Michigan: Northern Lower Peninsula

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

Sat, Feb 24: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

So I went out and groomed all the skating lanes and they turned out good-considering. We closed Loons from Pt. #3 to Pt. #3 1/2 due to ice and bare spots. We plan on re-routing that section next year to eliminate that problem. There are more icy spots than there were two days ago but you can ski around them.

- kathloon

Sat, Feb 24: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

We were able to set fresh tracks yesterday afternoon on all of our lower trails. They firmed up nicely overnight and should be pretty fast today until mid afternoon or so. Trails overall will be firm with icy sections, softening as the day goes on. Look out for thin and bare patches. Vistas and Deer Run remain closed.

Don't forget about the sale, 30% off of EVERYTHING.

- Boyne Mountain Cross Country Center

Sat, Feb 24: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

The temps stayed cold yesterday and last night. Tractor Mike spent the day yesterday tilling up the ice with the pre-seeder, adding snow where needed, and finally grooming the John Deere Loop. Conditions will be good for skating today. Classic skiing should be fair to good, but we were unable to set classic tracks due to the crustiness of the snow. Plan on 2.5km of full coverage of a mixture of snow, crusty snow, and one or two slightly slick spots on the trail today.

Join us today for Birkie Live Stream and Taste of Gates Lunch Special! Starting at 9:30am this morning, watch “the Greatest Show on Snow” – the North American Birkebiener, live in Cable, Wisconsin! This famous ski race draws just as many fans as participants – well over 10,000. Join in the excitement by watching the live stream in the HQ Day Lodge! Then head out for a ski on the John Deere Trail, and come back in for lunch to experience the fantastic flavors of Gate’s AuSable Lodge, right here at Cross Country Ski Headquarters! Gate’s Lodge Head Chef, Matt Haley, will cook up a hearty winter feast you’ll never forget. Join us for this very special culinary experience, which showcases one of Northern Michigan’s best dining experiences. *Beverages not included.

- 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 24: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

I'm heading out to scratch up the trails. We didn't go out yesterday but Thursday I groomed all the skating lanes (NO Trackset) and they turned out pretty decent. There are a few bare spots on Loons and Willies way and it was pretty icy where Eagles and Does come out of the woods other than that there was a lot of coverage. Under the pine trees on Aspen and Stride right there is a lot of trail trash. Otter is closed. Could be the last day. If you come out, look for Steve the Stork. He flew over to Jacks Rabbit and landed in a tree.

- kathloon

Fri, Feb 23: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

Woke up, unfortunately, to rain. The trails should hold up, at least in the woods, if the rain tapers off by this afternoon, which the forecast says it will. Nick will be out to check the condition of the trails when the rain is done and we'll have an update then. Vistas and Deer Run are closed.

On a happier note, the sale continues! 30% off everything in the store! Come grab some gear!

- Boyne Mountain Cross Country Center

Fri, Feb 23: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

The temps stayed cold yesterday and last night. Tractor Mike spent the day yesterday using the pre-seeder to grind up the icy, crusty snow surface on the John Deere trail. The results were very good, and he will continue to grind and add snow where needed throughout the day today to make the 2.5km John Deere trail as great as it could possibly be. The skate skiing should be fair to good today, with full coverage of snow but the occasional icy spot. Classic skiing with metal edged skis is a good idea, as we are not able to set classic tracks just yet. Our plan is to grind up the snow up enough by tomorrow to make for good classic and skate conditions for the weekend!

Join us this weekend for these great events!

-Saturday, February 24th: Birkie Live Stream and Taste of Gates!
Watch “the Greatest Show on Snow” – the North American Birkebiener, live in Cable, Wisconsin! This famous ski race draws just as many fans as participants – well over 10,000. Join in the excitement by watching the live stream in the HQ Day Lodge! Then for lunch, experience the fantastic flavors of Gate’s AuSable Lodge, right here at Cross Country Ski Headquarters! Gate’s Lodge Head Chef, Matt Haley, will cook up a hearty winter feast you’ll never forget. Join us for this very special culinary experience, which showcases one of Northern Michigan’s best dining experiences. *Beverages not included.

