The Escanaba area has two of the biggest ice sports playgrounds in Michigan, Big and Little Bays de Noc and the Escanaba River. From late-January through February you will find the best ice and snow conditions for these whipping across the ice, exhilarating sports. What are you waiting for! Come experience the thrill!
Great Lakes Ice Racing – ATVs & Motorcycles
February 3, 10, 17 & 24: Race Registration, 9 a.m.; Race Track Practice, 11 a.m.-Noon; Ice Racing, 1 p.m.; $5 suggested donation
February 16 – RNN Saturday Night Shootout: Heat Races, 5 p.m. sharp; Features start after dark, approximately 7:30 p.m.; $5 suggested donation
March 2 (March 3 make up race day): Race Registration, 9 a.m.; Race Track Practice, 11 a.m.-Noon; Ice Racing, 1 p.m.; $5 suggested donation
Reasons to come back every year
Racing typically starts the first Sunday in January and continues through March. Get annual details here.
Where to find the action
This sport not only gives gearheads and thrill seekers a chance to race their motorcycles and ATVs on the ice, it’s outstanding entertainment for the entire family. Come prove your grit on the ice or cheer on your favorite racers at the oval track located on the Escanaba River at County Road 420, West Gladstone Bridge, Gladstone.
Pee-Wee (11 years and younger) to adults take to the ice. Check out the rules here.
Local shops for machines, parts and service
New and used ATVs and motorcycles, apparel, equipment, parts and servicing are available at the shops below.
Cycle City, Inc., Escanaba
UP & Running Powersports, Escanaba
UP Motorsports, Escanaba
Hard-water boaters will tell you there is no greater adrenaline rush than the wind catching your boat’s sail and sending the runner’s ripping across the ice. Both the Big and Little Bays de Noc offer acres of wide-open ice and wind. The sport, however, does require smooth, snow-free ice conditions to enjoy the ride.
Boaters recommend if you’re new to the sport, start youth with the smaller Ice Optimist and for adults the lighter, smaller (and more affordable) DN. After a couple seasons of sailing you can step up to a Nite, then progress to the more spirited Renegade and ultimately the “Formula One” yacht speedster Skeeter.
Always remember no ice on the Bays is 100% safe.
To learn more about this thrilling sport and safety tips, visit iceboat.org.
Pond Hockey and Ice Skating
2019 Special Events
Feb. 2: 10th Annual Nahma Inn Pond Hockey Tournament, Nahma Inn, Nahma. Following the tournament, there is karaoke in the historic General Store. Call (906) 644-2486 for more information.
Where you can ice skate
Clear off your own skating area on either of the Bays, bring your figure skates or ice hockey gear and have fun. Some places that have ready-to-skate ice:
Catherine Bonifas Civic Center Outdoor Ice Rink at 225 N. 21st Street, Escanaba, offers separate figure skating and hockey areas. It’s free to skate and there are a warming station, restrooms and concessions available. Don’t have skates? You can borrow at no charge from a limited number of figure and hockey skates in youth to adult sizes.
Gladstone Public Ice Skating is held at Gladstone Municipal Beach on Lake Shore Drive in Gladstone. The rink area is lighted for night skating, has on-site staff, a warming hut and skates to loan out.
Hannahville Ice & Turf Complex (formerly the Wells Sports Complex) in Escanaba offers open skates and lessons on its indoor artificial ice rinks.
Ice/Snow Kite Skiing/Boarding
If you have ever kite skied or boarded on unfrozen waters (or have always wanted to try it), visit the Escanaba area NOW! Ice kite skiing and boarding is four times easier to learn than on thawed waters and it’s a great way to not only learn the sport but to stay in shape for warmer weather. Ice speed rides deliver highs like no other.
When you are in the Escanaba area there are no designated kiting areas. You’ll have no trouble finding acres of open places to ski or board on the Big and Little Bays de Noc. The best conditions are when the snow is a little wet and sticking to the ice. Because the air is colder you can get a good ride with winds from 5-30 mph (beginners don’t go out if it’s more than 15 mph).
All you will need to race with the wind
You’ll need a kite, skis (they can hold an edge at faster speeds) or snowboard (often easier to learn on), helmet, harness, knee and elbow pads and ice claws for self-rescuing should you fall through the ice.
Dress in winter clothes similar to what a downhill or cross-country skier wears and definitely bring goggles. Expose very little of your skin. Bring an extra layer so you can change into dry, warm clothes after your run.
Where to get equipment and learn more tips
MISH Watersports, Gladstone