Love. Snow. Outdoor recreation. If that trio sounds like an amazing time to you, then a February spent in Detroit's outdoors may become your new favorite month of the year - especially with these top 10 outdoor events for your enjoyment coming down the pipeline.
Don't call it a comeback - winter in Detroit is finally hitting its stride, and February is picking up right where January left off. The "Big Four Ski Resorts" are, as the kids would say, bussin. Winter races are kicking off left and right. Primetime showcase events are coming to town. And our outdoor community has finally accepted that the cold has arrived, so we might as well embrace it wholeheartedly - especially during this most romantic of months.
In case you're new here, we at Expedition Detroit love winter. As in a honeymoon phase, unbridled infatuation with winter. Yes, we know - that's an uncommon take for this coldest and darkest of seasons. We justcan't help our attraction to finding new backcountry ski lines, freshly groomed runs, and wide open trailheads.
For our community members that don't necessarily ascribe to our winter appreciation fan club, don't fret; we get it. To make February a little more palatable, we've done some heavy lifting on curating this month's top ten outdoor events that every outdoor enthusiast should enjoy.
Who knows, you also may end up falling in love with winter...maybe...
1. Defrost at CRAMBA's Snow Biking Festival
February 4th | River Bends Park | 12 p.m.
Arctic temperatures. Freshly groomed trails. Two fat tires ready to take them on. Layer up and embrace the frost, my friends - today is the Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association's annual "¡Ay CRAMBA It's Cold Out! Snow Biking Festival." Join the CRAMBA and Southeast Michigan's fat biking faithful for an afternoon spent enjoying group rides, fat bike demos, hot bonfires, chili, and tasty beverages with a hundred of your new best fat biking friends.
2. Discover New Trails at Ojibway Nature Centre
Throughout February | Ojibway Provincial Park | 10 a.m.
When scavenging the Internet for exciting outdoor events, the Expedition Detroit team especially keeps an eye out for new frontiers for our predominantly American audience. This month, we're planning on heading over the border to Ojibway Provincial Park - just south of Windsor, Ontario - to explore new trails on one of the Ojibway Nature Centre’s guided hikes. The hikes cross various locations throughout the Ojibway Prairie Complex, including the original tallgrass prairie and oak savannah habitats of Black Oak Heritage Park, Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, Spring Garden Natural Area, and the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve.
3. Viva la Après at Detroit's Big Four Resorts
Throughout February | Alpine Valley, Mt. Brighton, and Mt. Holly Ski Resorts
Of all of the time-honored traditions associated with a ski trip, you would be hard-pressed to beat a good ol' fashion Après-ski. For the uninitiated, "Après" is loosely defined as any pre or post-ski activity that typically involves a healthy level of rivalry or debauchery.
And don't, friends - the Big Four have plenty of Après to go around.
While each of the resorts have their respective events going down, Alpine Valley Ski Resort has the two Après headliners this month with their 60th Anniversary celebration and a classic "Retro Night" event.
4. Support Conservation on a Guided Evening Hike
February 10th | Avon Nature Preserve | 6 p.m.
Just like any other undertaking in life, adding a higher purpose to outdoor recreation - such as supporting conservation while hiking, skiing, or hunting - undoubtedly makes the experience more memorable and enjoyable. This month, the Clinton River Watershed Council (the "CRWC") invites you to join in on one such opportunity: a guided hike through the Avon Nature Preserve, complete with a pre-hike coffee and hot cocoa bar. All proceeds go towards CRWC's mission to protect, enhance, and celebrate the Clinton River, its watershed, and Lake St. Clair.
5. Treat Yourself at a Winter Wellness Weekend
Throughout February | Valade Park, Detroit, Michigan
As much as we strive to facilitate a platform of eternal optimists, we're not oblivious to the spike in mental and physical health deterioration that Detroit winters can unleash. Fortunately for all of us, the amazing team at the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy have launched their Winter Wellness Weekends to tackle this community epidemic head on. Head down to Valade Park along the Detroit Riverfront for these free "WWW" events, whichj include "Power Polar Walks," dog-friendly "Pack Walks," and guided tour's of our nationally top-ranked international riverfront.
6. Rock Out at Red Bull Heavy Metal
February 11th | Hart Plaza, Detroit, Michigan | 1 p.m.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you can only attend one of these events during February, then we stop reading here: Red Bull's "Heavy Metal" downtown snowboarding event is the show for you. For one day only, the word's top snowboarding athletes will descend upon Hart Plaza for a masterclass in urban winter riding. Beyond the world-class showcase of talent, this event also promotes Detroit as an international destination for both urban and rural outdoor recreation. This event represents a win for our city, and we can't wait to witness greatness as the world's best snowboarders put on a show at Hart Plaza.
7. Earn the Couch at the Super 5K
February 12th | Novi, Michigan | 8:30 a.m.
Let's all recognize an indisputable fact: Super Bowl Sunday is an American national holiday, even if the Feds never formally acknowledge it as one. And, whenever there's a holiday, there will always be an appropriately themed holiday 5K run to support it. For the Detroit region, our premiere Super Bowl 5K run - the "Super 5K" - is annually hosted by our friends at RF Events. Lace up the shoes, burn some pregame calories, and earn that spot on the couch!
8. Clear some Calories for Fat Tuesday at the Paczki Run
February 18th | Hamtramck, Michigan | 10 a.m.
Fitness fanatics, brace yourselves - the paczkis and all of their delicious temptations are coming. Fortunately for all of us watching our waistlines this winter, the annual "Paczki Run" in Hamtramck provides an efficient outlet to clear out some caloric space before the pastries come calling. The 5K run guides participants on a tour of Hamtramck - "the world in 2 square miles" - before concluding a finish line stocked with beer and...you guessed it...fresh paczkis.
9. Embrace the WTF Lifestyle at Winter Trail Fest 2023
February 18th | Island Lake State Recreation Area | 11:30 a.m.
Freezing temperatures. Snow-covered trails. Half-marathon trail racing event. If at least one of these descriptors gave you a "WTF?" sentiment coupled with curiosity, then congratulations - you've found the perfect mid-winter racing event. If logging serious miles in the dead of winter is moderately appealing to you, then we strongly encourage joining the off-season running faithful at the the third annual "Winter Trail Fest's" half-marathon or 5-mile race events. Bonus points if you also join in at June's "Summer Trail Fest Ultra and Half Marathon," appropriately acronymed "STFU."
10. Feel the Love at Cupid's Undie Run
February 18th | Detroit, Michigan | 12 p.m.
You really didn't think we'd end this "Events Article" without a Valentine's Day themed race, did you? Oh, and we found a good one. This year, strip down and feel the love (while probably going numb) at the "Cupid's Undie Run" through Downtown Detroit! Join thousands of runners in cities all across the U.S. to support patients affected by neurofibromatoses, a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and affects 1 in every 3,000 births. The run appropriately starts with ample drinking and dancing to warm up, followed by a mile(ish) run in your best undies, before concluding with an epic dance party at the finish line.
Keeping with the holiday spirit, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to tell you all - our growing, dynamic community - how much we love and appreciate you. Wishing you nothing but the best for this month and rest of the 2023 winter season. And, as always, we can’t wait to see you out one, two, or all of these events!
Do you host an upcoming outdoor event that you would like to be featured in a future article? If yes, then we would love to hear from you! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss Expedition Detroit feature opportunities.