-Sunday, February 25th: The 26th Annual Junior Muffin Race!
Join us for the longest standing juniors race in Michigan! The Muffin Race celebrates the fun of youth skiing with a Junior Girls & Boys 8km Pursuit race. Skiers will classic ski the first half of the race then ski freestyle the second half of the race. Registration begins at 9am on Sunday, and we will shoot for a 10:30am start. This is a Michigan Cup Junior Race. Medals will be awarded to the top 3 finishers in the girls and boys races, and awards will also be given for best costumes! There will also be a “Mini Muffin” Race following the Senior Muffin Race. ALL AGES of kids are welcome for the Mini Muffin Race, and entry is free. Each Mini Muffin racer receives a medal!

- 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 23: Forbush Corner (Frederic)

We will be closed for skiing today. It does not look like the system moving through will bring us snow either. So at this point the shop will be open for sales only this weekend, not skiing. We are very sad ...

- Todd

Thu, Feb 22: Lake Ann Pathway (Interlochen)

Lake Ann was too rough from boot imprints for skiing, but good crusty, not hardpacked, snow & plenty of coverage, 4-6". I'm hopeful it could be skiable if we get a few inches of snow. In the meantime, a hiking we will go, up & down the hills, along the river & lakes, with Kathy Cook-Dowd & Winnie! We hiked clockwise, and only one tree down near the road, which I will ask to get cleared. It's on a downhill but visible at the crest.

- Sara Cockrell

Thu, Feb 22: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

Kathy is out on the trails and scratching up the skate lanes which are in good shape with only a couple bare spots to detour around. There is a solid 4-6 inch base on 90% of the trails that should hold up through the weekend and hopefully longer. Hills recommended for advanced skiers as they may be icy in a few places.
Track set is non existent at this time and but the skate lanes are fast and smooth.
We will continue to groom daily as long as the temps get to freezing at night.
Trail debris continues to surface in the pine sections of the trail and rock skis are advised.

- Greg

Thu, Feb 22: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

Trails are open but quite firm and icy. Conditions should improve as the temperatures climb throughout the day.

Store-wide sale is still in effect, 30% off of everything. Come on in and stock up on gear before it is all gone!

- Boyne Mountain Cross Country Center

Thu, Feb 22: Shanty Creek - Schuss Mtn (Bellaire)

Skied Pine Cone last night - very hard and icy in a number of spots. 100% coverage but be careful. The rest of the system is very spotty and icy.
This is the time of year that the King of the Hill trail comes in handy - 100% snowmaking and groomed every night - give it a try.

- Peter Bigford

Thu, Feb 22: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

It remained cold throughout the day yesterday and last night, which gave the remaining snow on the trails a chance to harden up. The John Deere Trail is still completely intact with full coverage, and the trail surface is 75% hard, crusty snow, with intermittent boiler plate ice. Groomer Mike will take the pre-seeder out there today to grind up the ice and add fresh snow from our stockpile where needed. Conditions will get softer and more skiable as the day goes on; we recommend waiting until this afternoon to try skating or classic skiing. It would be a good day to try some metal edged skis! We plan to have at least the 2.5km John Deere Loop open for skiing this weekend.

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Wild Turkey Panini! Sliced turkey breast, basil pesto, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and provolone cheese, grilled on Stone House 7-Grain bread. Served with Great Lakes Chips and a pickle!

In the meantime, stop in for some shopping! We have great sales on skate and classic ski packages, plus winter clothing and accessories.

- 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 21: Shanty Creek - Schuss Mtn (Bellaire)

- Peter Bigford

Wed, Feb 21: Nubs Nob (Harbor Springs)

The crew at Nubs delivered yet again by laying down tilled corduroy on the skate lane and fresh classic tracks after 36 hours of ice/rain. Some of the fastest conditions of the season with full control.

