GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s going to be an epic weekend for snow. There are a couple of caveats though, which I will discuss later in this report.
Let’s begin with season snowfall, which has been very impressive and will continue to be after this event. We’ve already had three record snow events this season and all we need is over 5.9″ Friday to get to a fourth. We should be well above 50 inches for the season after this weekend.
Showing you this map is kind of fruitless prior to this event, but as of Thursday, 84% of the state is covered with snow with an average depth of six inches. By Christmas, it will be 100% with everyone statewide getting a white Christmas.
We’ll be on the back side of a strong area of departing low pressure. The combination of strong westerly winds and arctic air will keep the lake-effect snow machine cranking across the U.P. and Western Lower Michigan. The wind will be strong enough to push some of those bands clear across the state. They’ll become lighter on Sunday, Christmas Day.
As mentioned before, this season has already been impressive in terms of snow. The lake-effect component will be noticeable. Total snowfall will be a challenge to measure with all the drifting with just about everyone receiving between 8-18 inches of snow through Christmas.
The statewide maps above are an 10-1 ratio which will be very underdone. It gives you an idea of the lake-effect component statewide, though. One of the caveats as I mentioned earlier, will be the cold. We are going to receive all this wonderful snow but it will be a bit challenging to enjoy, as it will be accompanied with true arctic air and the coldest temperatures of the season to date.
The actual temperatures will be cold enough this weekend but when you factor in persistent wind gusts greater than 30mph that will occasionally push 50mph along the lakeshore, not only will that blow snow around, it will also produce numbing wind chill temperatures. Essentially, layer up as if it is zero degrees outside.
My other caveat is the fact that this abundance of snow will last long as it appears. So please get out and take advantage of it as soon as you can, especially if you are a snowmobiler. The latest 8-14 day temperature outlook is soul crushing if you are a fan of snow.
All ski resorts will be able to give their snow makers a break as Mother Nature will kick in. Many skiers may actually experience rare powder conditions on any the ungroomed slope. My family enjoyed a wonderful couple of days at Boyne Highlands earlier during the week.
Schuss Mountain / Shanty Creek Resort: Open this weekend and the remainder of the season. There will be a few run closures to wrap up snowmaking on Purple Daze. It will open with the terrain park opening with new features for the weekend. Pink will be open Saturday and Blue Sunday.
Cannonsburg: Friday noon to 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call ahead for availability.
Bittersweet: Open Friday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 9 Runs open.
Timber Ridge: Open Friday 1 p.m. to 9 a.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Christmas 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Crystal Mountain: Open Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Christmas 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Dec. 26 through Jan. 7 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Buck is now open and that makes 27/59 runs open with 6/8 lifts servicing them.
Caberfae Peaks: Open Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Christmas 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Dec. 26 through the Jan. 1 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Boyne Mountain: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through Jan. 7. Great news, the new Disciple 8 chairlift opens Friday.
Boyne Highlands: Open daily 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with night skiing beginning Dec. 26, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Nub’s Nob: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Night skiing begins Dec. 26 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with 32 runs open.
Tree Tops Resort: Open this weekend through Jan. 1 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Snowmobilers: Snowmobilers, your Christmas wish has come true. It’s Go Time! Lake-effect belt areas will be the best but all trails should be good to go by Saturday. Just be careful with the blowing snow and zero visibility in open areas.
This is the third consecutive year in a La Nina pattern and this typically means a pullback or winter thaw at times. The latest 8-14 day temperature outlook is an example of that pull back.
The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort.