Snow Conditions Around Lake Superior – Jan 23-25, 2012
(For up to date 2013 Winter Snow and Weather around Lake Superior, See links at the bottom of the page for current snow report conditions)
So far Mother Nature has been a little stingy pouring snow around Lake Superior this winter. We’ve been more blessed with the white stuff here in SW Wisconsin (see picture) than some places around Gitche Gumee.
Minnesota North Shore Snow Report
The best x-c skiing, and snowshoeing along Minnesota’s North Shore will be found north of Grand Marais around Judge Magney State Park. Grand Marais is forecast to get up to 4 more inches of snow today and tomorrow. Good conditions for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, adequate for snowmobiling. As you move south from Grand Marais towards Duluth, conditions are poorer. Duluth may be getting a few inches of snow over the next two days but then the bad news is warmer weather later in the week may melt it!
One casualty of the lack of snow has been the cancellation of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race. In 29 years I think this is only the second time the race has been cancelled due to poor snow conditions.
But looking at the glass being half-full hikers can enjoy late fall-like conditions along much of the Superior Hiking Trail w/o snowshoes. The ground is cold enough to avoid mud yet not so much snow that you need snowshoes – but maybe some ice cleats along some places. Drop into the website or email the office of the Superior Hiking Trail Association for an up-to-date report on conditions.
Michigan Upper Peninsula South Shore Snow Report
The UP has also suffered from a lack of normal snowfall so far this winter. However, because their “normal” is quite a lot of snow, they currently have the some of the best conditions around Lake Superior. The Hurley-Ironwood area at the far western end of the Upper Peninsula has fared the best this winter. As of 1/20/2012 they had received a total of 83 inches of snow. Conditions are good to excellent on x-c ski trails, snowmobile trails, and area downhill ski resorts. Further east from the Porcupine Mountains to Houghton and the Keweenaw Peninsula and Ontonagon there has been less snow but current conditions for snowmobiling and x-c skiing are rated as good to very good. Only on the trails in or near town is the snow thin.
Snow depth around Marquette is about 24 inches, with closer to 36 inches as you move west to and a little north of Ishpeming. Snowmobile and x-c ski trails are rated good to very good. Good news for skiers and snowmobilers plus good news for UP200 Sled Dog race being held the middle of February. Munising and Grand Marais have had less snow than Marquette but very recently have been blessed with some nice accumulations. Snow Accumulation from Paradise to Sault Ste. Marie has been less than 24 inches but the snowmobile trails remain rated as good with trail bases from 4″ to 6″ with 2″ to 4″ of new snow expected over the next few days.
Wisconsin South Shore Snow Report
As reported above the conditions around Hurley have been excellent most of the winter – recording more snowfall than perhaps any other place around Lake Superior. Snowmobile and x-c trails are excellent and downhill skiing conditions very good as well. Interestingly only 40 miles west near Ashland conditions are quite poor with less than 6 inches of snow depth. But good news is 3″ to 5″ of new snow is expected over the next three days. A little north of Ashland, from Bayfield to Cornucopia area, there is a few more inches of accumulated snow and expected (by weather.com) to get a few more inches over the next few days. So conditions should be good for the annual Apostle Islands Dog Sled race. Check this online link for an up-to-date report on Bayfield’s winter activities.
Unfortunately west of Cornie to Superior, Wisconsin there is very little accumulated snow but they may get 1″ to 3″ of snow over the next few days.
Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie Ontario
Cross-Country ski trails around Thunder Bay are reporting very good to great conditions. North of Thunder Bay around the lake to Wawa, snow depth reports are in excess of 24 inches so snowmobiling and skiing conditions should be good. Wawa Snow Riders club reports good trail conditions. As you get closer to Sault Ste. Marie conditions become poor but 2″ to 4″ of snow are expected over the next two days so things may be getting better soon.