From the heart of downtown to the coast of Lake Michigan, the Grand Rapids area offers all sorts of opportunities for cold-weather play. Some of our favorite winter pastimes require specialized gear in addition to warm coats, hats and gloves. If you don’t own gear – or you don’t want to lug it with you on your getaway – you can rent what you need from a variety of local sites and providers.

In each of the winter sport categories below, destinations are listed in order of closest to farthest distance from downtown Grand Rapids.

Downhill Skiing

Three area ski resorts rent downhill gear for use on their slopes:

  • Cannonsburg Ski Area, which features 21 runs and nine lifts just 15 minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, rents skis for $35.
  • Bittersweet Ski Resort, about 40 minutes from downtown GR, offers 20 runs and a 350-ft. vertical drop. Ski rentals range from $37-$42.
  • Mulligan’s Hollow, a lakeshore resort 40 minutes from downtown, is home to six slopes and rents skis for $15-$20.

You can also rent a complete downhill ski set ($50/day, $100/3 days, $200/week) at Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus – and use the skis at whichever resort(s) you please. Prices are lower if you need rental skis only.

Cross-Country Skiing

Bill & Paul’s Sporthaus also rents a cross-country ski set ($25/day, $50/3 days or $100/week) you can take with you throughout the region. Alternatively, these sites offer rentals for use on their trails:

  • Palmer Park offers three groomed cross-country trails of roughly two miles each. You can rent skis at the adjacent Kaufman Golf Course – $10 for adults, $8 for kids aged 17 and younger, and $30 for a family of up to five.
  • Pigeon Creek Park features three miles of groomed trails for both classic and skate skiing. Ski rental is $8/3 hours and $2 per additional hour.
  • Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park is home to more than nine miles of trails catering to all levels of skiers. Ski rental is $8/day.
A snowboarder at Cannonsburg.

Cannonsburg Ski Area provides the latest skiing and snowboarding gear for all ages and abilities to rent.

Photo by Aaron Peterson for Experience GR


Rent snowboards and helmets for use at Cannonsburg Ski Area ($35 + $15), Bittersweet Ski Resort ($42 + $15) and Mulligan’s Hollow $15-$20 for snowboards only).


The tubing lanes at Cannonsburg Ski Area are serviced by a “magic carpet” that brings you back up the hill to ensure you get maximum laps. Tube rentals are included with admission, which is $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekdays and holidays. You must make online reservations here.


  • Blandford Nature Center rents snowshoes for use on their ungroomed trails through woods and meadows. Non-member fee is $6 for adults and $3 for children (they’re free for members).
  • Indian Trails Golf Course transforms into a winter sports park in cold weather and offers $3 snowshoe rentals.
  • Cannonsburg Ski Area, with its 11 miles of trails over a variety of terrain, rents snowshoes at $15 for the first hour and $10 for every additional hour.
  • The Wittenbach Wege Center in Lowell rents snowshoes for $5/pair to use on its five miles of trails through 140 acres of forests, wetlands and open fields.
  • Pigeon Creek Park (six miles of trails) and Hemlock Crossing Nature Center (10+ miles) both rent snowshoes for $8 the first three hours and $2 per additional hour. Snowshoe rentals are free for children aged 6 and under with a paid adult rental.
  • Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park rents snowshoes for $8/day, making it easy and affordable to explore four different loops with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, Muskegon Lake and a white pine forest canopy.
Ice Skating at Rosa Parks Circle in Downtown Grand Rapids

Head downtown to Rosa Parks Circle, where you can ice skate outside for an admission fee of $4.

Photo by Brian Kelly for Experience GR.

Ice Skating

If you enjoy skating outdoors, Rosa Parks Circle in downtown GR is the perfect spot. Skates are included in the $4 admission fee for adults and $2 for anyone 17 and under.

About 50 minutes northwest of Rosa Parks Circle, Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park  offers an outdoor ice rink big enough to accommodate both family skating and hockey playing, and a ¼-mile figure-eight skating loop traverses through a white pine forest. Both figure skates and hockey skates can be rented for $8/day. A separate outdoor rink features synthetic ice for skating in any season – it’s $15 for one hour of skate time plus skate rental on this rink.

 Alternatively, you can rent skates and skate indoors at:

Fat Tire Biking

  • The winter trails at Cannonsburg Ski Area are also great for fat tire biking – and the Moosejaw Shop at Cannonsburg rents bikes at $25 for two hours and $45 for four hours.
  • Indian Trails Golf Course offers a 3.7-mile groomed loop for fat tire bikers. During clubhouse hours, visitors can rent fat tire bikes for $20 per 1.5 hours.


The Thrive Outside Gear Library offers Kent County residents the opportunity to rent sleds (and snowshoes) for as little as $0.50/day. Self-serve sled stations are available in Richmond Park, Mulick Park and Plaster Creek Park. Walk up and grab a free sled to use anytime snow conditions are right. 


In addition to rental fees, you may have to pay an admission fee to enjoy some (but not all) of the area’s best slopes, trails and ice rinks. Get out there and enjoy the snowy side of the Grand Outdoors – maybe even try a winter sport you haven’t yet!

Visit our Outdoor Recreation page for even more ways to enjoy nature’s playground.