This winter, Norte! encourages people to get up, grab a friend and head outside. Their program, Winter Walk Wednesdays (WWW), is a weekly, community-wide celebration of people walking to work, school or just for fun in Traverse City. 

Norte!—a youth-focused nonprofit dedicated to promoting an active and healthy lifestyle—was founded by Ty and Johanna Schmidt. While the TC bike lovers love being on two wheels, they like to slow down in the winter and have added walking to their daily lifestyle. 

According to the American Heart Association, a regular walking program can reduce the risk of serious diseases such as heart disease, lower blood pressure, boost bone strength, increase your energy and prevent weight gain.

“As humans, we’re really meant to walk,” Ty says. “Winter Walk Wednesdays is more than just exercise though. The idea is about embracing winter and connecting. Walking gives us a chance to really talk and catch up with a neighbor or family member during our busy lifestyles.”

For those living in Northern Michigan, it’s important to embrace the winter season, Ty says. Part of that is finding ways to stay active during the colder months.

WWW isn’t limited to Traverse City. The simple program can be easily replicated in other areas, too. Though walking does take a little cold-weather gear, it doesn’t require much more than a cleared sidewalk, Ty says.

So, let’s embrace winter more, walk more and connect more.

Here’s How Winter Walk Wednesdays Works:

  1. Commit to walking to work, school, as an errand or just for FUN! every Wednesday this winter.
  2. Invite a classmate, co-worker, neighbor to walk with you. Walking with friends is the best! Walk more. Connect more.
  3. Share your walk-tastic image using #WalkTVC via Facebook (, Twitter/Instagram (@elgruponorte), e-mail ( and Norte will add it to the community photo collage.

“It’s really a celebration for people of all ages, and I think people walking creates more people walking,” Ty says. “It’s about creating awareness, and we’re always happy to collaborate with other communities.”

WWW has partnered with several Traverse City organizations including Higher Grounds, Brew, Oryana, Traverse Area District Library, The Soup Cup, Captain’s Quarters and more (find a full list here). The local hotspots are offering events and deals on Wednesdays to encourage people to walk over.

All of Traverse City’s walk-tastic businesses/organizations/clubs are invited to get involved as a WWW Community Partner to help promote and encourage people to walk. Email to request promotional materials and have your logo added to the Community Partners list.

5 Beautiful Places to Walk in Traverse City
  1. Through downtown Traverse City at night while the trees are lit
  2. At Grand Traverse Commons in the parkland behind Building 50
  3. The Boardman Lake Trail behind the Traverse Area District Library
  4. The TART Trail in downtown Traverse City
  5. The Wooded area in City Lot, located next to the fire station on Front Street

More Northern Michigan Outdoor Fun

Healthy Tips for Kids From Traverse City Pediatrician

Challenge Mountain, Where the Impossible Becomes Possible

10 Groomed Cross Country Ski Trails in Northern Michigan


Photo(s) by Norte!