Frozen Lake Superior? Not Really.

March 4, 2014

Lake SuperiorWe have gorgeous ice formations AND open water.

If you’ve spent any time on our magnificent North Shore of Lake Superior, it’s likely that the big lake’s many moods and natural phenomena have captured your attention. We never get tired of watching the world’s largest and greatest lake, especially along the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts’ shorelines.

One of our favorite winter phenomena is the thick Lake Superior ice formations that come our way — usually in February and early March. This year they started particularly early due to the cold and they are extremely fun to watch change on a daily basis.

In Minnesota, it’s typical for smaller inland lakes to freeze over in the Winter. But due to her sheer size, depth and temperature, Lake Superior rarely freezes over completely. (In fact, records from the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth indicate the last complete ice over of Lake Superior happened in 1996.) However, a February 8th article in the Star Tribune reported that for the first time since 1996 Lake Superior is nearing ice over.

But that’s not true today in the backyard of Bluefin Bay, Surfside, and Temperance Landing. We’re experience the amazing natural phenomena of ice chards – large, large chunks of ice forming along the shoreline and out into the lake and crashing up against each other and the shore as the wind direction and speed change. Sometimes they form sharp chards, sometimes tall columns or interesting animal like formation.

This is truly one the coolest and most beautiful natural wonders. Our winter guests love it and comment about it to us all of the time. Currently, Bluefin bay is frozen over out about 400 feet and then the ice chards are formed. This morning we see open Lake Superior about 450 feet out. Some years the ice chards are blown right up against our shoreline and while it is a gorgeous thing to see and hear (the ice makes a loud crashing noise as it moves) – we warn our guests that it is NOT safe to be out walking on or hanging on the ice near the resorts. It is a phenomena best observed from the safety of your condo or the shore.

Here are some photos of the current ice formations on Lake Superior taken this week at Bluefin Bay and at Surfside on Lake Superior.

If you have photos of the ice on Lake Superior to share. Or a story to tell about watching the ice formations on our big lake, we’d love to hear/see them.