year.
9. Watching the Lions lose
Ah, is there a pastime more beloved than the time-honored tradition of watching our football team destroy their lead in the fourth quarter? We think not! Alright, perhaps we’re being unfair -- after all, the Lions have managed to pull out a few wins in recent weeks -- but we’re pretty well-accustomed to the pain that accompanies being a Lions fan. It’s almost enough to make us lose our appetites each Thanksgiving.
10. Treating your stomach ailment with some Vernors
Holiday parties in Michigan are loaded with sweets, and you know what that means: all sorts of stomach issues. Never fear! Here in the Great Lakes State, we’re always well-equipped with bottles of Vernors ginger ale. This fizzy drink has long served as the ultimate remedy for all sorts of stomach-related woes, and sipping on a glass of Vernors has truly earned its status as a winter pastime in Michigan.
11. Marveling at the beauty of our snowy state
If there’s one pastime we can all agree on, it’s this. Whether we’re staring at the snowy farmlands during our drive to Grandma’s house or exploring the frozen beauty of Sleeping Bear Dunes, there’s nothing more gorgeous than wintertime in Michigan. Our state is stunning throughout the year, but sparkling snow and holiday lights seem to add an extra layer of magic that we’ll always adore.
Tell us, fellow Michiganders: what are some of your favorite winter pastimes here in the Great Lakes State? Whether they’re silly or heartfelt, we’d love to hear about them. Share your thoughts and memories in the comment section!