Conditions Varied up North

     The recent warm weather is creating unusual conditions for March in Minnesota.  It was over 70 degrees on the Gunflint Trail on Wednesday and in many parts of Minnesota.  On the shores of Lake Superior it has been cooler but temperatures in the 50’s and rain have deteriorated winter conditions.

     Some winter recreational opportunities are coming to an end on the North Shore.  Cross-country ski trails in the Sugarbush Trail area are no longer being groomed.  The snowmobile trail isn’t in good enough condition to ride and lakes are topped with water from the melted snow.  

      There are a few winter activities you can still do up on the Gunflint Trail.  There is some snow in the woods for snowshoeing, lake ice is still good for ice fishing and downhill skiiers can rejoice.  Lutsen Mountains is still open in spite of the warm temperatures.

     Here’s the scoop from Lutsen Mountains…

It is a different world here. 

·         While it may seem unseasonably warm – we are 15 – 20 degrees cooler than the Twin Cities.  The difference between 50 and 70 is HUGE when it comes to sn! ow conditions.

·         We are entering this warm spell with snow on the ground.  The solar reflection along with “lake-effect cooling” from Lake Superior helps moderate our temperature. 

·         We are easily 4 weeks behind the Twin Cities in seasonal changes.  It is critical that we recognize this difference and communicate it to our guests. 

We will absolutely be able to manage our snow base through April 15th

·         Lutsen Mountains has been open through mid-April for the past 22 years.  Years with low snowfall, years with 65 degrees in February, years with 5” of rain in early March.  Two years ago saw 14 days straight with temps above 50 degrees.  We have always been able to manage our snow base into mid-April – this year will be no different.

·         Recognizing that it was a low snowfall year, we continued to make snow through March 9th  – the longest stretch of snowmaking in Lutsen Mountains history.  We have stockpiled more snow than any previous season. 

 Tips to share for navigating spring conditions:

The freeze thaw effect of spring creates some of the best conditions of the year – soft, silky corn snow,  and on a couple of featured runs some of the best mogul skiing in North America.  Finding these epic conditions sometimes requires a little attention to temperature and sun.

·         If overnight lows are between 25 and 35 degrees and daytime temps predicted 40+.  Ski early, start on Moose Mountains and finish on Eagle/Ullr mountain for the best groomed conditions.  Moguls will be best later in the day.

·         If overnight lows are 40+.  Ski early.  Soft and smooth in the morning, cut up and heavy in the afternoon.  Conditions will be similar throughout the mountain.  Moguls epic all day.

·         If overnight lows are below 20 with daytime temps predicted 40+.  Start late to allow the snow to soften, ski Moose Mountain first.

·         If daytime temps are predicted below 35 degrees.  Moguls will remain icy – stick to the groomed runs.  Conditions will remain consistent throughout the day.