Snowmobiles cross ice bridge to Mackinac Island

Snowmobiles cross ice bridge to Mackinac Island

ST. IGNACE, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- There's a short window of time every year when the weather is cold enough to create thick enough ice to snowmobile from the mainland to Mackinac Island.

At the right time, volunteers test the ice and place Christmas trees in a line, marking the path.

In January, the waterway between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island was closed to boat traffic, leaving the most common means of transportation, ferries, frozen in their ports.

The only other ways are by plane, or by going across the ice bridge.

“It was terrifying, but exhilarating and we were high-fiving when we made it across,” said Liza Corlett who crossed during her visit from Indianapolis.

What might be too scary for some, draws hundreds of people to the island during the winter.

“We just drove around in a circle basically, went to the hotel, took pictures," said Brandon Dinser, a snowmobiler visiting from Flint.

“I encourage people to come up here and visit," Corlett said. It really is a beautiful area.”

For those who live and work on the island, it's simply the most practical means of transportation.

“There’s a handful of us that are doing projects over there that we can haul on the slays behind our snowmobiles," said Matt Myers during a trip to the mainland to pick up supplies.

On those slays, people haul everything from carpet, to plumbing supplies to lumber.

Some even unloading lumber directly from flatbed trucks onto their slays.

“I am working on a house at the end of the airport, so I'm going to be hauling some two-by materials, some drywall, odds and ends," Myers said.

For some visitors, it's simply a bucket list trip.

“Definitely something that if it’s on your bucket list, do it," Dinser said.

Weather is expected to get warmer on Wednesday, but snowmobilers in St. Ignace said they're not worried about that effecting the ice conditions.

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