Let it Snow! Opportunities for Outdoor Fun this Winter

Chilly weather signals the time to trade in our rakes for shovels and sweaters for puffy coats. Kids will enjoy that extra hot cup of cocoa after coming inside with flushed cheeks and cold noses.  

As the snowflakes fall, we’ve rounded up the best locations to play in Southwest Michigan’s winter wonderland. Whether it’s sledding down a hill, tubing, ice skating, cross-country skiing, or competitive downhill skiing, we’ve found the favorite spots in the Kalamazoo area for winter fun.

Verify hours of operation before heading out. Inclement weather can shut down outdoor locations and indoor locations can cancel ice time due to tournaments or special events.

Sledding Hills

Sledding is an annual winter activity for all ages that does not require much more than a bundled kid and a favorite sled. We’ve listed the preferred sledding spots from our readers below. Make sure to check with property owners before sledding and follow all local laws and regulations


Toboggan & Snow Tubing

If you want to up your sledding game, tubing is another fun option. Make sure to verify age and height requirements, bring cash, and call the snow lines to make sure they are open.

  • Echo Valley  |  8495 East H Ave, Kalamazoo | 269-349-3017 (Main) 269-349-3291 (Snow) Echo Valley offers tubing and tobogganing at their premier winter sports park. Tubes and toboggans are provided; there are no age or height/weight restrictions for their activities. Cash OnlyHours:  Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM with special weekday hours offered during the holiday season & winter break.
  • Timber Ridge | 07500 23 1/2 Street, Gobles | 269-694-9449 (Main) 269-694-9158 (Snow) Timber Ridge is located on 60 beautiful, wooded acres northwest of Kalamazoo. They offer skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. Tube riders must be at least 5 years old and 42 inches tall. Tubing Hours: Friday: 3:00 PM to close, Saturday & Sunday: 10:00 AM to close

Ice Skate

Ice Skating – Indoor and Outdoor

Ice rinks provide some great opportunities for winter fun: ice skating, hockey, broomball, and curling are all fun activities on ice to experience this winter. We’ve included both indoor and outdoor rinks around Kalamazoo.

Indoor Rinks

Lawson Ice Arena | 2009 Howard St, Kalamazoo | 269-387-3046

Skate like a Bronco! Located on Western Michigan University’s campus, Lawson Ice Arena offers open skate time during the weekend. All children 12 & under must be accompanied by an adult. Tip: Bring change for parking meters. Broomball offered.

Open Skate Hours:  Saturday  & Sunday: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Drop-In Hockey Hours: Wednesday: 10:10 PM – 11:30 PM

The Rink – Battle Creek | 75 Houston St, Battle Creek | 269-963-7565

Family owned and operated, The Rink in Battle Creek offers open skate, hockey leagues, and Sticks & Pucks sessions.

Open Skate Hours: Sunday & Tuesday: 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Drop-In Hockey Hours: Tuesday & Friday: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Wings West | 5076 Sports Dr, Kalamazoo | 269-743-4218

Wings West features two NHL-sized ice rinks that are perfect for open skating and hockey. Curling offered.

Open Skate Hours:

Tuesday – Friday:  11:30 AM – 1:30 PM, Saturday:  6:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Sunday:  1:45 PM – 3:30 PM

Drop-In Hockey Hours: Tuesday – Friday:  12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Outdoor Rinks

Millennium Park | 280 Romence Rd, Portage | 269-324-9200

Millennium Park’s outdoor refrigerated rink features skate rental, skate sharpening, snack concessions, restrooms, warming house, and lockers.

Season: Early December – Early March

HoursThursday – Friday: 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Saturday – Sunday: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM with special weekday hours offered during winter break.

Otsego Main Street Ice Rink | Near M89 & Farmer Street, Ostego 

FREE skating downtown Ostego (make sure to bring your own skates)

Season: Early January – Late February

Hours: Weather dependent, check Facebook for updates

South Haven Ice Rink  | 546 Phoenix St, South Haven | 269-639-1113

South Haven is home to a pavilion- covered outdoor ice rink. Due to its cooling system and covered roof, this outdoor rink is open during warm weather (as high as 50 degrees). Skate rental and skate sharpening are available on-site, curling available.

Season: Early December – Early March

Hours: The rink is open daily, hours vary

Downhill Ski & Snowboard

Several options exist in Southwest Michigan to hit the slopes.  Each resort offers equipment rental and lessons to help all skill levels. Make sure to pop on their websites to check weather conditions.

Bittersweet Ski Resort | 600 River Rd, Otsego | 269-694-2820 (Main) 269-694-2032, ext. 23 (Snow)

Bittersweet Ski Resort offers 20 runs of skiing fun and a 350 foot vertical. For beginners, they can ride the “Wondercarpet” (think moving sidewalk) to the tops of the hill, rather than a chairlift.

Lessons: Ski school, race camps, private and group lessons

Swiss Valley Ski Area | 13421 Mann St, Jones | 269-244-5635 (Main) | 269-244-8016 (Snow)

Swiss Valley has 11 runs of varied difficulties and a 225 foot vertical.

Lessons: Ski school, Valley Kid Program, ladies only lessons, progressive lessons

Timber Ridge | 07500 23 1/2 St, Gobles | 269-694-9449 (Main) 269-694-9158 (Snow)

Timber Ridge offers 15 runs of varying difficulties and a 240 foot vertical. 

Lessons:  Kids program, private and group lessons

Cross Country Ski

If downhill skiing is not your thing, lace up some cross-country skis instead. Enjoy some of Michigan’s winter wonderland at a slower pace. Need some help? Check out the Kalamazoo Nordic Skiers or Michigan Trails for additional resources.

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