Michigan: Northern Lower Peninsula

North of West Branch; includes Traverse City, Grayling, Gaylord, Tawas

Mon, Feb 19: Vasa Trail (Traverse City)

The Vasa trail is still holding up, but warm-up (40F @ 12:30) is starting to take its toll. Skied Special K & Nipple with Paula H Dreeszen, then 25k & JackPine back to Timber Ridge, where the trail is turning to gray ice. The last powerline was a puddle so took off my Twin Skins there. As usual, the best snow was on the 25k loop & JackPine. Need a rest after 56 ski days, but still hoping for more snow soon, or I'll head to Stokely, U.P, CO, or ??? to find some in March.

- Sara Cockrell

Mon, Feb 19: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

What a great weekend of skiing! Our trails held up beautifully, with some skate skiers even saying that conditions were the best they’ve been all season. Groomer Mike snow combed the trails early this morning, so the skiing this morning will be really nice on the Rolling Hills, Trappers Cabin, Wild Turkey, Mackinaw Cut, and Adventure trails. The Tall Pines, Blizzard and Manitou trails are closed due to ice and bare spots. The practice area are open with fair to very good conditions as well. Ski early today before the weather shifts!

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Gourmet Chili Bar! Your choice of Classic or Veggie Chili, plus an assortment of delicious toppings. Try a homemade cornbread muffin and real butter with your chili and feel like a whole new person!

Get outside and enjoy the snow this morning!

- Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Matt, Kelsey, Alex, Dodge, Kim, Missy, Annie J., Annie B., Denny, Erin, Mike, Dana, Butch, Brian and the crew

Sun, Feb 18: Vasa Trail (Traverse City)

Great skiing on the Vasa, thanks to a dusting of fresh snow overnight & TART groom by Glen! I skied from Timber Ridge on the 10k to the Nipple, skipping Headwaters, the 25k to JackPine & back to TR today, approx 25 km in 3+ hrs.There were only 2 hills that were icy, one on the 25k to the N of the Timber Ridge exit between 2 trees, and one after the Nipple/10k junction on the 25k heading towards the powerline. In addition, the first 2 downhills in JackPine are getting thin at the base of the down/uphillls due to the warmth of the trees beside the trail. Timber Ridge had groomed corduroy, too, and all of the trails had a shallow, hardpacked classic track with lots of leaves, which is no problem with Twin Skins. While visiting with Mario Kennedy, I spotted a porcupine in the woods, which was a first for me. LET IT SNOW!!!

- Sara Cockrell

Sun, Feb 18: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

We got about an half inch of snow last night which helped to make the trails not so icy. I re-groomed everything today and tried to set new tracks. Some turned out ok-some didn't. Come on out and ski while you can. We won't be grooming tomorrow.

- Kathloon

Sun, Feb 18: Vasa Trail (Traverse City)

Skied from Single Track parking lot to the Rock and back. Riley’s loop is an icy mess, but the Vasa was in good shape. Skate lane was groomed this morning. Somewhat icy base but there is enough corduroy on top to control your skis.

There are a few icy spots in the flats and some of the hills are getting icy as well.

Weather forecast is not encouraging - looks like rain is in the way. Today might be the last good day for awhile.

- Phil Coumans

Sun, Feb 18: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

Trail conditions are hard and fast--use caution. Everything is open. Vistas has an icy patch that we are evaluating this morning.

- Nick and the gang at BM XC Center

Sun, Feb 18: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

We were very stoked with how many skiers got out and enjoyed the trails yesterday! We received a fresh dusting of snow last night, which will help freshen up the skate lanes and classic tracks today. Conditions remain very skiable on the trails that are open, with decent to good conditions and the occasional icy/crusty spot. Classic tracks were set on Friday on parts of Trappers Cabin and Rolling Hills, and all of the other trails still have existing tracks from Tuesday. Conditions are fair to very good on the Rolling Hills, Trappers Cabin, Wild Turkey, Mackinaw Cut, and Adventure trails. Groomer Mike will snow comb all of the above trails this morning. Until we get more snow, the Tall Pines, Blizzard and Manitou trails are closed due to ice and bare spots. The practice area are open with fair to very good conditions as well.

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Gourmet Chili Bar! Your choice of Classic or Veggie Chili, plus an assortment of delicious toppings. Try a homemade cornbread muffin and real butter with your chili and feel like a whole new person!

