Great Western Challenge is ON!

I am pleased to confirm the Great Western Challenge is ON. Dec 5, 6. & 7 someplace in Minnesota.

At present we're compiling inspection reports from a dozen or so suitable lakes... and assessing where we're taking this party. The Great Western Challenge's Dilemma Open in New Window

Buffalo, Nov 29 2008The range of locations is from Detroit Lakes, MN on US 10 on the Northern end of our range and Buffalo Lake, Buffalo, MN on the Southern End, with several attractive options in the middle.

At this moment, the Alexandria MN area is known to have 3 regatta grade lakes and for now we'll call that the Primary Location,

There's a minor threat of snow on Tuesday night, we're attempting to keep the event on truely big great ice, which we have today, and keep it as close to the people travelling from the East as we can.

If you insist on sailing tomorrow, there's a couple lakes that might like being sailed or looked at.

...The vast majority of these lakes are between 75 and 150 miles from Minnesota Border at Hudson.

It would be helpful if we knew how many people we should be planning for... in terms of housing, this might be a factor in site selection. If you need a room for the event, please email me with your requirements... we can block out rooms.

Next Update: Monday 7:00 on local time


Results from a 460 mile Sunday Drive, and other observations

There was less than an inch of powder snow in the DN strapped to my roof when I left, driving I 94 north out of the Twin Cities, the roads were snow covered and a little greasy. At St Cloud the snow abruptly ended, all the way to Glenwood the roads and fields were dry, although I noticed the fields had a slight whitish tinge near Glenwood.

Lake Minnewaska at Glenwood is well described by the 7 sailors out ripping there. Clearly we can hold a regatta here.

Driving the 15 miles North to Alexandria, Lake Reno is snow covered, appears to be an inch or so. But the fields and roads are all dry, in the Alex Area, the Lakes and Ponds along I 94 appear to be totally Sweet all 20 miles to Ashby...

Pelican Lake appears to be 90-95% Clear of snow, stopping at the public landing along MN 78 there's about 6" of ice, 200 yards from shore I found ~ 1/4" high maximum "drifts" of near styrofoam density snow. You might feel it in a drifter, but beyond that, the snow will not influence runner selections. Clearly we can hold a regatta here.

Fishing Report from Pelican, Ashby: "Our bay (by Indian Mounds) had 6" of solid clear ice. There were 4 perms out with folks driving atvs to & from. I took my portable out to 7' & got one walleye up to the hole, but lost it. When the fish ran & took out line, I watched it through the ice right under me. It was a strange sight. I fished for 2 hours around sunset. I wish I could have stayed out longer as I am sure I would have got a few more bites. I've never ice fished in Nov until this year. It was great to be out again. There were dozens of folks fishing the narrows also. I don't know how the lake froze, so I can't say if the 6" of ice is throughout the lake."

Lake Christina just 2 miles north appears about 80% Clear but walking out from milepost 8 the snow drifts are almost 1" high, part dense, most lighter. She's not quite as perfect as last Sunday when we left her, but still willin. Clearly we could hold a regatta here.

A phone report from a DN Sailor, (From the Ice, Sailing on Sunday) in Ottertail MN reports Rush Lake (Ottertail MN) to be in Excellent Condition, (details are pending). We could probably hold a regatta here.

KA 2 Reported an Inch on the ground and snow still falling with the first round of snow, we've not looked at North Long, but presume it's got some significant snow cover.

A reporter called in from the Detroit Lakes Area, after the Saturday Snowfall, "People are skating all over Detroit Lake". Photos and Details are pending, we could clearly hold a regatta here.

A Sailor emailed in a report after sailing on Lake Jenny hear Hutchinson, MN it's too small, and a little rough...

On the Drive back, Green Lake near Spicer, MN is in the process of Freezing 90% locked in, skim coat is cloudy (snow ice) but the surface appears to be snow free. Depending on temps, we may be able to hold a regatta here.

Drove past Lake Koronis, it's in the same condition as Green Lake, freshly kicked / still some open spots.

Crossed down to highway 12, the fields in this area are totally barren of snow, all the way to about Dassel, MN where the snow line began abruptly again.

I didn't inspect 2800 acre Lake Washington due to lack of light. This Lake was sailed by a "Stand Up Guy" on Tuesday 11/25:
"Lake Washington is smooooth. Just had a great session on the "Freakskate"...One ice fracture on the Western end to watch out for. Bring the blade toys and enjoy" Just 35 Miles from Buffalo this is a very promising site that needs inspection today, we might have a "10" here.

Swede Lake was sailed Sunday by 6 DNs with a heavy dusting of snow over a known sheet, (too small for a regatta) but quite near Buffalo, we suspect Buffalo has seen some snow, it will be inspected today.

Several Ice Checkers will be out at first light this morning seeking additional information.

Clearly we have options.

More Details at tonight's 7:00 posting.

Carpe DN


Green Lake ice

Actually got home yesterday 12/1 with light enough left to see rather large spots open again on Green. Blew open in the wind ... leaving for work before 1st light this morning too.... blowing this morning I can hear....I live on the east side....Paul


object of curiosity - Lake Washington?

always looking for that elusive convenient grade 10 sheet of ice, If somebody finds themselves near Lake Washington near Litchfield today, we'd sure like to know if the snow missed it completetly.

Lake Washington

I will stop at Lake Washington on Tuesday afternoon and at least walk it and shoot a few photos. I also have a distant friend who lives on the lake. I will try to get his number today. Did the 1/2 inch of snow drift on Buffalo on Sunday or did any one sail it?
Inquiring minds want to know. On Sunday morning it was snow covered with the little fluff. A dark wet spot was noticed on the far right shore. The icemaker had sailed it on Saturday in very light wind with minimum thickness ice. BE VERY CAREFUL. The night time temps are going down to 15F, so should finish her off. Thursday and Friday nights temps expected to be around 12F. Daytime below freezing will keep ice.

If Buffalo it didn't drift, it will....

Wednesday is gonna blow. Hard.

Also consider the whopper 3 mph wind forecast for the Buffalo area for Friday and compare to the forecast for Alex at 7 mph and Ashby at 13 mph.

(UPDATE: there is wind in the forecast for Buffalo now)


Sauk Lake, Sauk Center, MN is Grade 10

US 5369 Reports on a Drive By Shooting, that Sauk Lake is a full 10.0 in terms of ice surface. Unfortunately the width of the lake will not allow much of a race course. Encouraging is this lake is 5 miles from Osakis, which will be visually scouted today. Grade 10 ice exists in Minnesota today!

Carpe DN