Up North Blog

Polar Vortex: The Winter Storm in Northern Michigan

The polar vortex has hit northern Michigan today. It is three degrees today, with a brutal wind chill that brought down the temperature to -20. My cousin Andrew Moore and our Digital Manager, Andrew Pritchard joined me this morning in documenting the beauty of this ferocious winter storm.

I was dared to kite ski by the two Andrews.  Here I am heading onto Little Glen Lake at the DNR boat launch.


That kite is 12 feet wide and bright red, but looks like a postage stamp in this blizzard.


In one more second, I had disappeared into the white oblivion.


We headed to Lake Michigan next.  Here we are coming up on two snow plow drivers sitting by the Cannery taking a lunch break.  They were the only people we saw out in our two hour polar vortex exploration.


Beyond the snow drift and the wind blown beach are wood pylons from the old Glen Haven Pier.  They are like little thermometers saying 3 degrees with a wind chill of -20!



The Cannery in all it’s finery.


We headed up to Sleeping Bear Point next.  To get there, we had a 10 minute hike through thick cedars, scotch pine, and balsam fir.



These woods were our favorite part of the morning.  They were so beautiful and snug and serene.


So many photos taken of winter, especially on the nightly news, are ugly and brutal and full of mishap.  But these storms can be so beautiful!


Look at how skillfully Jack Frost painted the snow on these scotch pine needles.



Here is a video of the wind blown beach off Sleeping Bear Point. The wind was just blasting off of Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan is 39 degrees.


These waves build the ice by laying a layer of ice with each freezing splash.  But those same pummeling waves break the ice mound into heavy sand filled icebergs that barely float.


There were lots of chilly ice spouts spraying water.  Over the days, with the right conditions these shoreline geysers can grow to 10 feet high.



The sun peeked out at us through the clouds and snowflakes.


A few days ago, our Digital Manager, Andrew Pritchard was surfing in this exact spot with a few friends. Professional Photographer, Paul May took this photo of him climbing up on the ice bank.

1534783_10152222915724574_290240235_o(Photo: Paul May)

Paul took this photo of Beth Price taking more photos of the surfers high up on a very windblown dune.

1487967_10202159005571032_883331173_o(Photo: Paul May)

Here is one of the telephoto shots Beth took — It’s of Keenan May.  You can barely see him in the waves.

1517570_409027772563041_768834623_n(Photo: Beth Price Photography)

And they say you can’t surf on a lake!

68868_409027802563038_797610659_n(Photo: Beth Price Photography)

Everytime I ask these surfers how warm they were, they say, “toasty!”  They were surfing for 2 hours.

1488292_409027679229717_1016228570_n(Photo: Beth Price Photography)

Here is a video of me showing Andrew that there are other ways to have fun out on the lake’s in winter. He captured me falling a few times, but I bet I fell a lot less than he did on his surfboard.

We hope you’re weathering the polar vortex well. If the weather’s too unpleasant where you are, come up to the Republic for the winter. As you can see, it’s beautiful!

Special thanks to Beth Price and Paul May for allowing us to use their photos. Both these photographers capture exceptional images of the magnificence that is Northern Michigan. We strongly recommend you follow them on Facebook or visit their websites.

Beth Price: BethPricePhotography.com or Facebook.com/BethPricePhotography

Paul May: Facebook.com/GlenArbor