The Wet Sticks Season… or Waiting for Snow

The trails are manicured and the windfalls have been cut and cleared. Snow fence is up along the highways and the wood is split and stacked. All we need now is cold weather and a fluffy white covering of snow.

The warm waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan are one of Door County’s most valuable assets. The peninsula of land that extends up from Green Bay to Washington Island is surrounded by more than 250 miles of shoreline. These two large bodies of water on the east and west coastal shores are also heat sinks, holding back the harsh effects of winter as it advances it grip over the land between. Lake Michigan does not freeze closed but Green Bay eventually seals itself shut from coast to coast as the cold settles in.

With all of that geothermal physics at work we are late to get the snows that usually start to cover the central and northern regions of Wisconsin. In Door County we are usually delighted to have a “White Christmas.” I located a NOAA report of the Worst Snowstorms on Record in Wisconsin, but I am still trying to find a chart with dates of the first significant snowfall over the years. It seems to me that the odds are even on whether we will have snow for the holidays. But, my skis and snowshoes are ready… and we’ll be the first ones to spread the word if and when that magic white stuff descends.

For now, we quietly remain in that season my friend Toby, the Door County Kiteman calls, “Wet Sticks” – no leaves, no snow, just wet sticks.

Door County Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Trail Report for March 1, 2013

All of Door County received even more snow in recent days and we are now experiencing what January should have looked and felt like, as far as average temperature and snow depth.

In other words, ski conditions are excellent all over Door County and the weather is continually supporting the snow quality by remaining below freezing throughout the days. Continuing cold weather is predicted, with more snow expected in the immediate forecast. Now, is the time to ski Door County!

Somewhere in Paradise...Somewhere in Paradise…

Groomers report the following conditions:

Potawatomi State Park:
Excellent condition. The trails were groomed this morning at Potawatomi  Park. The skate lanes were rolled and new
tracks set. Snow is soft, but the trails are in excellent condition. All trails are open and in great shape. (2/28/13 Ron Maloney)

Whitefish Dunes State Park:  
New snow fell on Wednesday, February 27, adding to the snow base. There is about 10 inches of snow in the park. Blowing snow may cause some drifting in open areas, but not enough to cover the tracks.  Cross-country ski trails were last groomed on Thursday, February 28 and are in excellent condition. The trails will be “fast” in the morning and “slower” in the afternoon due to longer daylight hours. Trails at Whitefish Dunes are groomed for classic skiing only. Hiking and snowshoe trails also exist. When ski trails are groomed for skiing, hikers and snowshoers must keep off the ski trails. The Black Trail and beach are open to hikers and snowshoers. There is no hiking or snowshoeing allowed on or next to any ski trail (Red, Yellow or Green trails). The Brachiopod trail does
not make a continuous loop during the ski season; those wishing to see the wetland are asked to return on the Black trail.  (2/28/13 Carolyn Rock)

Crossroads at Big Creek:  
Ski conditions are very good, with 5″ of new snow falling on Thursday and Friday. All trails were rolled on Friday afternoon. Track will be set on Saturday afternoon. Should be great skiing through the weekend. (2/23/13 Jim Maki)

Peninsula State Park:
Snow depth is about 8-12 inches in the park. Cross-country ski trails trails were groomed on Friday, March 1 and
are in very good to excellent condition. Snowshoe/hiking trails are in good condition. Please, remember that hiking and snowshoeing are not allowed on ski trails. (3/1/13 Peninsula Park Website)

Newport State Park:
Trails now have 4″ or more of fresh snow, from a few days ago. Trail was groomed today. (3/1). Trail is in good to excellent condition with quite a bit of small debris on the ground due to the extremely windy conditions. Tracks are surprisingly hard and fast. Despite the debris, the skiing is the best so far this year!  (3/1/13 Casey St Henry)

For more detailed information about trails and conditions, go to:

Weekly Door County Ski Trail Report as of Friday, Mar 25

Amazing! Just when we all thought we should store our ski equipment until next winter, we are blessed with over 12 inches of snow across the county on Tuesday and Wednesday this past week.

Door County Silent Sports Alliance has the pleasure of being able to issue week 15 of the ski report! We are indebted to all the volunteer trail groomers as well as to all those who did trail work during the summer months leading up to ski season. Thank you for a wonderful, long season of Nordic skiing in Door County.

Trail groomers report the following conditions:

Crossroads at Big Creek Conditions: All ski trails at the Crossroads were rolled and packed on Thursday morning. Snow is heavy and wet but with the cold weather tonight we should have a very good base again. A track will be set early on Friday morning. We will have very good skiing at the Crossroads over the weekend.

