Michigan: Northern Lower Peninsula

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

Fri, Mar 24: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

Well friends, sadly the 2km Michigan Cup Loop is too icy at this point to allow for safe skiing. We still have plenty of man-made snow for demoing, so skiers are still welcome to come try skate, classic, and metal edged skis at no charge. If we receive enough new snow this season to groom, we will definitely groom and reopen the trails for skiing. But at this point with rain in the forecast for the next few days, we will only be open for demos on the snow we have left.

It’s a great day to demo some skis, eat lunch, and go shopping! The March Madness Sale is on, and the Stone Turtle Day Lodge Lunch Special is the Mediterranean Tuna Melt! Albacore Tuna, feta cheese, house made hummus, kalamata olives, banana peppers, and tomatoes on Stone House 7-Grain Bread. Served with Great Lakes kettle chips and a pickle!

Join us for a Euchre Tournament and Pizza Party to celebrate our Season Trail Sponsors tomorrow, March 25th at 12:00pm! Show your 2016-17 Trail Sponsor Badge at XC Ski HQ this Saturday, and enjoy free entry into our very high stakes Euchre tournament, PLUS an order of complimentary gourmet Bosco Sticks: mozzarella-cheese-filled breadsticks, served hot and doctored up with garlic and delicious seasonings, and served with classy dipping sauces like Marinara and Ranch. Also, bring your skis in and enjoy $5 storage wax application per pair (the surefire way to guarantee an April blizzard), $5 gourmet flatbread pizzas, and 2 for $1 famous chocolate chip cookies. Both Euchre Tournament Champions get a free Silver Hot Wax on any one pair of skis, to be used anytime this season or next ($46 value!). BYO Beverages, and either BYO Euchre Partner or show up solo and we will find you one. Non-Trail-Sponsors who still like to have fun can enter the Euchre tournament and enjoy an order of Bosco Sticks for $10. Of course there will be special sales throughout the whole store, too.

See you at HQ this weekend!

- -Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Erin, Ryan, Matt, Michelle, George, Lexi, Dana, Gage, Grant, Heidi, Jim, James, Jose, and the Crew

Thu, Mar 23: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

The 2km Michigan Cup Loop incorporating part of the Trapper’s Cabin and Rolling Hills Trails is still very much skiable, and has some stretches that are in great condition for skating and classic despite not having classic tracks. We will not be grooming until we get more snow, due to the spots that are beginning to thin out. All other trails have some skiable stretches but require portaging over bare spots. Once again because of the cool overnight temps and the warmer day time temps today, the trails will be fast this morning after the cold temps last night, but will soften up around mid-day.

Join us this Saturday, March 25th at 12:00pm for a Euchre Tournament and Pizza Party to celebrate our Season Trail Sponsors! Show your 2016-17 Trail Sponsor Badge and enjoy free entry into our very high stakes Euchre tournament, PLUS an order of complimentary gourmet Bosco Sticks and tons of other specials, like $5 storage wax application, $5 gourmet flatbread pizzas and 2 for 1 chocolate chip cookies, and more. Both Euchre Tournament Champions get a free Silver Hot Wax on any one pair of skis, to be used anytime this season or next ($46 value each!). BYO Beverages, and either BYO Euchre Partner or show up solo and we will find you one. Non-Trail-Sponsors who still like to have fun can enter the Euchre tournament and enjoy an order of Bosco Sticks for $10, plus access all the other specials. Of course there will be special sales throughout the whole store, too!

See you this weekend for some indoor fun with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts!

- -Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Erin, Ryan, Matt, Michelle, George, Lexi, Dana, Gage, Grant, Heidi, Jim, James, Jose, and the Crew

Wed, Mar 22: Nubs Nob (Harbor Springs)

Upper loops power tilled and track set this morning. Good conditions overall, small twigs, no bare, excellent for the season. Soft in the sun, fast in the shade. Go figure.

- Greg Putalik

Wed, Mar 22: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

The 2km Michigan Cup Loop is still in very good shape and in fine “spring skiing” condition. It is perfect for getting a late season ski fix, and for demoing skis and boots, of which we have many! Because of the thin spots and bare spots on all our trails, we will not be grooming until we receive more snow accumulation, but all trails are open for skiing with some portages over bare spots necessary. The trails will be fast this morning after the cold temps last night, but will soften up around mid-day.

Forecast:

Today: Abundant sunshine. High near 35F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

Tonight: Mostly clear. Low 16F. Winds light and variable.

Tomorrow: A mix of clouds and sun early, then becoming cloudy later in the day. High 43F. Winds S at 10 to 15 mph.

The Stone Turtle Day Lodge Lunch Special is the Mediterranean Tuna Melt! Albacore Tuna, feta cheese, house made hummus, kalamata olives, banana peppers, and tomatoes on Stone House 7-Grain Bread. Served with Great Lakes kettle chips and a pickle!

Join us Saturday at 12:00pm for a Euchre Tournament and Pizza Party to celebrate our Season Trail Sponsors!

Show your 2016-17 Trail Sponsor Badge at XC Ski HQ this Saturday, and enjoy free entry into our very high stakes Euchre tournament, PLUS an order of complimentary gourmet Bosco Sticks: mozzarella-cheese-filled breadsticks, served hot and doctored up with garlic and delicious seasonings, and served with classy dipping sauces like Marinara and Ranch. Also, bring your skis in and enjoy $5 storage wax application per pair (the surefire way to guarantee an April blizzard), $5 gourmet flatbread pizzas, and 2 for $1 famous chocolate chip cookies. Both Euchre Tournament Champions get a free Silver Hot Wax on any one pair of skis, to be used anytime this season or next ($46 value!). BYO Beverages, and either BYO Euchre Partner or show up solo and we will find you one. Non-Trail-Sponsors who still like to have fun can enter the Euchre tournament and enjoy an order of Bosco Sticks for $10.

