Northern Michigan Iceboat Events and News
Welcome to the new home of Northern Michigan Iceboating!!
We will be reporting on and sailing the area lakes near Elk Rapids, Michigan. We will also have surrounding reports from ice scouters in Charlevoix, Boyne City and Traverse City.
Come in, look around and enjoy yourself. As always, Think Ice!
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February 13th, 2014 Elk Is improving, we have 4" of medium density snow over 14" of rock hard ice.
While we wait.....
West Bay, out of Sutton's Bay, is being sailed. The ice ranges from rough to gorgeous, but it's the only game in town. Here is a photo taken today of a very nice spot! They guys had a good time!
January 15th, 2014 We are snowed out for now... that is all :-( January 12th, 2014 We got the boats up and made a couple passes today, but there was just too much shell ice. We didn't want to mess up the surface for later in the week, so we packed it up. I suspect we will be sailing again Wednesday. Mon night, Tues and Tues night should refreeze the surface solid. We will keep you posted. January 11th, 2014 We have still been sailing Elk Lake daily. It was sailed today!
We found 7" of ice with some standing water on it from the melting snow. The snow is not completely gone, but most of it is and the rest should be gone by morning. January 9th, 2014 We have been sailing Elk Lake daily. Enjoy today's video! Thanks, Rob January 5th, 2014
Sailing has started on Elk Lake!!
Several DN's were on it today. Rich also had his KiteWing out there. He did not find anything less than 4".
Come join us :-)
April 5th, 2013
What an amazing day! It was unbelievable!! Yes, we ARE SAILING APRIL 5th!
We will also be sailing again Saturday and if the ice holds...Sunday also! There will be iceboats launching at Spencer Bay and at Whitewater Park! We left at 1pm and the ice was still hard...Some video below and more on Facebook April 2nd, 2013 Lance was just on Elk Lake. It's clear, a little bumpy with LOTS of ice!! He will be sailing it tomorrow if anyone is interested. He is also planning on sailing Friday if all looks good March 16th, 2013
It's late, so just a video from today.
This is just from the earlier part of the day, the best sailing was much later. That footage will come later.
March 15th, 2013 WOW! A great time was had by our entire group! Hundreds of miles were sailed today on Elk Lake.
Everyone came in with huge smiles :-)
There were many Jboats, a couple Arrows, Skeeters and a Skimmer type boat. All sailed fast and with ease. I will be adding video to this page later tonight.
We will of course be doing it again tomorrow. 9am at the Harbor Cafe and then to the ice to sail. Here are two different wind forecasts for tomorrow.
March 14th, 2013 Another great day on the ice and a fantastic dinner after!
The launch for the party is now at White Birch Lodge!
Launch and party all in one place!
There is only 1" of snow in the forecast now and only a *chance* of that. Even if we do get it, with the conditions we have it's not going to hurt our sailing. Can't wait to see everyone there. Already a lot of boats on the ice and it's only Thursday! We will be at the Harbor Cafe each morning for breakfast before sailing. Join us! March 13th, 2013 This is what Spencer Bay looked like when we arrived. Almost completely snow free with a pebbly surface. Winds were so high that the percentage of clear changed almost by the moment, but as you can see, it's good easily sailable ice.
March 10th, 2013
Elk Lake is looking great for the party (16th and 17th). The snow is gone and there is a coating of water on the surface that should refreeze into some nice ice.
The launch for the party will NOT be at our house and neither will the party itself. Our house is being shown several times this weekend, so please do not acess the property without our permission.
The launch will be at Third St (which some of you have used many times) then you need to sail south just past our house and around the point to your right (west). Stay off the shoreline near the point. You will come to White Birch Lodge on Spencer Bay. This is where we will be gathered. Don't sail past White Birch Lodge or you will be heading towards the river. The launch at White Birch Lodge is private property, so unless you are renting one of their condos, please use the Third St Launch. It is very close.
Below is a photo of the ice and a map.
March 5th, 2013 IMPORTANT UPDATE: Our 2013 Elk Lake Iceboat Party is rescheduled for March 16th and 17th. We have a great forecast for the week before. There are a couple days just warm enough to give us a great snow free surface. Then the weekend forecast looks great for the surface to be hard and smooth. Make plans to head to Elk Rapids the 16th and 17th! It's going to happen!!!. The launch and trailer parking won't be at our house, it will likely be at Third St so watch this page and Facebook for updates. March 2nd, 2013 We are currently awaiting the thaw later this week. We have plenty of good hard ice thickness, but with the snow cover we have right now we need 10+ mph of wind to sail. March 9th and 10th we will be holding a mini Elk Lake Iceboat Party. I know it's short notice, but people requested we hold our party. The location will be Elk Lake, but the launch site has not been determined yet. Launching and trailer parking will not be at our house. It will likely be Third St.
