Marquette area offers winter equipment rental opportunities


THE GREAT OUTDOORS—PEIF Outdoor Rec Center (ORC) student employee Lexi Hagan stands at the ORC window during business hours. Students can get rental equipment here. Dallas Wiertella/NW

Dallas Wiertella, Staff Writer

Winter in Upper Michigan is known for bitter temperatures and piles of snow, but it also opens up new opportunities for the community to go and embrace the season with outdoor activities. 

One option for students looking to explore and adventure on a budget is renting equipment. Northern Michigan University and the Marquette community offer many options for students to get out there without having to spend on expensive equipment. The PEIF’s Outdoor Rec Center offers free rental services with many options like skis and snowshoes with a one day rental for students. 

“I think it’s an awesome opportunity, our equipment is super regulated and we check it all the time,” sophomore ORC student employee Lexi Hagan said. “But it’s also super convenient for pricing, free skis for a day compared to other places around Marquette is amazing and our rental and return process is super easy.”

This winter semester has had many in person activities canceled or limited due to the pandemic and students could find it hard to get into anything off campus. The ORC looks to bridge the gap and give students more reason to get outside. 

If outdoors is not your form of exercise, then the PEIF still has many opportunities for students to get involved with. Not only holding exercise equipment and two basketball courts, the ORC helps maintain a full indoor rock wall and rents out both harnesses and shoes for any interested students. 

“If you are cooped up in the dorms all the time you are going to get depressed,” Hagan said. “You can go out with Cat Cleats and walk Presque Isle is easy and right there. It can be so mentally clearing, even for me. But being able to move and use the PEIF to move your body and get your brain going. Rock climbing is super fun exercise because you also use your brain, thinking where are you going to put your hands or put your feet.” 

Another option for students looking to get equipment for a winter adventure is Down Wind Sports, located on Third Street in Marquette. Although with the pandemic they no longer offer a full rental service, any students looking to better their gear for current and future winter season may find useful service here. 

“We provide [students] with the equipment and clothing they need to go out and learn new sports or enjoy the ones they already have a passion for,” Down Wind Sports co-owner Bill Thompson said. “The equipment is affordable and good quality and can get people out there to have a lot of fun and enjoy the sports they like to do.” 

Cold temperatures can sometimes be the biggest deterrent of outdoor winter fun and students coming from across the country to even across the world may not be prepared correctly for the dropping temperatures. Down Wind is stocked with winter clothing to keep anyone warm for any adventure. 

A prepared student can break through isolation and get out and enjoy the winter weather. With indoor programs being shut down and new places to be explored, now is the time to take advantage of the community and get geared up for a new winter experience.

“Indoor programming is not prevalent right now but I think that’s a good thing.” Thompson said. “I think being outside is way better than being inside. That’s why people come to Northern, they come for the environment, whether it’s a sunny day in summer or a stormy Saturday night in the winter.”