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Hitting the slopes in Michigan …with snowboarder Matt Brengman

- Elise

Matt Brengman is far from your average snow boarder. The sixteen-year-old “self-taught slopestyle prodigy” is from Traverse City, Michigan, which is a world away from the usual, more recognizable snowboarding/skiing spots such as Lake Tahoe or Park City.

While Michigan may not be home to as tall mountains as Colorado, or to as much of an “established infrastructure” as New England, or have the cachet of the Alps, it offers a unique skiing/snowboarding experience for a good value. There is a variety of outdoor and indoor winter sport facilities, along with beautiful surroundings associated with being on Lake Michigan. Just Northeast of Traverse City is the Shanty Creek Resort, a 4,00 acre premier, full-service recreational complex. In fact, Ski Magazine rated Shanty Creek the Midwest’s number-one destination in value, dining, lodging, weather and après ski activities. The Shanty Creek ski area features a 450-foot vertical with 49 runs for every ability level, plus four snowboarding terrain parks and a tubing park.

Another area of interest is Hickory Hill, where Matt Brengman learned to snowboard. “Hickory was a wonderful place to start snowboarding,” he says. “It might be small, but they build a pretty good park that you can hit many times in one day.” Since the mountains aren’t gargantuan, one can do more runs in one day, which can help with perfecting your tricks, like Matt Brengman did.

In the past year, Matt Brengman has greatly proved his skills worthy of worldwide recognition. This past April, he attended the USASA Nationals (the largest snowboarding competition in the world) on Copper Mountain in Colorado. Matt, the unlikely Michiganian, captured first place in his age group. But he didn’t stop there. He went on to New Zealand to train and he even competed against some of the best pro-boarders in the world at The Burton New Zealand Open, where Matt placed 22nd out of 77.

For more information on Traverse City and the variety of fun things to do there, visit http://www.visittraversecity.com/index.php. For more on Matt visit his website: http://www.mattbrengman.com/.

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