After hearing from the local search and rescue authority that the lake ice was safe, Liz and I shot out on Gunflint Lake on the snowmobile a few days ago to check the conditions. We were warned of the possibility of deep slush so it was necessary to keep the speed up to avoid becoming stuck, creating a very difficult situation as the slush quickly freezes the snowmobile in place.
We did find slush but conditions were not quite as bad as we had anticipated. The slushy spots in the middle of the lake appeared to have frozen over, making a nice crusty top.
Lake ice conditions were again tested the afternoon after our slush check and we were all astonished to find out that in some places the thickness of the ice had actually decreased, leaving us all wondering what mother nature has in play. The lake will not be approved for our client adventures until we can be certain this new condition has reversed and more solid inches of good ice are built up. Having had a few inches of snow the other day, coupled with high winds, we now have mounds of snow on the lake creating insulation. This condition doesn't lend itself to ice build-up without extended periods of temps well below zero. Thankfully, below zero temps have been abundant.
After having had a warm up a few days ago, into the upper 30s, then a dip below zero and a few inches of snow, our established wooded trails are in very good condition. An immediate grooming with the snowmobile with groomer in tow after the snowfall made this trail ready for smooth and fast runs on our fully booked New Year's Eve day schedule.