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My Hometown: Snowboarder Danny Davis on Highland, Michigan

Plenty of snow in the winter, lots of time on the water in the summer.

(Adam Moran)

Plenty of snow in the winter, lots of time on the water in the summer.

“Michigan is a beautiful place, it raised me well,” says snowboarder Danny Davis, who won the snowboard superpipe at this year's Winter X Games. Davis hails from Highland Township (population 19,202), less than an hour from Detroit. “It’s a funny place,” he says. “Classic Midwest: lots of Detroit Red Wings fans, dirt bikes, pond hockey, and a lot of horses and lakes.”

Why do you love Highland?
I love Michigan, and I love the people there. I have lots of family there, and everyone is friendly. All the mountains have night riding, which makes for a lot of hours on my snowboard. There are also many lakes, which means lots of fishing. Of course it's good to have the Tigers and the Red Wings close-by, too.

What’s don’t most people know about Highland?
Bob Seger is from our area, and I love that.

Best time of year to visit?
Summertime. It’s all about boats, fishing, babes, and Tigers games in Detroit. Please go visit the Great Lakes and all they have to offer at some point in your life.

Favorite place to get outside?
Our local hill, Alpine Valley, is ten minutes away and is where I grew up snowboarding. That place raised me. Alpine Valley has 306 feet vertical, and you can get in about 300 runs a day. 

Best restaurant?
Highland House; best breadsticks and Greek salads on the planet.

Must-see attraction?
Red Wings game.

Best place to stay?
In the woods or on the dunes—camping—on a lake. 

Need to Know

Getting there: Highland is 50 minutes from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Filed To: Athletes / Michigan / Snowboards
Nicolas Henderson/Creative Commons )

San Marcos, Texas

Billed as the world’s toughest canoe race, the Texas Water Safari, held each June, is a four-day, 260-mile jaunt from the headwaters of the San Marcos River northeast of San Antonio to the small shrimping town of Seadrift on the Gulf Coast. There’s no prize money—just bragging rights for the winner. Any boat without a motor is allowed, and you’ll have to carry your own equipment and overnight gear. Food and water are provided at aid stations along the way. Entry fees start at $175 and increase as race day approaches.

The Ring

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(Courtesy Quatro Hubbard)

Strasburg, Virginia

The Ring is a 71-mile trail running race in early September along the entire length of Virginia’s rough and rocky Massanutten Trail loop. To qualify, you need to have run a 50- or 100-mile race before the event and win a spot through the lottery system. Entry is free. Complete the run and you’ll become part of the tight-knit Fellowship of the Ring and be eligible for the Reverse Ring, which entails running the trail backwards in the middle of winter.

Plaza2Peak

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(David Silver)

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Each spring, competitors gather in Santa Fe’s historic plaza with a simple goal: be the first to reach 12,308-foot Deception Peak, 17 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain away. Competitors run or bike the first 15 miles to the local ski area before transitioning to their waiting ski-touring setups for the final push to the top. Time stops only when they’ve skied back down to the tailgate in the resort’s parking lot, which is funded by the modest entry fee of around $25. To add to the sufferfest, some participants sign up for the Expedition category, in which they strap their skis, skins, boots, and poles to their bikes for the long ride up. Start dates vary depending on snow conditions, but look for the event page to be posted on Facebook in late March or early April.

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