How Sports in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula is Different

Packers vs Vikings
Figure 1 There is more to sports than the Packers

We accept that most regions probably rate their sports teams and sports fans to be the best. Local pride and partisanship make it very difficult to argue a compelling case on an objective basis. So, we are coming at this from a potentially biased angle - but we do genuinely believe that the people of Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula are the best sports fans in the world. Not only that, the sports we play and enjoy are also the best.

But seriously, this region is covered in snow and ice longer than many other places in the US and we can still enjoy our sports without the need for a dome or indoor stadium. There may not be many major league sports teams featured on the highlight shows and on the biggest sportsbooks like BetUS, but the one there is is different.

There are lots of reasons why you should visit Northern Wisconsin and the Michigan peninsula. But getting to know our sports - and our sports fans - should definitely be on the list. Here's a quick guide to how enjoying sports up here is just different to the rest of the country.

Green Bay Packers Culture

Every winter we see teams from the north of the country triumphing over opponents and using the weather as a particularly effective advantage. Up here in the tundra, it can get pretty cold and the Green Bay Packers fans who enjoy the best tailgate parties in the NFL would have it no other way.

Maybe it's because the Packers are the only major non-profit, publically-owned sports team in the US. That feeling of community and a real sense of ownership make the fans act a certain way around the place. It might get cold in Buffalo too - but the good people of the state of New York are going to have to stump up the cash for a new stadium and that would never happen here.

The Packers are respected the world over for the way the organization is run and fans enjoying their beer and bratwurst at the game are fully aware of the reputation. Speaking of food and drink, Packers fans are known for enjoying themselves, so you might have to prepare yourself for the game. That's if you can get a ticket, of course. Every game at Lambeau Field has been completely sold out since 1960.

Winter Sports

It's not all tailgate parties and cheesheads in this part of the world though. Many of us may love our Packers - but we also play a lot of sports too. And, keeping with the winter theme, some of those sports probably don't get as much attention as up in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

Curling gained new fans across the world a few years ago thanks to some exciting contests at the Winter Olympics. But we have been supporters for generations up here. With the lakes completely frozen for months at a time, Wisconsinites have been sliding heavy stones across the ice since the 1800s. Think of it as a colder type of bowling!

But if you like bikes you can still get out into the fresh air here. With extra wide rims and low-pressure tires, fat tire biking is a great way to see the beauty of the frozen north. Travel up to Washburn and you will even be able to take your bike on the water in the Bike Across the Bay event where riders can make the most of a frozen Lake Superior. Staying in that part of the state, you could also have a go at skijoring. It's a sport imported from Scandinavia where you cross-country ski with the help of your trusty dog leading the way. It's probably a good idea to just spectate at first though.


We wouldn't want you to think that all of our sports revolve around snow and winter though. With everyone in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin never that far away from water, there is a big watersports industry up here too (and we don't just mean ice fishing - although that is also available).

Kayaking and canoeing are popular pursuits around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior and are actually an incredible way to see this beautiful part of the country. For an even more serene experience, you could try paddleboarding. Stand-Up paddleboarding, or SUP for short, allows everyone the chance to explore the waterways and lakes at their own pace.

The rivers and waterways of the region boast some of the purest waters in the country and paddleboarding is an exhilarating experience. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, across the northern edge of the Upper Peninsula, is a particularly incredible sight. But getting out into the water - in any kind of weather - is something else here.

PaddlerBoarding Image
Figure 2 Not all sports up here involve ice and snow

Cold Weather, Warm Hearts

We may have played on the cold nature of this region a little too much in this article. But we wanted to make sure that it was understood that sports in Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan do not get any more boring once the temperature gauge starts to dip.

We obviously have months of sunshine to enjoy the great outdoors here as well and a visit will undoubtedly involve some kind of sporting activity. Whether it is getting out on the water in the summer or sharing some beers with the Packers fans at Lambeau Field, these are experiences you will never forget.

Even when it gets cold - and it does get cold - you will realize that the people of Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula have the warmest hearts.