Get outside and enjoy the snow today!

- Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Matt, Kelsey, Alex, Dodge, Kim, Missy, Annie J., Annie B., Denny, Erin, Mike, Dana, Butch, Brian and the crew

Sat, Feb 17: Hanson Hills (Grayling)

Surprise surprise... it was better than I expected when seeing how miserable the trail looks right out of the parking lot. If only these icy spots that take up the full width of the trail were not there, it would be really good skating conditions at HH. In fact, past the parking lot, conditions are good and really fast with the recent grooming in all wooded sections, with some exceptions facing South that are bare or nearly bare, or low elevation points where water stagnated and has now become an ice rink. It's tricky to get around, these, but the rest is nice. Skied yellow loop and sections of blue + green on the way back.

- Gui G

Sat, Feb 17: Lost Lakes Pathway (Interlochen)

The trail was flattened near the campground, but crust skiing through the woods & on Lake Dubonnet was good.

- Sara Cockrell

Sat, Feb 17: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

I went out this morning and scratched up all the skating lanes except for Otter. They turned out great-according to the trail reports I got from all the skaters I saw out there. Didn't even try to re-set the tracks so they will still be icy. Please use caution on the hills. This year I have noticed some skiers who have skied here a long time ago go out on some of the old trails that we have abandoned and then complain about us not grooming them. The Stag Hollow trail head does not go between the ski lift and the parking lot like it used to a few years ago. The trail starts on the south side of the road. When you come in to buy a trail pass we will give you direction. Have a great day.

- kathloon

Sat, Feb 17: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

The grooming efforts yesterday resulted in better-than-expected conditions, given the warm up we had a couple days ago. We were successful at setting tracks on parts of Trappers Cabin and Rolling Hills, and all of the other trails still have existing tracks from Tuesday. Conditions are fair to very good on the Rolling Hills, Trappers Cabin, Wild Turkey, Mackinaw Cut, and Adventure trails. Groomer Mike is snow combing all of the above trails this morning. Until we get more snow, the Tall Pines and Manitou trails are closed due to ice and bare spots. We will be snow doctoring the Adventure trail today. The Blizzard trail and practice area are open with fair to very good conditions as well.

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Gourmet Chili Bar! Your choice of Classic or Veggie Chili, plus an assortment of delicious toppings. Get your chili in a sourdough bread bowl if you know what’s good for you! And don’t forget the free ski lesson, today and every Saturday at 4:00pm.

Make the most of the snow today! Good luck to all the Forbush racers!!

- Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Matt, Kelsey, Alex, Dodge, Kim, Missy, Annie J., Annie B., Denny, Erin, Mike, Dana, Butch, Brian and the crew

Sat, Feb 17: Forbush Corner (Frederic)

Most of the trails were groomed for both classic and skate skiing yesterday including the Back Forty, Roberts Rd and the Hartwick Pines section of the Pines Loop. Conditions should be great today.

The Forbush Freestyle Race begins @ 10 AM and will utilize Badlands and Rollercoaster. Stop in to race or to spectate. We still have plenty of trails for non-racers to use even during the race.

Meijer State Games-Hanson Hills Classic Update:
Classic Race will be moved from Hanson Hills to Forbush Corner on Sunday February 18th.
10 AM start, 15 second intervals with racers skiing 12-13 km. Registration will run from 8 - 9:30 AM on Sunday.

- Todd

Fri, Feb 16: Big M (Cadillac)

Unfortunately no new snow and since we had warm weather this week, trails are crusty. We still have snow, but it will be icy during the morning until the day warms up. The predictions for this week are to be above freezing and rain on Monday. "Spring" skiing conditions, wish it wasn't happening so early.
The trails were last groomed on Sunday, February 4. I wish I had better news. See www.skibigm.org for more info

- Loren

Fri, Feb 16: Forbush Corner (Frederic)

Great conditions at Forbush thanks to the terrific grooming. Skied all the trails.

- Kris Olsson

Fri, Feb 16: Forbush Corner (Frederic)

Unless you a cold or the flu, put some cold wax on those skis and get your butt up to Forbush Corner this weekend. Frozen ice crystals were "slicker than fresh snot on a door knob" and edging was a dream. Good coverage and when the corduroy sets up tonight the the race course should be magnificent.

