It’s been one of those winters in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. When we say that, we mean we’ve had snow, snow and more snow. And just for a little fun, Mother Nature has thrown in some major cold into the mix. Dating back to mid December, the Copper Country has only had a handful of days where the temperature has reached 33 degrees or above.
Polar Vortex anyone? Time to start thinking spring.
The good news for skiers is that the cold is forecasted to slow down starting next week, and the snow? Well, we’ll still have it!
“The snow this season so far has been very healthy,” said John Dee, a Keweenaw meteorologist who runs the very popular website johndee.com. “Up until around the third or fourth week of January, we were running just a bit behind a pace to challenge the all-time record (for snow in a year). Then the ice in the lake became extensive enough to significantly impact our lake effect snow production, and most of the system snows passed to our south. Even with that slow down at the end of January, most locales up here are already at average levels for the entire season.”
Dee’s analysis came a week ago, and since then, the snow and cold have continued. The whole thing has provided an interesting challenge at the Swedetown Trails.
“This year’s high snowfall has required more grooming passes to keep the base packed nice and firm,” Swedetown Trails Club President Cynthia MacDonald said. “Also, the snow load on the trees has required the groomers to clean up some downed trees and spend more time trimming overhanging limbs.”
Our groomers have been busy, and the reward is a base of snow that’s about as good as anyone could ask for. Groomer Pat Szubielak, who is also organizing our third annual Snow Bike Race, said there’s no doubt the depth is at least three feet. MacDonald said in the woods it’s likely that it’s no less than four feet.
“All I keep hearing from people is that the base is terrific,” MacDonald said. “This is one year where we certainly don’t have to worry about losing our base in March. We’ll be skiing all of March, and likely beyond.”
Now we’re just looking to the forecast to see what Bear Chase weekend will bring. Early indications have high temperatures on race day in the high teens, with the temperature in the 20s the days leading up to the race. Sounds perfect! Register here.