- ZJ

Wed, Feb 21: Crystal Mountain (Thompsonville)

I had the last two days off and wasn't expecting to come back to any snow but OMG I could not believe how much base we have. I took the tidd tech out and tried scratching stuff up, it was doing a decent job but then I had mechanical issues. I got Loon's, lower Stag, Jacks and Willies done before the sled petered out on me. Greg is out there now seeing if he can do some more. There isn't a track set but the skating lanes should be fast on the above mentioned trails and any that Greg can get to. Hope fully we get the sled issues ironed out so we can do it again tomorrow. There is some ice and bare spots but nothing you can't ski around. Remember it's like spring skiing so don't expect perfect conditions-just be glad there's snow in the form of snow cone.

- Kathloon

Wed, Feb 21: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

Due to the rain and ice all trails are closed today.

The shop is open and we have everything at 30% off!

- Nick and the gang at BM XC Center

Wed, Feb 21: Hanson Hills (Grayling)

Unfortunately our trail system has not responded well to the rain and warmer temperatures. All Cross Country Trails are closed and un-skiable at this time.

- Justin Andre

Wed, Feb 21: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

After considerable rain throughout the day yesterday, the temps finally cooled down last night. We received a dusting of snow overnight, and as of 7:00am it is 25F. Due to all the moisture on the trails, we will not be grooming today. In the best interest of preserving the snow, we ask that no one ski on the trails today while we let some of the water drain away. Only the practice area is open today for ski demos.

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Italian Stallion Panini! Ham, pepperoni, provolone, banana peppers, black olives, and marinara sauce on sliced Stone House Italian Bread. Served with Great Lakes Chips and a pickle!

Join us this weekend for a whole bunch of events!

Saturday, February 24th: Birkie Live Stream and Taste of Gates!
Watch “the Greatest Show on Snow” – the North American Birkebiener, live in Cable, Wisconsin! This famous ski race draws just as many fans as participants – well over 10,000. Join in the excitement by watching the live stream in the HQ Day Lodge! Then for lunch, experience the fantastic flavors of Gate’s AuSable Lodge, right here at Cross Country Ski Headquarters! Gate’s Lodge Head Chef, Matt Haley, will cook up a hearty winter feast you’ll never forget. Join us for this very special culinary experience, which showcases one of Northern Michigan’s best dining experiences. *Beverages not included.

Sunday, February 25th: The 25th Annual Junior Muffin Race!
Join us for the longest standing juniors race in Michigan! The Muffin Race celebrates the fun of youth skiing with a Junior Girls & Boys 8km Pursuit race. Skiers will classic ski the first half of the race then ski freestyle the second half of the race. Registration begins at 9am on Sunday, and we will shoot for a 10:30am start. This is a Michigan Cup Junior Race. Medals will be awarded to the top 3 finishers in the girls and boys races, and awards will also be given for best costumes! There will also be a “Mini Muffin” Race at approximately 11:30. ALL AGES of kids are welcome for the Mini Muffin Race, and entry is free. Each Mini Muffin racer receives a medal!

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

Tue, Feb 20: Boyne Mountain (Boyne Falls)

The trails are closed today due to weather, but the shop is open and having a 30% off sale!
On EVERYTHING!!!
We also have a few sets of brand new skis from 2014-2015 at 50% off and plenty of new models from this year at 30% off. Hats, gloves, coats, pants, socks, base-layers and more!
Get in here for great deals on all of our gear while you can!

- Nick and the gang at BM XC Center

Tue, Feb 20: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

The earlier part of the day yesterday was great for skiing, and conditions were enjoyed by quite a few skiers before the rain set in in the afternoon. It has been raining steadily all night and looks to continue throughout the day today. Because of this, and in order to preserve as much of the snow as we can, the trails will be closed today. Only the practice area is open today for ski demos.

Today’s Stone Turtle Cafe lunch special is the Italian Stallion Panini! Ham, pepperoni, provolone, banana peppers, black olives, and marinara sauce on sliced Stone House Italian Bread. Served with Great Lakes Chips and a pickle. Stop in for some shopping! We have great sales on skate and classic ski packages, plus winter clothing and accessories.

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

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