- Ernie Brumbaugh

Fri, Feb 16: Hanson Hills (Grayling)

Meijer State Games-Hanson Hills Classic Update:
Classic Race will be moved from Hanson Hills to Forbush Corner’s Sunday February 18th.
Due to the recent warm-up the trail system at Hanson Hills has taken quite the beating. Our Classic tracks have become very icy, and have a lot of bare spots on our designated race course. With the ice base and little snow that we have on top, it is impossible for us to reset any safe/skiable track for this weekends race. However our good friends at Forbush Corner’s are willing to host our Classic Race on their trail system, saving our MI-CUP races for the second time this year!! Larry (Forbush) reports that they have good coverage on their trail system and he will be able to set tracks on Badlands and Rollercoaster for Sunday’s Classic Races. We will still shoot for a 10am Start, 15 second intervals. Racers will do 2 laps equaling around 12-13KM. Registration will run from 8-9:30am on Sunday.
Thank you Forbush!! I hope to see everyone on Sunday.
-Justin Andre

- Justin Andre

Fri, Feb 16: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

Just back from skating at Crystal. After a day and a half of rain and warm weather Wednesday and Thursday, the trails are actually great. Kudos to Greg and Kathy-- amazing job grooming. Should be really nice for the weekend. Jim L

- Jim Levinsohn

Fri, Feb 16: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

Greg is out grooming and I just got a trail report from a guest who was skating and he said it is great out there. Tracksets are a little icy and shallow but there are no bare spots. Once again we weathered the rain and lived to ski another day. Reminder to skaters when the trails are soft please stay off them. Some one went out yesterday and made a lot of deep grooves which is very hard to get out. Greg had to go over those areas a number of times. Come on out before the next warm up.

- Kathloon

Fri, Feb 16: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

With the warm temps yesterday and the return to colder temps overnight, our trails are very firm. Some areas may be icy, but where the fresh snow lays, it is a good ski surface. The lower trails are being regroomed this morning.

- Nick and the gang at BM XC Center

Fri, Feb 16: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

Cool temps have returned at snow has been falling all morning. Groomer Mike is going to reset tracks on the John Deere loop where our base is thick enough to till it up deep. Then he will Ginzu snow comb the rest of the trails. We will be patching up the bare spots throughout the day. We expect fair to good classic skiing today where we are able to set tracks, and good skating especially on the John Deere and Rolling Hills trails. The good news is that the snow surface appears to be in good skiing condition without too much ice. More updates to come as we patch up the trails and further assess!

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Pesto Tuna Melt! Albacore tuna, basil pesto, provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers and spinach, grilled on a ciabatta bun. Served with Great Lakes chips and a pickle.

Join us tonight for Winter Fest Night Skiing! To celebrate Winter Fest, we will light the Trapper’s Cabin trail with torches, creating a truly unique and memorable nighttime experience. We will also have a bonfire and serve hot chocolate at Trapper’s Cabin from 6:00-8:00PM. Just purchase your $5 Winter Fest badge to participate. Skiers who need to rent skis must do so before 7PM. Join us for an evening you’ll never forget!

- Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Matt, Kelsey, Alex, Dodge, Kim, Missy, Annie J., Annie B., Denny, Erin, Mike, Dana, Butch, Brian and the crew

Fri, Feb 16: Forbush Corner (Frederic)

Groomer Larry is out in the Pisten Bully PB100 as I type. The trails will be 90% in good condition. There are a few bare spots that we will be adding snow to and after grooming should turn out pretty good too. This process will take a little time, but we will have almost the entire trail system available by later today. Open now, with some trails tilled and we will have Badlands ready with a track set by noon.

- Todd

Fri, Feb 16: Hanson Hills (Grayling)

Groomer Jason is out this morning, assessing the trail system. We have about a 2 inch base, bottom layer is ice, top inch is somewhat workable snow. Snow is falling, as we are working on a plan to set skiable classic tracks for this weekend's race. There may be course/race modifications. Please know that we will continue do our best to provide good-great conditions and a safe course for all.

- Justin Andre

Thu, Feb 15: Nubs Nob (Harbor Springs)

Remarkable conditions the past two evenings at Nubs despite the warmer temps. Skate deck was smooth, firm, and fast, with full control.

- ZJ

Thu, Feb 15: Forbush Corner (Frederic)

The trails are holding up well. A few thin spots, but the lower temps and full grooming in the morning should make for a great weekend.

