Snowboarders and skiers hunt ducks

Alisa Fox

Once a year in January, families, friends and NMU students gather at Marquette Mountain for the annual Rubber Ducky Hunt and a night of guaranteed fun.

This year the hunt will take place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29.

“It started as a fun event for a January weekend,” said Vern Barber, manager at Marquette Mountain and organizer of the duck hunt. “We took the idea from another ski hill and made it our own. Now it’s just a good time for families and groups.”

Barber said they also encourage college students to form groups with an undefined member limit and participate in the hunt.

“It’s not your average ski day,” Barber said. “It’s fun for students to come with their friends or their clubs. It’s just a fun couple of hours with the chance to win up to $600.”

At 12:30 p.m., the ski lifts will close down and the Mountain staff will sweep the slopes free of any stragglers.

Once they know that everyone is off the slopes, a small crew will begin to distribute the 2,000 rubber ducks around the slopes.

“We just hope it’s not snowing this year,” Barber said. “It was snowing last year while we were hiding the ducks and it made it pretty difficult.”

As soon as the ducks are hidden, the ski lift will run the participants up the hill to a designated starting line.
The participants will then find as many rubber ducks as they can.

“The start of the scramble and the end when they bring all the ducks back and we announce the winners; those are my favorite parts,” Barber said.

The group that finds the most rubber ducks gets a prize of $300 in Mountain Money that can be used for lift tickets and rental at Marquette Mountain.

There’s also a “lucky” duck and the person or group that finds that will also win $300 in Mountain Money.

“We just want to make it fair,” Barber said. “We added the lucky duck so that smaller families and groups will think it’s worth it.”

Cindi Carlson, senior clerk in NMU’s Housing and Residence Life office and volunteer ski patrol for Marquette Mountain, said she is looking forward to her first year participating in the Rubber Ducky Hunt.

Carlson said she wanted to be on a ski patrol since she was a child.

So when the opportunity came up at Marquette Mountain, she grabbed it.

Now, she will be putting her skiing skills to use at the Rubber Ducky Hunt.

“It’ll be challenging to find a way to gather the ducks and bring them down the hill without dropping them all,” Carlson said.

Carlson said students should come and participate because of the chance at free money. She also said to watch out for the other specialty days at Marquette Mountain.

These specialty days include their “County Weeks” where for one week, people in a specified county will receive lift tickets for $17.

Marquette Mountain has designated Saturdays as “College Nights.”

After 4 p.m. on Saturdays, college students can bring their student identification and receive free rentals and $15 lift tickets.

For more information on any of these events, call Marquette Mountain at (906) 225-1155.