As Kyle Long grew up very near the shores of Lake St. Clair, and it came time to submit those college applications, he was looking for schools that matched his academic choices, and, additionally, offered some of the pleasures and excitement available around Lake St. Clair. When he received his acceptance letter from Michigan Technological University, he was thrilled on both counts.
As Michigan Tech, or MTU, was founded in 1885 and is known for being a leader in technology, engineering and scientific degree programs, it fit exactly into his desire to major in computer science, now changed to electrical engineering. In addition, listed as the overall #2 college perk available per Nick Sirdenis, General Manager, is a season pass to Mont Ripley, the Michigan Tech “Ski Hill.”
For those who are not familiar with MTU’s location, it is in the Keweenaw Peninsula, jutting out into Lake Superior. And as the saying goes, “Location, location, location,” gives Michigan Tech and Mont Ripley the perfect location for Winter Recreation.
The Mont Ripley Ski Hill itself is certified by the International Federation of Skiing, or FIS, and this certification is known as “homologation.” “There is a long list of criteria to qualify for this Homologation,” according to Sirdenis, General Manager, “which not only insures safety, but also challenge to the racer.”
Sirdenis continued on saying, “The trails at Michigan Tech meet this difficult qualification and have held Junior and National Championship races. Again this year the Junior National Championships will be held there. As for the downhill rules, Mont Ripley is also “homologated” for racing on our Racer’s Ridge Run, and with that we have several races there every year.”
And, if that isn’t enough, you can take classes for credit at Michigan Tech for skiing, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, snow curling, and most other winter sports you can think of, according to Long.
And if you think you have thought of them all, consider broomball. “Broomball is huge at Michigan Tech. It’s somewhat like hockey and definitely intense” explains Long. It’s played with a broom that is meticulously ‘tailored’ for the sport and a thick plastic ball, about triple the size of a tennis ball. Kyle says he was “drafted and it’s lots of fun.” With four leagues and approximately 30 teams in a league, Long shares that he “wishes there were broomball teams near home, as I’d totally play in a heart beat.”
Other Winter Recreation fun includes cardboard boat races, where 8 to 12 people sled down the hill for the prize, “human” ice bowling, where you sit on a round sled and your team members hurl you into the pins, and, of course, Winter Carnival, the biggest event of the season.
“2011 Winter Carnival: Thousands of Pages Unfold in the Bitter Cold,” is a absolutely a sight to be seen. Ice and snow carvings have the perfect weather in which to exist, and are so creative, that they are nothing short of amazing. This year’s Winter Carnival is February 9 through 12, and Long says everyone begins their work on the ice and snow carvings as soon as they return from Christmas break.
Along with the ice carvings, the Winter Carnival Events are pretty original, too. First off, alphabetically, there is the Beards Competition where you start clean shaven in December and have two months to grow the fullest facial hair possible. There are three categories, beards, goatees, and sideburns, which have been shown off amid skits, songs and have included costumes for the judges benefit.
Other competitions include, snow volleyball, curling, ice bowling, tug of war with a twist that includs snow and ice, broomball, human dog sled races, ice skating, ice fishing, skating, skiing, and snowshoe races. Something for everyone to be sure.
And, Laura Holt, Long’s girlfriend, assures us that these sports and activities are played by the ladies, too. This includes broomball, ice hockey, snowboarding, cross and downhill skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and more. Laura, though, adds drinking hot cocoa, snuggling under blankets, and playing board games to her list of activities.
All in all if you have to leave the activities and the shores of Lake St. Clair in the Winter to get an education and future job skills, and are looking for a location which is a leader in technilogy, and engineering and scientific degree programs, has the #2 college perk available to students with certification by the International Federation of Skiing, and truly love Winter Recreation, Michigan Technological University, which includes the Mont Ripley Ski Hill, in the Keweenaw Peninsula is the perfect spot.