- Todd

Thu, Feb 15: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

We did not groom yesterday. I tried to go out this morning but it is too soft since it didn't get below freezing last night. We still have plenty of coverage. We plan on grooming tomorrow since it is supposed to get cold again. Another note, I skied out in the swamp by my house yesterday and saw foot prints thinking it was someone walking out there. I got mad because it's our secret spot. When we got down to the river we noticed it was bear tracks instead. Something must of scared him from his den. Be aware.

- Kathloon

Thu, Feb 15: Hanson Hills (Grayling)

Trails are surviving the warm up so far 40 yesterday and 40 today. Skate lanes are decent, tracks are marginal in spots. We will not be running grooming equipment today in an effort to save the trail system. Cooler temperatures are in the forecast tonight with hopes everything will firm back up .

- Justin Andre

Thu, Feb 15: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

For those who got out skiing yesterday before noon, conditions were absolutely fabulous with bright blue skies and great gliding skis. However, the warm temps yesterday afternoon softened and slowed the snow quickly, and will remain soft and slow until temps come back down below-freezing tonight. Due to the softer snow conditions, we request only classic skiing today (no skating today except on Blizzard Park).

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Pesto Tuna Melt! Albacore tuna, basil pesto, provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers and spinach, grilled on a ciabatta bun. Served with Great Lakes chips and a pickle!

Our Demo Center is open! Try a new pair of recreational classic, high performance classic, back country or skate skis today, free of charge!

- Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Matt, Kelsey, Alex, Dodge, Kim, Missy, Annie J., Annie B., Denny, Erin, Mike, Dana, Butch, Brian and the crew

Wed, Feb 14: Hickory Hills (Traverse City)

A lot has been going on at Hickory Hills and not too far in the future are plans for a World Class XC course that might even be FIS certified. What they do have now is brand new grooming equipment that would make any xc ski center jealous. With the supervision of several Vasa team members the skiing conditions there now are superb. There is a 1k loop that the HS team uses with 2 sets of double track. When I skied it yesterday it was as good as the Olympic course. A gradual up hill climb followed by a small loop in the woods and then a nice downhill. Go over to the meadows loop around the corner and you have a beautifully groomed 3.5 k loop very wide and double tracked. People can take their dogs here but the trail is still in awesome shape. Good for the whole family.

- Ken Dawson

Wed, Feb 14: Hanson Hills (Grayling)

Not a lot of snow, 6 inches in the woods. Wilderness trail not good with numerous dirt and grass spots, I turned around after 200 meters and skied the red trail. The red trail was ok with a few dirt spots and many oak leaves, probably ok for waxless skis as I ended up with oak leaf klister for good kick.

- TimG

Wed, Feb 14: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

The trails are in the best shape of the season for skating and classic skiing. All trails have set deep tracks and the skating lanes are firm and smooth. Groomer Mike will snow comb all trails again this morning. It’s going to be a beautiful sunny day, so get out there and ski early if you can!

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Pesto Tuna Melt! Albacore tuna, basil pesto, provolone cheese, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, banana peppers and spinach, grilled on a ciabatta bun. Served with Great Lakes chips and a pickle! Our Demo Center is open. Try a new pair of recreational classic, high performance classic, back country or skate skis today, free of charge!

- Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Matt, Kelsey, Alex, Dodge, Kim, Missy, Annie J., Annie B., Denny, Erin, Mike, Dana, Butch, Brian and the crew

Wed, Feb 14: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

Trail conditions are still great today, so get out here before the warm temps. Innsbruck should offer some great snow all day in the woods.

The ski shop has EVERYTHING at 30% off, so come in while the snow and the deals are great.

- - Nick and the gang at BM XC Center

Wed, Feb 14: Vasa Trail (Traverse City)

Beautiful morning on the Vasa watching the sunrise while out on the 25k. No grooming was done this morning but the skate lane looked good and solid throughout. The classic was solid and nice except for Jack Pine Valley, which was a tad loose from the last grooming and few classic skiers back in that area. Some debris on the trail and may be more to come with the winds today.

- Steve A

Wed, Feb 14: Vasa Trail (Traverse City)

Skate skied from Timber Ridge to a little past The Rock and back. Snow is hard packed and fast but very easy to edge and control your skis. I enjoyed it immensely.

Don’t know what it will be like this afternoon when it softens.

- Phil Coumans