Has anyone kited on the ice on Houghton Lake, right in the middle of Michigan's lower peninsula? It looks frozen over right now on the satellite images, and its close enough for a good weekend trip for me.
The ice there might be a bit sketchy right now. The iceboat fleet is watching conditions on a daily basis and I have not heard anyone give a green light for Houghton in the past few days - and these guys are chomping at the bit. Houghton had excellent ice a few weeks ago but there wasn't much snow on it. We are hovering around the freezing point the last few days and the ice was wrecked in many places last week by the mild temperatures....so it's back to square 1 in a lot of places. It has just gone below freezing again this morning and is supposed to remain cold for several days, so hopefully the ice will grow quickly. Ideally it will remain cold for a few days and then get a little snow. You can also monitor the forecasts e.g. http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.ph ... 0146484375
Houghton sits in one of the "cold spots" of Michigan so it's one of the first big lakes to freeze over. Once the ice is good and the snow falls you might see a lot of snowmobiles out on it...trashing the snow a bit. There may be some lakes with good ice and more snow a little further north. If you're going to drive as far as Houghton it's not that much farther to go to St. Ignace to find better conditions. But in general it has been a very mild winter here - less snow and ice than last winter - which was already shocking.
You might also try contacting some of the local hotels or fishing shops up there and see if they know what to expect. I am sure they all have a big interest in it for their commerce. If the ice fisherman are out you can make a "reasonable" assumption that the ice is good enough for kiting...but you still need to CHECK THE ICE yourself or know you are getting info from a reliable source. A few people died 2 weeks ago when they went thru in seperate incidents around MI (an iceboater and a 2 fisherman)...so be aware and be prepared.
All I know is I used smash kids from Houghton Lake back in my school yard days wrestling in Mi. How is the kiting on the lake in the summer. I'm planning on visiting this summer going to bring my gear and try some fresh water for a change.
This message from a few days ago. I am on the mailing list and have not gotten any news/updates since the message below.
Sent: Sunday, January 13, 2013 12:09 PM Subject: Houghton Lake Update.
Ice Scouts have reported that Houghton Lake is currently unsafe due to drain holes. They expect it to be better than before later this week as the cracks and heaves are healed. They will continue their search further North today.
I was out on a local lake last week that had no snow but the ice was super smooth and soft enough to have a nice little bite to it. I was doing 35 kts with skis and an 8m kite in about 8-12 kts of wind. A few days before that it was blowing 20-25 kts and probably doing 45+ with a 5m kite...zero resistance and insane apparent wind angles. Happiness is having sharp edges.
Hought on lake was excellent for me last weekend. It was just me and my friend Alex.
Friday: Black ice with thin snow drifts, light wind in the morning. The wind was barely enough to get the kite flying, but when the ice is smooth, thats all you need to get going nice and even get air. Warm day,and it started to rain lightly, so we quit early.
Saturday: Got really cold during the night, and the rain froze onto the ice, producing a bumpy surface. Still good for me, especially with the very strong winds. 8M kite and good speed. My top speed for the day: 46.6 mph.
Sunday: Same as Saturday. Similar wind direction.
The best place to launch was a spot on the Northeast shore labelled on Google maps as a public fishing access. Sunday we were at a place onn the South shore, though it was also being used by a winter carnival. (I never expected to see camels at a petting zoo in the dead of winter, OUTSIDE, with single digit F temperatures!)
SaulOhio wrote: Where is the Tawas crowd? Where are all the people I saw at the Traverse City kite rally a couple years ago?
most of the tawas crowd are back in royal oak working the day job, houghton is like a 2.5 hour drive from the metro area and there are plenty of smaller lakes here. Another problem is that houghton is not west enough not to get that thick lake effect snow so it's not always that nice. traverse city is closer to houghton but they have a hundred other options that are a lot closer. Nobody lives there, that's basically what is up. Why am I going to travel to Houghton when I can get out of bed and walk down the slope to my own lake, and then walk back up the hill for lunch? It's an awesome lake but is it worth the road trip that's the question. mite road trip houghton this weekend if this snow doesn't firm up, awful slushy in SE MI