Snow Conditions Report: Dec. 2, 2021

Snow Conditions

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Temperatures in the 50s is not how I want to begin my first snow conditions report of the 2021-22 season. But honestly, there aren’t many times that you have a great report during the first weekend of December.

Let’s compare Decembers for the past five years. We see quite a variation. The snowiest December on record is 59.2 inches in 2000, which also holds the record for snowiest month.

Snow depth across the state currently is anemic with 5 inches reported at the Soo and only 2 inches in Marquette. Fortunately, it has been cold enough recently that ski resorts have been able to make snow.

SKI RESORTS

Bittersweet and Cannonsburg: They will not be opening this weekend. Cannonsburg is shooting for a Dec. 18 opening right around winter break for the kids.

Caberfae: It plans to open this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with limited runs. Lifts that will be open with be the North Peak Quad, Shelter Double Chair and possibly the Vista Triple.

Crystal Mountain: The website states it is making snow at every opportunity but there’s no confirmation whether or not it plans to open.

Schuss Mountain / Shanty Creek: Opening December 11th

Boyne Mountain: It plans to open this Friday for season pass holders from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday for everyone. It plans to open daily Dec. 10. Mountain Express and Boyneland will be open to shuttle you to the top.

Boyne Highlands: Same as Boyne Mountain, but not sure exactly what lifts will be open this weekend.

Nubs Nob: It will be opening Dec. 3 through the weekend from 9 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. As of this writing, SnoPro, Smooth Sailing and Big Time will be open.

Side note: If you plan to be one of the first down the slope this season, my advice is to hit the slopes this Friday and/or Saturday as opposed to Sunday. A system moving through Sunday will create mostly rain across lower Michigan. See more details below in the near-term forecast.

SNOWMOBILERS

Sorry, snowmobilers, even with the arrival of Dec. 1, the official opening day for trail season, the base just isn’t good enough yet. I checked out several snowmobile groups across northern Michigan and the general consensus is that it isn’t worth the long trek from down state.

I’m sure there might be a few local spots in the Lake Superior high terrain where you could get away with it but the trail system isn’t ready for you. For example, around Paradise, they are reporting a depth of 6 inches but the ground isn’t frozen yet. I read that a gentleman put on just over 100 miles on his sled in the Keweenaw Peninsula but it was a struggle at times and some of the trails were still closed.

There is better news though as we look at the potential weather scenario later this weekend and into next week.

NEAR-TERM FORECAST

A deepening area of low pressure will be positioned near Minneapolis Sunday morning and is projected to follow a track from there through the Straits by Monday morning. A track like this will keep much of lower Michigan in the warm sector with the rain and snow line likely running from Petoske to, Gaylord to Alpena.

It appears a solid, heavy weight, 3- to 6-inch snowfall will happen from there north across the Upper Peninsula. After that, the cold marches south and that will ignite the lake-effect snow machine across the state.

The key is whether or not temperatures will cooperate and allow the snow to stick around. There appears there will be warmer air that will flood much of the U.S. The question is can we hang onto the snow through next weekend before it arrives.

Here’s the high temps for the next 8 days. Keep in mind that is for Grand Rapids so they will be cooler farther north.

Unfortunately for snow lovers, the 8- to 14-day outlook does not look encouraging.

If you check out Storm Team 8’s Winter Outlook, it highlights how transient La Nina winters can be. We will have periods of cold and snow followed by snow melting warmth. Whatever the pattern is, I’ll get you prepared with my weekly Snow Conditions Report.


The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort.

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