Newport State Park Conditions: No official report but there is plenty of snow for classical skiing.

Peninsula State Park Conditions: 10″-12″ of new snow fell yesterday! As we are reliant upon volunteer groomers right now, there have not yet been any tracks laid, but they are planning on getting out to groom Thursday evening. Sustained, below-freezing temperatures should keep the fresh snow around at least through the weekend, and conditions should be excellent, barring any windstorms or sudden melt-downs!

Potawatomi State Park Conditions: No report official report but there is plenty of snow and the woods should be beautiful with snow heavy on the trees. If volunteers have been able to get out to do grooming, the trails should be very good.

Snowkraft Nordic Conditions: Snowkraft is groomed and ready for skiing!!

Whitefish Dunes State Park Conditions: It ain’t over til it’s over! Just when we were getting ready to put the grooming equipment away for the season, mother nature dumps 12 “ + of heavy wet snow. Trails were packed, and track set Thursday. Very good to excellent in many areas. Because of the density of the snow and the warming temps, getting a full depth track was a challenge, but it is very good in most areas. All in all, this might be a last time to take advantage of good skiing this weekend.

Weekly Cross Country Ski Report brought to you by Door County Silent Sports Alliance.

Weekly Door County Ski Trail Report as of Friday, Mar 11

Well, we have one more ski report for you! Door County received between four and six inches of snow on Thursday and this has provided enough additional snow that we still have cross-country skiing on the Peninsula! Don your bikini and head out for some great spring skiing!

Trail groomers report the following conditions:

Crossroads at Big Creek Conditions: Fair. New snow this week on Thursday but warm temperatures and sun in the open areas are causing it to go fast.

Newport State Park Conditions: Poor, 4” inches of new snow this week covered the hard pack but even the new snow is quickly melting. Not ideal, but skiable.

Peninsula State Park Conditions: Fair. We received 6″ of new snow this week so the trails are snow-covered but not groomed. Looks like a good time to make your own tracks! Enjoy the snow before it melts away!

Potawatomi State Park Conditions: Good. Trails are groomed and tracked. The park was described as a winter wonderland with the most recent snowfall. Norway road is groomed nicely for skate skiing.

Snowkraft Nordic Conditions: Fair to Good. The recent snowfall surely helped, however we are still dealing with a rather thin base, to be thinner by this weekend. Sunday looks by far the best of the two days to ski IF trails hold up OK. Looking at the temperatures ahead, it appears there are not many more days of skiing left.

Whitefish Dunes State Park Conditions: Good. Trails at Whitefish Dunes are currently snow covered and in skiable condition. They will be rolled and tracked on Friday if weather permits. This should provide skiable trails for the weekend, but if the forecast is fulfilled, trails may be in the process of melting down again.

Weekly Cross Country Ski Report brought to you by Door County Silent Sports Alliance.

Weekly Door County Ski Trail Report as of Thursday, Mar 4

We have a wintery mix of precipitation right now but with lower temperatures expected this weekend.  Those seeking a last ski of the season can still find a place to ski in Door County but you may want to use older equipment that can take a bit of abuse.    We have enjoyed twelve weeks of skiing so far this winter – not bad!

Trail groomers report the following conditions:

Crossroads at Big Creek Conditions: Fair. Trails groomed last Monday but not enough to set a track. Snow cover good over 90% of trails for skate skiing. A few open grass areas.

Newport State Park Conditions: Poor conditions. Hard pack and tracks still exists but icy and lots of bare spots and debris.

Peninsula State Park Conditions: Poor. No new snow, trails not groomed. Bare spots and icing all over the trail system. There may be some crust skiing on the golf course, but that’s about it… Perhaps spring is upon us? The trails are not officially closed to skiing, so please do not hike on them. Other non-ski trails are available for hiking.

Potawatomi State Park Conditions: Fair to Poor. Trail varies from 30% poor snow coverage to 70%. Fair to good for skating. The striding track is gone in many places. Use rock skis at this time. The 3” of new snow predicted should improve things considerably. Norway road is groomed nicely.

Snowkraft Nordic Conditions: Fair to Poor. Trails were very good earlier this week but have been deteriorating in the warm temperatures. Woods and small portion of orchard are open. The end of a great ski season looks near.

Whitefish Dunes State Park Conditions: Poor. Would recommend skiing only early in the morning while the temperatures are low and then only with old skis that you don’t care about. Lots of bare places and debris. If you walk the trails, please walk to the side and not on the tracks.

