The Michigan Cup Committee announced yesterday that it has acquired Huron Meadows Metropark in Livingston County from the Huron-Clinton Metropark Authority. Conveniently located just south of Brighton, Michigan, and near the major highway intersection of I-96 and US-23, Huron Meadows is an easy commute from most places in the Detroit Metro region, as well as Toledo, Ohio and Lansing, Michigan. Huron Meadows has made a name for itself recently with it's snow making gear. The park has four snow guns used to cover a section of it cross country ski trails. Last year, the ski trails were groomed up until Easter. This year, grooming as extended from December 8 though this past weekend, and may still be groomed this coming weekend.
"Huron Meadows 1,540-acres of up-north like terrain that's ideal for cross country skiers," says Michigan Cup chair, Ernie Brumbaugh. "In order to grow the sport, we need to attract skiers from major metropolitan markets. Having a trail system so close to Detroit is ideal."
Making snow back in December
Huron Meadows major revenue stream, historically, has been from its golf course operations. With the longer ski season enabled by the snow making equipment, cross country skiing has overtaken golf from a revenue perspective.
The seven-member Board of Commissioners that governs the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority. Jack La Belle, 10-time chair of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, has been a member of the Authority since 2006 and is currently serving as Chair. Says La Belle, "We been very surprised with growth of cross country skiing. The Michigan Cup Committee put together a very enticing proposal. Really, we are more expert with golfing, and the sale of Huron Meadows will let keep focusing on what we know best and provide funding for other Metropark projects."
Skiing on April 2, 2009 at Huron Meadows
Carol Mueller-Brumbaugh, Treasurer for the Michigan Cup Committee explains, "Once we raised the fee for membership dues a few years ago, our balances went way up. We were so flush with cash, we need to find some way to invest it. This seemed the best way to promote skiing and get the biggest bang for our buck."
Transaction details were not disclosed.
Start of the Frosty Freestyle in 2014
Other members of the Michigan Cup Committee has enthusiastic about the acquisition. Curt Peterson talks about why he voted in favor: "We thought about investing in the Vasa Trail, but it being taken over by fatbikes. And Black Mountain is in the middle of nowhere. Downstate, now that's where the skiers are going to come from to keep this sport alive!"
Mike Muha, captain of Team NordicSkiRacer, is ecstatic: "The more skiers down here, the more we can build up the Team. Watch out Headquarters and Hanson Hills/Cross Country Ski Shop!"
Nordic Director of Huron Meadows Metropark, Adam Haberkorn, has big plans. "I've been discussing the future of the park with Ernie and the rest of the committee members. We have some big ideas, and were working some initial project plans. The first thing we're going taking out the golf course and putting in some nice wide rollerski trails, as soon as the snow melts. CXC Skiing already has plans to have a rollerski camp for the CXC Elite Team here in August."
With no need to maintain a golf course, Haberkorn plans to plant trees to provide more shade for the snow cover. Additional drainage will be put in to get rid of water during those occasional winter warm ups. "We had fantastic snow and weather all winter except for the night before the Frosty Freestyle," says Bill McConnell, Chief of Grooming at Huron Meadows. "Then we had rain. We had a devil of a time trying to cut channels in the snow to clear out the water in low spots. Drainage will be awesome!"
Adam Haberkorn and Bill McConnell congratulate each other.
Haberkorn has been is discussions with the US Ski Team about having an early SuperTour race at Huron Meadows. Says someone high up who wished to remain anonymous, "Skiers have been complaining about the altitude in West Yellowstone. And it's frequently too cold up there. If we could hold the opening SuperTour somewhere a little warmer and a little lower, racers would be much happier. And heck, it's a lot easier flying into Detroit Metro than Bozeman, Montana!" Haberkorn says, "We're working with SMI to buy more snow making equipment that works at higher temperatures so we can have an earlier start to the season. We could be open by mid-November or earlier for quality skiing."
What other plans are there? Ernie Burmbaugh gives a hint..."I sure like the Torsby Ski Tunnel."
More details about the future of the Huron Meadows Nordic Trail System will be released at the Groomer Appreciation Party on Saturday, April 12, 2014.