By: Matt Lester
It’s been a few years since we last rode trails in the great state of Michigan. Every year our team confers about the significance of the Michigan snowmobile market, one of the largest in North America – perhaps in the world.
We’re very familiar with the remarkable trail system, jaw-dropping scenery and infectious enthusiasm for the sport throughout the snow-filled regions of Michigan and we’ve been anxious to get back. So when we received an invitation to stay at the beautiful Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Traverse City, we jumped at the chance to re-visit this snowmobiling Mecca and immerse ourselves in this sledder’s paradise.
You really have to experience snowmobiling in Traverse City, Michigan for yourself to fully comprehend what the sport means to this community once the snow flies. Some might call it snowmobiling brotherhood, but the people of Traverse City, Michigan sure know how to show visitors a good time. We took this opportunity to introduce a couple of newbie riders to snowmobiling and brought along two old buddies from our past for this adventure. Darryl Waugh and Derek Moreau are friends we had grown up with. These guys are about as fresh to the sport of snowmobiling as you can get and we felt this was the perfect chance to see how new riders, with no prior notions, truly felt about snowmobiling life in Traverse City.
Our journey began when Derek, my brother Mike and I picked up Darryl in Troy, Michigan with sleds securely loaded in our Triton enclosed trailer. We jumped on I75 North and four hours later we were checking into the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa. Do yourself a favor when visiting the Traverse City area and contact the Grand Traverse Resort www.GrandTraverseResort.com. This is your one-stop shop for luxury accommodations, delicious dining choices and people who share a common passion for snowmobiling.
One of the most passionate and interesting snowmobile enthusiasts we’ve ever met is co-owner of Blue Sky Rentals www.bluesky-tvc.com, Jamie Bush. Jamie, along with business partners, Mike Manning and Ed Griffin, are not only diehard snowmobile nuts but are solid people who will guide you along the endless GTASC trail system, regardless of your riding skill level. These educated and experienced sledders know the area well and can take you to spots you might not otherwise see when you’re riding solo.
At the very least, it’s worth hanging out with the Blue Sky team for the pure entertainment. You will not be disappointed. Also joining us on our adventure were new riders Steve Timmer, the resort’s Director of Marketing and J. Mike DeAgostino, the man who helped put this all together. J. Mike is the Public Relations Manager at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa and he is extremely proud and passionate about this superb destination.
After a great meal at the Grand Traverse Resort and a solid night’s rest we awoke to ideal conditions with a light dusting of snow on an already substantial base. A quick jaunt over to the trailhead was where we were met by the rest of our riding group and is where Blue Sky Rentals is located. We easily purchased our trail passes at the trail head’s popular snowmobile restaurant, Peegeo’s, for $35 (cash) each and were ready to roll.
Having Blue Sky Rentals guide us was definitely the way to go as we had the chance to sit back, relax and just enjoy the ride. Obviously, with half of our pack being new riders we plugged along at an easy pace, but it was a nice change from the velocity we’re used to riding with the more experienced Supertrax crew.
Our newbie riders did extremely well on the freshly groomed trails and had ear-to-ear grins at every stop. One of those stops included a visit to the Kalkaska warming station http://www.youtube.com/user/mattlester2376#p/u/1/ByF03gixZY4
Important Places to Visit:
Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
Aerie Restaurant (16th Floor, Grand Traverse Resort)
Traverse City Visitors Bureau
Blue Sky Rentals
Grand Traverse Area Snowmobile Council
Fife Lake Inn