By Erin Hassanzadeh

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Some people love the mild weather we’re seeing right now, but others want winter to show up fast.

But even without snow and thick ice, there are still some activities that are open now.

From Cedar Lake to Bde Maka Ska, lakes in the Twin Cities are still deciding between Fall and Winter

For Snowmobilers like Don Wineland, who rides with the Prior Lake snowmobile association,the snow can’t some soon enough.

“I have a collection. I have 30 some snowmobiles in my house here,” said Wineland.

“There’s no snow really in the state anywhere to even ride on the trails without any cold weather. Even on lakes thats not even safe to do that in the farther northern part of Minnesota,” said Wineland.

Trails technically opened on Dec. 1, but riders like Don have a ways to go before they’ll be ready.

“Down here in the southern part of the state we like to see a foot of snow,” said Wineland.

Chuck Ellingson owns a hunting and ice fishing camp in Watson, Minnesota.

“I have personally been out on Thanksgiving before. This year is a little different,” said Ellingson.

The DNR recommends 12-15 inches of ice before you drive a truck on it. Though the website says no ice is 100% safe and recommends checking it regularly as you move around a lake.

MORE: DNR General Ice Thickness Guidelines

The lake Ellingson uses is not quite ready, though he says it’s early and it should freeze enough for him to use it soon.

“There are a few fisherman out there right now. I do hope they’re wearing a life jacket because there is only a few inches of ice,” said Ellingson.

Over at Hyland Hills Ski Area, even if there’s no snow, it’t not a problem.

“The season has been going very well. We’ve been open about 10 days now,” said Kent Kloster, the Ski Operations Supervisor at Hyland Hills Ski Area in Bloomington. As long as it’s cold enough, they can create a winter wonderland.

“The snow making crew have been hard at work overnight when temps are below 27 degrees,” said Kloster.

The chalet isn’t open and you can’t warm up with a cup of cocoa, but it’s a socially distanced way to lean into winter, especially when the weather cooperates.

“People are just excited to be here and I think parents are very excited to get the kids out of the house,” said Kloster.

“This is an escape for a lot of people,” said Ellingson.

“We’re getting everything ready getting the trailer ready getting the snowmobiles ready,” said Wineland.

The ski area says business is down slightly but they will open up the hills seven days a week starting Tuesday.

Afton Alps which is open for pass holders only. Single day lift tickets open on Tuesday, and they are anticipating a busy season.


Erin Hassanzadeh