Northern Michigan University students will receive free access to all of the bike, ski and snowshoe trails that comprise the Noquemanon Trail Network. They can also check out snowbikes, snowshoes and cross-country skis for use on the NTN at no charge. To celebrate the new partnership between Northern and the NTN, equipment demos will be available during the inaugural Snowfest kickoff to the winter semester on Thursday, Jan. 18, on the NMU academic mall.
Snowfest is a winterized version of Fall Fest, which traditionally marks the first day of the fall semester. Free activities from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 18 will include the equipment demos on groomed trails on campus, a student organization fair, giveaways from area businesses, outdoor games, live entertainment and free treats and hot cocoa. Warren Miller’s extreme ski film The Line of Descent will be shown at 7:30 p.m. in Forest Roberts Theatre. Admission is $2 for NMU students and $8 for the general public.
The NMU-NTN partnership provides a value-added benefit for the NMU student experience and promotes participation in healthy outdoor activities easily accessible from campus.
“The value to the NTN is increasing the potential number of trail users,” said Jon Mommaerts, vice president of the NTN Board of Directors. “We can use those numbers whenever we’re looking for grant opportunities. Students who use the trails may also become NTN members after they graduate, continuing the relationship and contributing revenue.
“This partnership provides another funding source to help stabilize and grow the organization. We’ve been very much volunteer-driven since the beginning, but the NTN has become so expansive, we need to professionalize the organization and create the experience we want the community to enjoy to ensure the NTN is here for the long term.”
NMU students will be able to check out fat-tire bikes at the Wildcat FitZone in the housing complex and at the NTN Forestville Trailhead, which features a lodge with couches, a fireplace and WiFi. Classic and skate cross-country skis, boots and poles are available at the PEIF Outdoor Recreation Center or at the NTN Forestville Trailhead. Student hosts are available to give lessons or help with any questions.
Lakeshore Bike and Down Wind Sports provided discounts on equipment for the program and are donating time for maintenance and lessons.
For more information on the NTN, visit noquetrails.org.