GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Even though Mother Nature was a couple of days late for a white Christmas, a snowier and colder pattern will emerge this weekend into the following week.
At first glance, snow cover across the state appears great but nearly all of the useful snow, especially for cross country skiers and snowmobilers, is once again found across the Upper Peninsula.
You can see why snow amounts are down. December temperatures are running 4.0 degrees in Grand Rapids, 4.8 in Gaylord and 3.9 in Sault Ste. Marie.
Considering how warm December has been, it’s no surprise the snow depth is anemic across the state.
Here are a few snow depths:
- Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Big Rapids: 2
- Cadillac: 5
- Houghton Lake: 5
- Traverse City: 2
- Kalkaska: 3
- East Jordan: 2
- Charlevoix: 1
- Cheboygan: 3
- Gaylord: 2
- Waters: 4
- Petoskey: 1
- St. Ignace: Trace
- Soo: 8
- Paradise: 12
- Grand Marais: 20
- Manistique: 3
- Munising: 15
- Marquette: 8
- Escanaba: 6
- Iron Mountain: 8
A bit of good news for the weekend, especially for the central and southern half of Lower Michigan: After a mild Friday, finally a decent snowmaker is on tap for later Saturday afternoon and night. Snow rates should peak Saturday evening.
The system will move out early Sunday morning with a narrow band of lake-effect snow developing. That band will hug the lakeshore areas Sunday as it weakens during the afternoon.
There will be a 12- to14-hour window of light to moderate snow. For many locations across the southern portion of the state, it will be the biggest snow event of the season to date.
Here’s the European model weekend snow forecast:
And the GFS model weekend snow forecast:
Temperatures will fall through the day Saturday. Afternoon readings will be in the single digits and teens in the U.P. and teens and 20s across northern Lower Michigan. Twenties and 30s can be expected in central and southern Lower Michigan.
Highs Sunday will be colder across the southern tier of Michigan.
There will be a brisk northerly wind on the back side of the system Sunday producing some of the coldest wind chills that we’ve felt this winter season so far.
BITTERSWEET: Open Friday noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The best conditions will arrive Sunday with fresh (possible 6 inches of snow) to ski in Sunday.
CANNONSBURG: Closed until further notice, although it is open if you want to tour the half-mile mile walk through the Glowing Forest. It’s open Friday 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
CABERFAE: Open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday between 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. All lifts are running!
CRYSTAL: Open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eight of eight lifts open servicing 30 of 58 runs this weekend.
SCHUSS: Good news: The Pink chair lift opens Friday in additon to the Blue, Yellow, Purple and Magic Carpet lifts, servicing a total of 13 runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the Alpine Tubing Park is open today 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. with 50 tubes per hour.
BOYNE MOUNTAIN: Open Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Seven of 12 lifts are open servicing 17 of 60 trails. If you stick around, you will be treated to fireworks at 9:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve.
BOYNE HIGHLANDS: Open Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Seven of 10 lifts are open servicing 17 of 53 trails. If you stick around, you will be treated to fireworks 9:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve.
NUB’S NOB: All lifts are open to 37 slopes. Open Friday through weekend from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. so groomers can freshen up slopes and resuming again at 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
This is a picture of a few of my fellow riding buddies outside of Paradise near the infamous “Bra Tree” near Pine Stump and the split of Trail 8/452. As you can see, there’s decent snow there.
LOWER NORTHERN MICHIGAN
No-go for snowmobilers, this weekend. Next weekend looks more promising.
Talking with my friends who rode the eastern U.P. this past weekend, they said any trails around Munising, Grand Marais and Paradise were quite good. Basically ride trails north of M28 and you’ll be alright. Trails south of M28 are rideable but not great. They should be better by next weekend, if not before.
Later next week and mid-January point to an optimistic forecast for snow lovers. Temperatures most of next week will be at or below average in Grand Rapids and even colder north.
The combination of colder-than-average temperatures and above-average precipitation is a great combo for snow across the northern sections of the state as lake-effect should really get cranking.
I wish everyone a happy new year and let’s hope it brings us the snow we want.