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Ice skating ribbon

HOUGHTON — Visitors and residents of the Midwest’s “snow capital” have a new outdoor attraction this winter. This past Friday, the City of Houghton launched a new outdoor ice-skating ribbon at the Ray Kestner Waterfront Park on the shores of the Keweenaw Waterway. Skaters can enjoy a scenic loop around the park with views of the historic Portage Lake Lift Bridge and easy access to downtown dining and shopping.

“Not everyone is a skier or snowshoer,” explained Eric Waara, Houghton City Manager. “After seeing people’s reaction to the opportunity to skate on the Portage itself earlier this winter around the holidays, it was easy to see that this might be something people would use and be fun for everyone.”

For now, the newest downtown Houghton feature is simply a loop around the park. But Waara envisions future iterations will add more excitement and activity to the skating ribbon. “We’ve never done this before, so we are trying to keep it simple. But in the future, perhaps we could add some moguls or elevation. We’d like to extend it in the future, but we’re going to have to see how this goes first.”

The ice-skating ribbon adds to the area’s abundance of outdoor winter attractions, including Mont Ripley, Michigan’s oldest downhill ski hill. Additional local winter attractions include the nearby Michigan Tech Winter Trails System which contains 35 km of groomed cross country skiing trails (24 km for fat-tire biking) and 35 km of ungroomed trails suitable for snowshoeing. The greater Keweenaw snowmobile trail network, which includes nearly 200 miles of groomed trails, attracts visitors from across the country.

The City of Houghton is renowned for its annual snowfall, averaging nearly 250 inches each winter. Located in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, the city is home to Michigan Tech University and is widely considered the birthplace of professional hockey.

Visit www.Keweenaw.info for the latest information on the region’s winter outdoor attractions, snowfall amounts and trail conditions.

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