The launch on Spencer Bay is private property. While we have permission to be there, it is not a public launch for everyone. Third St is only one block away and very easy access :) Keep your eyes here and on Facebook for info. February 13th, 2013
Another amazing day iceboating Elk Lake. Below is a very cool video from Rob. He was holding the camera in his hand so any pebbly areas were amplified
Also keep your eye on http://www.upnorthlive.com. Megan Moore came out and did interviews and even caught a ride in a sidecar!
February 12th, 2013 GREAT day of sailing today! The ice is in great shape, just pebbly.
Here are a couple photos and an Iphone video. Rob has some great helmet cam video that I may be able to post later tonight..UPDATE...added Rob's video. It really shows what the ice is like!
February 11th, 2013
As of dusk both the main body of Elk Lake and Spencer's Bay are both almost completely clear of snow.
The main body of the lake has had measurements taken ranging anywhere from 5"-9" of ice. One person sailed it on the 5th, the rest of us sailed the bay. A night or two of cold temps and we should be sailing the bay again. The main body of the lake should be rechecked before anyone heads out to sail.
There were some heaves, crackS and ice chunks frozen on top of the ice of the main body, so sail slow over anything before sailing fast! Also, always check the ice for yourself when you arrive! February 5th, 2013 More sailing today!!
Jack had a really good time sailing and did a lot of hiking.
I think everyone got some rides today. Lance even sailed the main body of the lake which had 4-6" of ice on the 3rd.
The snow is getting stiff, but the above freezing temps for the weekend and some sun on the way may help that. Every day there is wind, we will be there!!
February 4th, 2013 Set up and ready to sail. Rob got a short ride today, but the wind ranged from calm to 2-3 mph. So we spent the afternoon setting up and checking ice. The wind forecast tomorrow looks great, so we will be sailing!!
February 3rd, 2013 FINALLY and update:
A VERY knowledgeable long time iceboater and Elk Rapids resident did a thorough ice check of Elk Lake. He walked out 1 mile to the center of the lake in front of our house, plus north and south of our place. He also checked Spencer Bay. He did not find anything on foot thinner than 4" of ice. Spencer Bay had 5"-6". We are chosing Spencer's Bay to sail because there is only 1" of snow there, whereas in front of our house is 2"-3" of light fluffy snow. Right in front of our house there are small ridges, just south is a better plate of ice.
December 25th 2012 Merry Christmas!
I walked on Bass yesterday. It's far to thin to explore and please don't be one of those people who think they know this lake and venture out alone. It is nothing like the surrounding lakes. When Bass has 4" of ice near shore there is often open or skimmed areas out further. Not to mention the two giant slush pits that stay soft until there is at least 6" of ice on most of the lake (usually). It does not freeze any where near uniform. If you have questions, contact us. If we are not sailing it, there is a reason. The last couple years people would show up to sail it, never sailing it before and end up dragging their boat out of a slush pit.
We will keep you updated on the ice status. We have sailed this lake for over two decades. We have been getting light snow for the last 24 hours, hopefully the ice is still thin enough it sinks. The first 15' from the launch is crap, refrozen ice. After the first 15' it looks smooth.
Bass Lake December 24th
First 15' from the launch looks like this
Birch Lake is all open water, but is VERY still and the water is dense and ready
December 19th 2012 Iceboating has unfortunately lost another great one,Jan C Gougeon you will be dearly missed. You can read Ron Sherry's tribute here, it's a must read
December 13th 2012
We have had some light skim on some of the small lakes,
but looking at the forecast it's going to be awhile before there is sailable ice
December 9th 2012 The weather will be turning cold in the not too distant future
November 30th 2012
Iceboating has started in Minnesota. The ice looks amazing for the Great Western Challenge. Check it out at iceboat.org
Unfortunately we have been cold here, but the forecast for Monday is 60+ degrees
November 26th 2012
The weather has turned cold here.
In Northern Michigan this last week we had a storm that dropped from 1" to 15" of snow in the local surrounding areas Here is an iceboat video to get the page started and get you in the mood. I will also be adding content over the next week or two as we wait for the local small lakes to freeze
Map of recent visitors from around the world
Iceboat Elk Lake right out your front door !!
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