See you this weekend for some indoor fun with your fellow outdoor enthusiasts!

- -Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Erin, Ryan, Matt, Michelle, George, Lexi, Dana, Gage, Grant, Heidi, Jim, James, Jose, and the Crew

Tue, Mar 21: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

With yesterday’s high temps, our Michigan Cup Loop now has a few thin spots, but is still very much open and in fine “Spring Skiing” condition. Because of the thin spots and bare spots on all our trails, we will not be grooming until we receive more snow accumulation, but all trails are open for skiing with some portages necessary. This morning the trails will be fast, but will soften up around mid-day. With a high of 37F and clear skies forecasted, it will be a great day to be outside on snow!

The Stone Turtle Day Lodge Lunch Special is the San Francisco Turkey Panini! Oven roasted turkey, swiss cheese, tomato, onion, and garlic mayo on Stone House Sourdough Bread. Served with Great Lakes Chips and a pickle, of course!

It’s a great time to shop for skis and boots while you can still demo them on snow! The March Madness Sale is on, with many soft goods and hard goods clearance items. Kids and adults winter jackets, XC ski jackets and pants, including Swix, Brooks, Salomon, Bjorn Daehlie, North Face, Columbia and more. Try some amazingly light and fast Rossignol Xium WCS skate skis for $427 (list $700), or the tried and true Salomon S-Lab Classic Cold skis for just $299 (list $650). It's always a good day to shop.

- -Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Erin, Ryan, Matt, Michelle, George, Lexi, Dana, Gage, Grant, Heidi, Jim, James, Jose, and the Crew

Mon, Mar 20: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

Happy First Day of Spring! We had a really fun day yesterday, with great conditions for a fun group of Junior Muffin Racers from ages 5 to 19. The Senior Muffins (ages 13-19) did an 8km pursuit race, which consisted of 4km classic style, followed by 4km skate style. The Mini Muffins (ages 5-12) did a very exciting relay race, and were cheered on by a lively crowd of Senior Muffins and spectators. Conditions on the Michigan Cup Loop and Mackinaw Cut remain excellent for skating and classic, and the best skiing will be early. All other trails are skiable, but have growing thin and bare spots. It did not get below freezing last night, so we will not be grooming today. We are of course open for skiing, plus free demos for all skating and classic skis!

The Stone Turtle Day Lodge Lunch Special is the San Francisco Turkey Panini! Oven roasted turkey, swiss cheese, tomato, onion, and garlic mayo on Stone House Sourdough Bread. Served with Great Lakes Chips and a pickle, of course!

It’s a great time to shop for skis and boots while you can still demo them on snow! The March Madness Sale is on, with many soft goods and hard goods clearance items. Kids and adults winter jackets, XC ski jackets and pants, including Swix, Brooks, Salomon, Bjorn Daehlie, North Face, Columbia and more. Try some amazingly light and fast Rossignol Xium WCS skate skis for $427 (list $700), or the tried and true Salomon S-Lab Classic Cold skis for just $299 (list $650).

Make sure to play outside today!

- -Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Erin, Ryan, Matt, Michelle, George, Lexi, Dana, Gage, Grant, Heidi, Jim, James, Jose, and the Crew

Sun, Mar 19: Sand Lakes Quiet Area (Williamsburg)

So glad we hiked Sand Lakes yesterday, so I couldn't resist one last ski today. Trail is approx 75% covered with 2-4" snow. Where thin & heavily travelled, icy base but great glide, like Engadin last Sat. Most bare spots were walkable in my "rock" skis, with wet leaves & grassy edges, but lots of roots, sticks & downed trees. All 3 lakes have several muskrat lodges. On my return, I passed many millennials out hiking in the sunshine, enjoying the trail, too. For a change, I skied counterclockwise, which is a little more uphill than down!

- Sara Cockrell

Sun, Mar 19: Cross Country Ski Headquarters (Higgins Lake)

We had a wonderful day of skiing yesterday at the Spring Ski Fest, and a fabulous Hawaiian BBQ to boot. Conditions on the Michigan Cup Loop and Mackinaw Cut remain excellent for skating and classic, and Groomer Stu will snow comb both trails this morning. All other trails are skiable, but have thin and bare spots. Due to the Junior Muffin Race being held this morning, skiing on the Michigan Cup Loop will be closed to the public from 10:00am to noon.

Grab your kiddos and join us for the Muffin Race today! The Senior Muffin Race is a 13 to 19 year old division, Girls and 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 today, 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.

After the 8km Senior Muffin Division Pursuit race, we will hold three Junior Muffin freestyle races: Ages 6 years and under, 7 to 9 and 10 to 12. Registration for Junior Muffin starts after the Senior Muffin race is over (approx 11-11:30). Race start will be right after that, around noon. All racers 12 and under will be awarded a medal! There is a $10 entry fee for the Senior Racers (13 and older) and it includes a delicious lunch. There is no entry fee for the Junior Muffin Racers.

The March Madness Sale is on now. Shop 40-50% off most soft goods, including jackets, layering tops, sweaters, and more. Plus a huge sale on cross country skis and boots, including Salomon S-Lab Classic skis for $299, Rossignol Xium WCS skate skis for $427, Fischer RCS Skate skis for $399, and more.

Ski while you can!

- -Mariah, Stu, Bob, Lynne, Fran, Erin, Ryan, Matt, Michelle, George, Lexi, Dana, Gage, Grant, Heidi, Jim, James, Jose, and the Crew