GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Welcome to the first snow conditions report of 2023. After setting five daily record snowfalls, including the snow blitz around Christmas, you would think this has been a stellar season for snow enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it has been a season of feast or famine.
Through the first of the year, it was the third-snowiest start to winter:
It’s hard to believe after all of that snow, there’s little to nothing left across lower Michigan. The Great Lakes snow analysis has 50% percent of the state is covered with snow at an average depth of 6.5 inches but nearly all of it is in the U.P.
My thought is that if there’s no snow on the ground or snow in the forecast, bring on the sunshine. Officially at the Grand Rapids National Weather Service station, we have not recorded any sunshine so far this year. That will change this weekend.
No significant snow is in the offering this weekend and the seven-day snowfall forecast through next Friday appears anemic, as well.
Temperatures will be quite comfortable this weekend if you plan to enjoy the slopes or staying local and venturing to the various events of the World of Winter festival.
Any time we are in a mild winter pattern, I feverishly look ahead to see when the pattern will flip to colder and snowier. The latest 8- 14-day outlook makes me want to cry. Maybe if we all collectively perform a snow dance it will happen.
Every winter has a mild spell with lackluster snowfall. When this happens, I try to see when we might break out of it and slip into a colder pattern. There’s little doubt the second half of January will be colder than the first half. We may turn the corner for snow around mid-month. The ECMWF model is hinting at this. Fingers crossed.
Despite the warm temperatures of late, ski resorts across the northern Lower Peninsula are open and ready for you. The good news is that temperatures will be sufficiently cold enough at night to make snow.
Schuss Mountain / Shanty Creek Resort: Open Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 87% of their runs are open of skiable terrain serviced by 5/7 lifts.
Cannonsburg: Closed until further notice.
Bittersweet: Open Friday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with four runs open.
Timber Ridge: Closed until further notice.
Crystal Mountain: 80% of the runs are open. Hours are 9 a.m. to 9 pm. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Caberfae Peaks: Open Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with four lifts servicing 24 runs. You can check out the Hovland snow skate demo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Next weekend it’s the Shaggy’s Copper Country ski demo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Boyne Mountain: Open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with 35/63 runs open serviced by seven lifts.
Boyne Highlands: Open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 8/10 lifts 35/53 trails.
Nub’s Nob: Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (break between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.). Five lifts servicing 40 runs.
Tree Tops Resort: Open Friday thru Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Two lifts servicing 12 runs.
Snowmobilers: There was a brief window where you could enjoy some Lower Peninsula riding but that has obviously closed. Fortunately, we have an Upper Peninsula that continues to hang onto the snow near the Lake Superior shoreline. Many locations received 2 to 5 inches of snow Thursday night, freshening things up a bit. At last check, Marquette has 18 inches, Sault Ste. Marie 21 inches and 28 inches in Munising. The various trail reports in the Eastern U.P. (trail 45, 9, 8, 452/453) are reporting fair conditions. The exception is trail 8 south of Paradise (swamp area), which is reporting water coming up so groomers have decided not to go down that section. It’s also very thin in spots on trail 8 in Siberia leading to The Pine Stump. Two things to keep in mind: One is that with no riding available across the Lower Peninsula , everyone is forced to the U.P. Expect a lot of traffic — enough so that groomers will likely not be able to keep up at times. Secondarily, the roads and parking lots will be bare in spots so your carbides will be throwing sparks at times. Either way, I’m jealous if you are going.
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- to 14-day temperature outlook is an example of that pull back.