Yes, we have snow! Ski conditions are quite good, but as you drive up to our area you are probably going to wonder whether that’s a true story. Grand Marais and most of the North Shore had rain instead of snow. Sadly, right now it looks a bit like April there. Don’t worry! You’ll see the snow as you start to gain altitude going up the Gunflint Trail. You’re going to love the skiing here.
Now for a little advice. In 2012 we experienced exactly these ski conditions during the week after Christmas, which is the busiest week of the year, so we know that hundreds of people staying at other snowless resorts will be driving up the trail to ski here. A few suggestions will make this a better experience for you:
- Come to ski early, especially if you plan to rent skis. We found in 2012 that the majority of people decided to walk through the door at 1:00. Not everyone was all that pleased about the line at our front desk to buy ski passes and rent equipment. Come in the morning. There will be fewer people on the trails, conditions will be better, and we’re more likely to still have the equipment you need!
- Remember that when you ski on the Central Gunflint Trail System, you may start your skiing at either Bearskin Lodge or Golden Eagle Lodge. You will see the Bearskin sign first, but you can drive just a little farther up the trail and get your ski pass at Golden Eagle also. We do not have a huge parking lot and we aren’t set up for dozens of additional cars. Spreading out between the two resorts will improve the parking situation.
- Be courteous on the trails, especially if you are skiing in a group. If you are thinking about bringing a high school ski team, it is essential that you contact one of the resorts before you arrive. This is a private system of ski trails, not a public park, and we could choose not to sell ski passes to a large group if it is busy. That isn’t likely to happen, but call us first to arrange your group’s trip. There are guidelines you need to follow if the trails are busy, so we very much want to talk to you before you arrive.
Both resorts sell excellent hot chocolate to warm you up before or after skiing, as well as many other beverages in the lodges. Bearskin has a soup and chili lunch until 3:30 PM each day. Bearskin also offers outstanding reservation dining, with a few openings still available on December 30.
Dreaming of a dog sled ride? Our musher Erik Simula has many openings left for this week. Every morning at 9:30 AM he offers a “Meet the Musher and the Team” session for everyone who is interested. It’s fun and it’s free! Plan your ski trip so you can spend some time learning about dog sledding from one of Minnesota’s most knowledgeable mushers.
Here are the ski conditions by the numbers, as measured by the Baumanns at Golden Eagle:
Central Gunflint Ski Trail Conditions on 12-26-14
- New Snow Last 24 hours: 0”
- New Snow Last 7 days: 3.5”
- Trail Base, Staked: Varies
- Snow in Woods, Staked: Low: 12” / High: 17”
- Groomed with classic tracks: 68.5 K
- Groomed for skating: 51.8 K
- Packed Only: 1.5 K
- Surface Conditions: Fresh packed powder
- Last grooming day: 12-25-14
- Snowshoe trails : Open
- Total snowfall since Nov. 1: 39.25”
- Comments: There is snow on the Gunflint Trail! All our ski trails have been freshly groomed as of December 24th and 25th. Conditions are very good to excellent on the majority of the trail system. Trails are groomed for skate and classic skiing. Please contact Golden Eagle Lodge (1-800-346-2203) or Bearskin Lodge (1-800-338-4170) for specific conditions and grooming information on each trail or route. Central Gunflint Ski Pass Required.