Round two adds 4 inches of snow in Willmar area
WILLMAR — Two rounds of snow in the last few days have provided what the past three months of winter could not: Enough snow for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
Both Sibley State Park and the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center opened their cross country ski trails for the first time this winter, thanks to the snow that fell Thursday and Friday and again on Saturday.
According to the National Weather Service, Willmar officially recorded 4.5 inches of snow Saturday, falling atop 6.4 inches of snow that came Thursday and Friday.
Most communities in the west central area reported similar 4-inch snowfall totals. Cosmos and Lake Lillian saw the largest snow totals in the area with 5.5 inches and 5 inches, respectively. Montevideo and Dawson reported 4 inches, while Bird Island saw 3.8 inches, according to weather service reports.
The Thursday-Friday snowfall made it possible to open ski trails Friday at Sibley State Park in rural New London and Prairie Woods ELC in rural Spicer. Additional snow Saturday provided the opportunity to groom and improve the trails.
Trail conditions at Sibley State Park ranged from good to fair Sunday, according to Jack Nelson, park manager. There is about a 3-inch base on most trails.
"This would be a really good start if it were December,'' he said. The park intends to keep the ski trails open as long as the snow remains.
Nelson said there were a number of people taking advantage of the opportunity to ski, knowing that they will have to enjoy it while they can. The park's sliding hill was seeing activity as well, he added.
The National Weather Service is forecasting high temperatures near or slightly above the freezing point in upcoming days, with no precipitation expected today through Friday. The forecast includes a 20 to 30 percent chance for a mix of rain and snow Saturday and Sunday.