Skate Sailing? It’s Been in Michigan For a Long Time.
Those who are athletically inclined enjoy a number of sports during Michigan's winter. There's skiing, snowboarding, tubing (which, thankfully, doesn't require a lot of skill), and ice skating.
But, have you heard of skate sailing?
I recently came across a video from a man named John Young. The video shows him skating on the very frozen Lake Leelanau. What caught my attention, besides the breathtaking sites, was the sail he was using to get around the lake. Check it out:
Being from Florida, I've seen and even tried windsurfing. But, this is the first time I've ever seen a sail used with ice skating.
As it turns out, skate sailing has been around for a long time.
History of Skate Sailing
From what I could find, people in America have been enjoying skate sailing since the early 20th century with photos dating back to 1920. However, it's believed that the sport was first introduced in either Scandinavia or the Netherlands in the late 1800s.
It wasn't just for pros. In fact, part of the appeal was that anyone who possessed even the most basic sewing skills could create a sail out of cotton and hop on the nearest frozen body of water to enjoy it.
The sails weighed about 20 pounds or less and the sport, apparently, could be learned in just a few hours. With the sail, a skater could reach speeds of 50mph if the winds cooperated. Read more here.
Amazingly, there's footage from the early 1900s showing how these sails worked:
More recently, the sport has, of course, become more modern with skaters using clear sails or even airborne sails. Although this video is from 10 years ago so, the sport may have evolved even further since then:
Today, there doesn't seem to be a lot of places that offer skate sailing/ice sailing. A quick search of "skate sailing in Michigan" brings up the above video from 10 years ago with an accompanying article but, little else in terms of equipment rental or where to go to enjoy it.
But, if you're interested, don't let that stop you. Clearly, people, like John Young, are still out there enjoying skate sailing. Check in with your local sporting goods store and see what they offer.
Since moving to Michigan, I have found that there are two types of people during Michigan's winter. Those that love to push themselves with winter sports, like skate sailing. And, those that would prefer to cozy up next to a fire.
I fall into the latter category. With that in mind, here are some cozy cabins for a perfect winter getaway: