What is the Reindeer Run Nordic Center? The smallest but greatest ski trail in this SW corner of Leelanau county. Very private and the secret training grounds of the Straight Striders.
Where? Located on the first snow ridge inland east from Lake Michigan by the Empire Campgrounds/airport on Osborn Rd. 4 mi from Empire.
Why? Cause I am lazy and don't like to drive to ski (counterproductive).
Trails are somewhat old style meaning not always perfect. The main trail, the Pine Loop, is 1/2 mile and wide enough for skate and track and is beginner (but don't let that fool you). The other, Outer Limits Trail, is just that, basically two loops and a cut over through the "gorge" where speeds of 38 kph are achievable, with many twists and turns on this scenic trail. Part of the "run" goes by the reindeer pen where they like to cruise along with you (very SISU). This trail is also 1/2 miles but grooming is a challenge with our "fleet of three 80's Ski Doos that don't run very well."
The "Lodge" (not to be confused with a real lodge) did not get completed this year because I was out on fires way too much this summer.
The cost is a donation only unless you are rich and want to donate large sums of cash to support my habits. Total intake last year was a bar of Lilac soap which I may re-gift to an unknowing victim (I am not sure if it could be used as a wax supplement).
Last summer I did preform alot of ground work, especially on Pine, to support skate and track and it is awesome. Outer Limits still has a few spots to widen but can be a force to deal with (I have seen you ski).
If you dare to come and conditions are dreadful (this is Michigan), the Dunes Golf course is very close on M-72 and is a great place to fill your needs and there is no charge. Just stay off the greens. This is a popular place to ski and it gets skied a bunch.
Future plans at Reindeer Run are:
Actually, snow making has been discussed and a cooling pond for water may be in place in the next year or so but at two grand a gun...
Enjoy the day and ski away!
Kevinski and his Reindeer herd