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Snowfest 2020

Northern Michigan University welcomes students to winter sports

Building snowmen and trying out fat tire bikes are part of Wednesday’s Snowfest at Northern Michigan University. Indoor and outdoor booths filled the Academic Mall and Jamrich Hall to introduce students to recreational sports activities and student organizations. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — A makeshift track for fat tire bikes and a sizable snow sculpture was part of the Northern Michigan University Academic Mall on Wednesday during Snowfest.

Put on by NMU Rec Sports, the event gave students an introduction to winter activities as well as various campus organizations before the beginning of the semester.

Chris Smith, outdoor recreation manager, said Snowfest acted as a “winter kickoff event.”

An indoors portion featured booths from multitude of student organizations and an outdoor portion promoted the availability of free rentals for fat tire bikes, snowshoes and cross-country skis for NMU students.

It helps if students have a place to use these items.

So, it was fortuitous the Noquemanon Trail Network was represented at Snowfest.

“The students get free access to the trail network,” said Smith, who noted Down Wind Sports in Marquette, which also was at Snowfest, provides many fat tire bikes and equipment to NMU.

Smith said the NTN came to the Academic Mall a few days before Snowfest to build a trail.

“We’re letting people hop on the bikes and get a little free run on the trail to kind of give them an idea of what it might be like on north and south trails in town,” Smith said.

They also could have tried out skis and snowshoes, both of which are handy to have the NTN trails.

NMU student Nolan Drumm tried out a fat tire bike.

“That’s gnarly, Nolan,” someone shouted to him as he made a lap on the track.

He said there’s a big demand for such items in the winter, especially with NMU’s partnership with the NTN.

“We’ve been increasing in rentals significantly because of the new partnership,” Smith said.

However, some students still don’t know rentals are available.

Rentals are available at two locations at NMU, he said: the Wildcat Fit Zone and the Outdoor Recreation Center at the Physical Educational Instructional Facility.

Indoor booths at Snowfest included those from the NMU Conservation Crew, the NMU Hoop House, Superior Edge, the Student Leader Fellowship Program, the Center for Student Enrichment and others.

The NMU Volunteer Center also operated a booth.

“We host many events,” student Hope Pintar said. “Our big event is Make A Difference Day, which we had in the fall when we go in the community and rake leaves.”

It also was to be involved in Monday’s honoring of Martin Luther King Jr.

“We basically try to get students involved,” Pintar said. “We put out a student-connect biweekly for students to sign up for events for out in the community.”

Every Wednesday they put together Cat Packs, food packages that are distributed to children in need in the community, she said.

Some groups probably are lesser known.

Marquette After Dusk members take part in a role-playing game based on a vampire.

“We essentially live and work and play in the dystopian version of Marquette,” said member and student Loki Domina, “and we play different characters based on different versions of vampires.”

Each clan has its own personality, traits and jobs, she said.

Domina also likened the game to an organized improv troupe, with rules and politics.

“It’s a great deal of fun, pretending to be characters that we create,” she said.

The group meets at 6 p.m. Fridays at McLintock Hall.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.