We may not be out of the woods when it comes to having one last late-season snowstorm, but a sure sign spring actually has sprung has just happened in Minnesota.

And that's the annual Minnesota tradition of declaring 'ice-out'-- the date that the winter ice is gone from one (or several) of the 10,000 Lakes for which the North Star State is famous. And this year, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office officially declared ice-out on one of Minnesota's best-known lakes, Lake Minnetonka (almost two hours northwest of Rochester) in the Twin Cities, on Tuesday, March 30th at 1:13 pm.

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The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources keeps a running tally of just when ice-out happens on all of those 10,000 lakes (actually, it's more like 11,800 lakes, but who's counting?) here in the Bold North on its website. And, as you might guess, ice-out tends to happen earlier for lakes here in the southern part of the state, and a little later up north, generally speaking.

So how are things looking this year? According to this MPR story, ice-out on two of Minnesota's biggest lakes, Lake Minnetonka and White Bear Lake (about an hour and a half north of Rochester), is running about two weeks earlier than the median date of April 14th. (Ice-out on White Bear Lake was actually declared even earlier than on Lake Minnetonka, happening on Monday, March 29th this year, MPR noted.)

Back when I worked in Wisconsin, I lived near Lake Wissota, which is located just east of Chippewa Falls. I’d drive around the big lake every day on my way into the radio stations in Eau Claire, and I was always curious to see when the ice-out would happen.  I apparently wasn’t organized enough to note when it did occur, because I don’t have any official notes, but I was still fond of noticing when the ice was out– because that was a sure sign warmer weather wasn’t too far off.

Speaking of Lake Minnetonka, the properties that dot its various bays and inlets are some of the most expensive in the entire state of Minnesota. So, if you-- like me-- can pretty much only dream of living on that classic lake, keep scrolling to check out the pics of what one Minnetonka mansion (that was sold last year for $8.2 million) look like!

TAKE A TOUR: Incredible Mansion Recently Sold on Lake Minnetonka for $8.2 Million

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