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Thursday’s storm brings cross-country skiing to central Wisconsin

Chicago is in a huge snow drought that technically ended Thursday evening. Thursday’s meager snowfall ended 290 days without measurable snow although only .2 inches fell on the city. The worst of the storm fell to the north and the west.

Blue Mound State Park
Blue Mound State Park
Ted Nelson
Black River State Forest
Ted Nelson

Although Chicago is without snow and cross-country skiing, this does not mean there is no skiing in the vicinity. Unfortunately, it appears you may have to drive a bit. Rock Cut State Park on the Illinois – Wisconsin border in Rockford reports the snow is slushy and wet and they are not opening this week.

Related: North Kettle Moraine cross-country ski review and slide show

South Kettle Moraine has only reached 2-6 inches. They have enough snow, and they have packed and groomed the trails, but there is no classic track groomed due to lack of snow. They are also reporting bare patches, which is not a surprise with less than 6 inches. Same applies for Lapham Peak in Delafield.

A little more snow has fallen north of Milwaukee. The Pike Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest is reporting 15 inches of snow. North Kettle Moraine is also reporting plenty of snow, so these two parks may be the place to go for snow near Chicago.

Near Madison, Blue Mound State Park is reporting good snow conditions. The Park has not reported an amount, but the Madison Nordic Club is reporting good conditions for both Lake Kegonsa State Park and Blue Mound.

Devil’s Lake State Park is reporting over a foot of snow, but they have indicated that the trails may not be groomed in time for the long holiday weekend. Mirror Lake and Wyalusing have yet to update their conditions page, but surely they have had snow as well.

Black River State Forest’s website shows just under a foot of snow. They have not stated weather the trails have been groomed yet, but they are usually proactive in this park when enough snow is on the ground.

Ironically, northern Wisconsin is still suffering from a paucity of snow. The Birkie Trail System near Hayward only received a couple of inches of snow on Thursday and are recommending rock skis.

Therefore, central Wisconsin is the place to be for cross-country skiing this weekend. It looks like a drive of 2.5 hours to 4 hours will be necessary from downtown Chicago in order to find good cross-country ski conditions.

When you visit the Wisconsin State Parks individual pages, click on the trail conditions on the right hand side to see current conditions. A good site to get information on how to find Wisconsin ski conditions can be found here.

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