Chicago area cross-country parks
The big blizzard just missed Chicago as the heaviest of snow went through Madison, north of Milwaukee, and through northern Indiana. The Chicago area received around 1-3 inches and most places in the area are too icy for good skiing. Heller Nature Center has not opened their cross-country ski trails or rentals as the snow they did receive is too icy. The home office in Springfield, Illinois reports the snow is too icy there as well, so Matthiessen State Park will not be an option.
Camp Sagawau in suburban Lemont only received an inch at the most, so obviously they are out of the picture for rentals, skiing, and lessons. It looks like Illinois is pretty much out except for one location.
Rock Cut State Park in Rockford is reporting good conditions. The concession inside the park rents skis and ice fishing equipment on the weekend. On Sunday they will debut their cross-country ski academy. They are certified to instruct and lessons only cost $20.00 and include ski rentals that last an hour past the lesson.
Southern Wisconsin has similar conditions to the Chicago area. South Kettle Moraine is reporting that all three trail systems need more snow as they have an icy crusty base. North Kettle Moraine, on the other hand received over a foot of heavy wet snow. The snow took down many trees and limbs, but they now have the trails cleared and groomed so conditions are favorable.
Madison, Wisconsin received a decent amount of snow and parks in the area like Blue Mound State Park and Mirror Lake are all reporting good conditions. Access to Black River State Forest was impossible for a couple of days due to the copious amounts of snow that blanketed the area. It took the town of Millston a couple of days to clear the roads that led to the trailheads. Once they did this the park groomed the trails, so they will be open for business this weekend and in great condition.
The area around the Indiana Dunes State Park and National Lakeshore received a lot of lake-effect snow last weekend. Both parks should be great for cross-country skiing.
Warren Dunes is reporting enough snow for skiing. The ranger that answered the phone said so, but he did not elaborate on the conditions (definitely not a skier).
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