Weekly Cross Country Ski Report brought to you by Door County Silent Sports Alliance.

Weekly Door County Ski Trail Report as of Thursday, Feb 18

What a difference a week makes. Our ski conditions have seriously deteriorated all over the county due to several days of warm temperatures. Best policy would be to call before you drive to ski an area.

Trail groomers report the following conditions:

Crossroads at Big Creek Conditions: Poor. All trails are iced over making skiing very difficult. If temperatures drop and we have an adequate base, the groomer will attempt to get the trails back in shape.

Newport State Park Conditions: Poor. Trail and track are icy and there is debris in spots on the trail.

Peninsula State Park Conditions: Poor. Skiing not recommended.

Potawatomi State Park Conditions: Poor but you can still ski Potawatomi Park. There are some developing bare spots and breaks in the trail, use rock skis, but for those who really enjoy the sport, it is still skiable. Recommend starting at the center of the park and going north from there, better snow than the south end.

Snowkraft Nordic Conditions: Closed until this weekend. It is uncertain what Thursday and Friday will do to the trails, however an educated guess is that the orchard will not be “spot” fixable – much of it will melt. It is even unclear at this point as to whether ANY of the trails will be skiable Saturday with the return of colder weather. Check Website for the latest updates.

Whitefish Dunes State Park Conditions: Poor. No further details.

Weekly Cross Country Ski Report brought to you by Door County Silent Sports Alliance.

Weekly Door County Ski Trail Report as of Thursday, Feb 10

All ski areas are open and groomed in Door County. It was very cold this week but rising weekend temperatures are predicted and it looks like it will be wonderful for skiing. See you on the trails!.

Trail groomers report the following conditions:

Crossroads at Big Creek Conditions: Very good. All trails were dragged and leveled Thursday morning, February 10 and a track was set. Base is excellent and should hold through the weekend. Next moonlight ski is scheduled for February 18 at 7 pm.

Newport State Park Conditions: Trails are in fair to good shape. Lots of debris in spots. Hotz portion of Europe Bay not groomed. Candlelight Ski is scheduled for Saturday, February 12.

Peninsula State Park Conditions: Good. Last Groomed February 3. No new snow. Trails are very hard, due to the cold and the snow is thin, but the trails are skiable. Classic tracks are somewhat glazed but skiable and the skate deck should be extra fast. There is a lot of debris on the striding trails and on sections of the skate deck.

Potawatomi State Park Conditions: Good for skating and striding. Groomed last on Monday after the weekend thaw. Skate lane more level than last week. Some windblown debris from the trees on the trail but not bad.

Snowkraft Nordic Conditions: Excellent plus – best of the year. We’ll be coming out of a cold spell just in time for the weekend. A great classic track, the best skate lane in Door County – by leaps and bounds and a challenging 1.4 mile Snowshoe Trail await you. See Website for trail fees. See you on the trail!

Whitefish Dunes State Park Conditions: Good to Very Good. Excellent in many areas. Despite heavy use this past week, the tracks are firm and holding up quite well. Caution is advised in areas where there are hemlocks, cedars, and young beech where considerable woods debris is present on the trail. Double-tracked portions of the Red Trail and some of the open areas will be re-groomed Friday morning.

Weekly Cross Country Ski Report brought to you by Door County Silent Sports Alliance.

Weekly Door County Ski Trail Report as of Thursday, Feb 3

After more recent snow, all ski areas are open and groomed in Door County.

This weekend should provide some of the best ski conditions of the season. The daytime temperatures will be mild and our ski trail groomers are reporting excellent conditions across the county. The event “Ski the Door: 6 ski areas in 2 days” will be featured this weekend and starts at Newport State Park on Saturday morning at 9 am. Skiers will start on Sunday from Snowkraft Nordic at 9 am.

Trail groomers report the following conditions:

Crossroads at Big Creek Conditions: Excellent. Six inches of new snow this week makes for excellent skiing at the Crossroads. Trails were rolled on February 1 and 2 and a track was set on the afternoon of February 2. Conditions should be great through the weekend.

Newport State Park Conditions: Trails are very good. Groomed single track. Newport Loop recommended from Lot 3. Europe Bay trail groomed to Europe Bay Road. Hotz section not groomed this week due to downed trees. Tracks still in good condition. Candlelight Ski is scheduled for Saturday, February 12.

