Snow Conditions Report: Jan. 3, 2020

Snow Conditions

Temperatures the past two weeks have not been very favorable for snow, with four days above 50 degrees and even a record high of 61!

Temperatures are running more than twelve degrees above average.

But just like finding water in a desert, there is decent snow to be found. That “water oasis” happened with the early week snowfall. This really helped replenish the dwindling supply of snow, especially across Lower Michigan.

Unfortunately, much of that has melted going from 90% of the state covered with snow Thursday morning to 52% by Friday morning. But, there are still a few pockets of snow across Northern Lower Michigan that you can take advantage of.

The sweet spot is around Gaylord to the west through Waters to Mancelona (M32), Boyne City and the East Jordan area.

The Lower Michigan snow depth, in inches, as of Jan. 3, 2020:

  • Big Rapids: 2
  • Cadillac: 2
  • Manistee: 2
  • Traverse City: 3
  • Houghton Lake: 3
  • Grayling: 5
  • Kalkaska: 5
  • Lake City: 2
  • East Jordan: 8
  • Lewiston: 5
  • Charlevoix: 5
  • Gaylord: 9
  • Waters: 6
  • Cheboygan: 3
  • Petoskey: 4
  • Pellston: 7
  • Alpena: 1

Upper Michigan:

  • St. Ignace: 3
  • Soo: 11
  • Paradise: 12
  • Grand Marais: 22
  • Munising: 20
  • Marquette: 26
  • Big Bay: 20
  • Manistique: 9
  • Houghton: 17
  • Calumet: 27
  • Iron Mtn:. 14
  • Escanaba: 12
  • Painsedale: 39
  • Watersmeet: 22
  • Ironwood: 18

Not a lot of snow is in the forecast this weekend. but a little is better than none.

Temperatures for this time of year will be quite tolerable. Saturday’s high temperatures:

Sunday’s high temperatures: The winds will be stronger Sunday, increasing during the day from the southwest, sometimes gusting over 30 mph.

It appears Arctic air will stay locked up in Canada for quite a while. This will keep lake-effect snow at a minimum. The coldest air this week will briefly slide over Michigan on Tuesday night and Wednesday.

By and large, the Arctic air will stay locked up in Canada for now. Notice how it further retreats by Friday:

The 8- to 14-day temperature outlook doesn’t look promising either:

Despite the forecast for warmer-than-average temperatures, it appears the weather pattern will remain active.

Hopefully, we can squeeze out another renegade snow system like we had earlier last week amidst the warm pattern.

The GFS and European models are not picking up on anything too robust as of yet.

This means if you want to take advantage of snow across Northwest Lower Michigan, you should do so this weekend. Reports indicate Trails 4, 7, 79, 767, 679 from Gaylord, Frederic, Starvation Lake over to the East Jordan (Jordan Valley), Pellston and Indian River are where you’ll find the best snow.

I was driving home yesterday from Petoskey and you could see snirt (snow-dirt) starting to form in spots along US-131 from Alba to M32. In this warmer pattern riders are still reporting water in low lying areas. One such area is on Trail 767 between Berry Creek Road and Mentor Twp Road. Most groomers are staying put with a small volume of snow and water underneath the snow in spots. With this in mind. trails will become rather bumpy in spots. Your experience will likely be better if you are willing to jump the bridge to the U.P. where snow is much more plentiful. Keep in mind there was a freezing rain event Tuesday night into Wednesday.

There are quite a few low-hanging limbs over some of the trails, so ride with extra caution. Here are a couple of noteworthy closings and diversions:

  • Trail 452 north of Paradise is closed due to the high water levels washing out the bridge over the Shelldrake River. A dead end trail will be groomed to Whitefish Point.
  • There’s a reroute of Trail 7 North of Indian Lake being reported due to excessive water holes. The reroute is down to UP 413 to County Road 447 then it reconnects to Trail 7.

A fellow friend of mine said the he was waist-deep in the snow in around the Pine Stump area. So there are a few spots in the shaded woods that you can find 20+ inches of snow.

Slopes are looking great for the weekend. My family spent some quality time over the New Year at Boyne Highlands. The conditions were fantastic.

Bittersweet and Cannonsburg are open this weekend. Caberfae has 33 slopes open with a demo day today. You can try out various Atomic, Salomon and Head skies. The demo day shifts to Crystal for Saturday where they have 90% of their slope open. Schuss is 100% open with a special deal Sunday that includes lift tickets, rentals and lessons for $33. All the lifts and trails are open at Boyne Mountain. Thirty-six of 55 trails are open at Boyne Highlands, including nine of their 10 lifts. Right across the road is Nubs Nob, and they are reporting that all their runs and lifts are open.

Whenever you need an update on snow depth, forecast snow amounts and short- and longer-range temperatures trends, you can always check out my Snow Conditions Report, which is updated every Friday throughout the winter season.


The Snow Conditions Report is sponsored by Jacobson Heating & Cooling and Schuss Mountain at Shanty Creek Resort.

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