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Pigeon Creek lodge opens Monday

Becky Vargo • Dec 12, 2016 at 1:00 PM

WEST OLIVE — Several inches of fresh snow and the first official “snow day” of the school year has led Ottawa County Parks to open its Pigeon Creek Lodge for the season.

The lodge, located at 12524 Stanton St. in West Olive, is open until 8 p.m. today.

While dependent on snow conditions, the lodge now will generally be open the following hours: 4-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1-10 p.m. Fridays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

During satisfactory snow conditions, the park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m, with trails lit after dusk, officials said. Because Mother Nature dictates the hours, it can be tricky. Skiers should keep the Pigeon Creek hotline handy to stay informed on the ski conditions and lodge hours: 616-738-9531.

Pigeon Creek offers 10 miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails that meander through pine plantations, hardwood forests and wetlands along the Pigeon River. A large, lighted sledding hill is also available adjacent to the lodge.

"As Ottawa County residents, we have some of the best ski trails right in our backyard,” said park spokesperson Jessica VanGinhoven. “Once the snow begins to fall, our trail groomers keep the classic and skate ski lanes in peak condition for as long as the weather will allow.”

There are no entry or trail fees, but there is a charge of between $5 and $8 for anyone wishing to rent snowshoes or cross-country skis.

The lodge also offers refreshments, a fieldstone fireplace and restrooms.

Ski lessons

"Cross-country skiing is an excellent way to stay in shape through the winter months," VanGinhoven said. "All skill levels are welcome at Pigeon Creek, but if you want to brush up on your technique, we offer lessons beginning in January.”

Ski clinics are geared to different ability levels. Space is limited and the cost is $8. Skis are not provided, but can be rented from the lodge for an additional fee. Register online at miOttawa.org/OCPEvents.

Beginner: Learn about equipment and basic ski techniques. Those age 10 and older are welcome. Every two children must be accompanied by an adult.

Intermediate: for experienced adult skiers wishing to refine their technique and ski more efficiently.

Ski Skating: for experienced adult skiers who want to learn several skate techniques. Skate skis are required and limited numbers are available to rent in the lodge.

Directions

From U.S. 31, take Stanton Street and travel 3 miles east to the park entrance. From 120th Avenue, travel west on Stanton about a half-mile. Learn more at miOttawa.org/parks.

Restrictions

As a reminder to park visitors, dog walking and hiking are not allowed once the trails have been groomed. Snowboarding is not allowed on the sledding hill or anywhere at the park.

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