Peninsula State Park Conditions: Trails are in good condition. Skate deck is as good as it has ever been. Most classic trails were groomed on February 3 and skate deck was last groomed on February 1. We recently received 8 inches of new snow. The Yellow, Orange, Red, and Green loops are in excellent shape for striding with a few other classic loops in need of re-touching. All-in-all, this is the best skiing Peninsula has seen all year. Join us for our candlelight ski this Saturday, February 5 from lot 5.

Potawatomi State Park Conditions: very good for skating and striding. Last groomed February 2. The grooming of the new snowfall has smoothed out the rolling condition from the last thaw and tracks are well set. The visitors to the park and DNR should appreciate the hard work and dedication of the volunteer groomers (Steve Spaude and Pete Sigmann this week) and financial help from the Friends of Potawatomi who make this ski trail possible.

Snowkraft Nordic Conditions: Very good. Finished grooming all trails on February 3 and classic track has been added. Trails are really good; the orchard will be a little soft in places, but overall should be very good, especially with second grooming on Thursday night. Friday and the weekend should be excellent for skiing at Snowkraft.

Whitefish Dunes State Park Conditions: Fair to Good. Last groomed February 3. All trails were rolled and new track set. Tracks are full depth and look very good, but because of the low moisture content of the recent new snow the tracks aren’t firming up and therefore are very soft. The recent winds have deposited considerable forest debris, especially near the hemlocks and cedars so, the tracks are quite ‘dirty.’ Finally, the open areas have had considerable drifting, so the tracks are gone in some of these areas. Despite these undesirable conditions, the trails are still very enjoyable to experience.

Weekly Cross Country Ski Report brought to you by Door County Silent Sports Alliance.

Ski the Door Challenge: All 6 Door County Cross-Country Ski Areas in 2 Days! Feb 5-6

You can say you were one of the first to participate in what is sure to become an annual event… No registration fees this year!

Janelle Peotter

Join us to ski all six groomed cross country ski areas in Door County this weekend: February 5 – 6.

We will be starting in northern Door County and ski the state parks at Newport, Peninsula, and Whitefish Dunes on Saturday and then ski at Snowkraft, Potowatomi State Park and Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay on Sunday. We plan to finish in time for everyone to head to their favorite Super Bowl party! This event will cater to all speeds, both classic and skate skiers, with accommodated distances and planned meeting times for meals on both days so this will also become the social event of the ski season! Perfect for those wanting a distance weekend to prepare for the Birkie or just the casual recreational skier who would like a taste of all the skiing options in Door County.

Saturday start point: Newport State Park’s parking Lot at 9 am. If you would like to carpool meet at the north end of the Crossroads parking lot in Sturgeon Bay at 8 am.

Sunday start point: Snowkraft at 9 am.

To register please call Janelle Peotter at 920.493.3568 or Debbie Kiedrowski at 414.791.1271 or send us an email at

Weekly Door County Ski Trail Report as of Thursday, Jan 27

All ski areas are open in Door County and likely to improve given the forecast for snow.

Trail groomers report the following conditions:

Crossroads at Big Creek Conditions: Good. Great cold weather all week at the Crossroads.  Trails are groomed and tracked.  A dusting of snow almost every night makes for very good skiing.  Reports from skiers using the trails are very positive.

Newport State Park Conditions: Trails are poor to fair.  Not groomed and some bare spots.  Candlelight Ski is scheduled for Saturday February 12.

Peninsula State Park Conditions: Fair.  Less than 1″ of new snow. Last groomed January 18, skate loops touched-up since then.   All trails are groomed and open including the skate loops.  Trails are fair.   Lack of new snow and cold temperatures have left the trails skiable, but thin to bare in places.  2″-4″ anticipated on January 28 should make the conditions much better!

Potawatomi State Park Conditions: Fair. Last groomed Saturday January 22.  Trail is 100% covered but in fair condition due to rolling, uneven base.  More snow and grooming needed to get to a good status.

Snowkraft Nordic Conditions: Very good. With the frequent sprinkling of new snow we’ve been having, Snowkraft is looking superb. An additional 2-3 inches is expected Friday night, which will be groomed and ready to go first thing Saturday. Saturday in the mid 20’s, Sunday mid teens.

Whitefish Dunes State Park Conditions: Fair to good. Last groomed January 19. A little new snow has most areas fully covered and track is mostly good to excellent with only occasional thin spots. More new snow in forecast so conditions should be excellent for the Candlelight Ski this Saturday, Jan 29. Come and enjoy.

Weekly Cross Country Ski Report brought to you by Door County Silent Sports Alliance.