We are definitely nearing the end of this ski season, but it’s not over yet. We’re on a run of warm weather — well, warm for us in March. If you’ve been enjoying 70 degrees in the Twin Cities, you will only be mildly impressed with our 48 degree temps. Our deep snowpack is taking a bit of a hit, and the lakes and the side roads are a mushy mess. But the ski trails have stayed surprisingly nice.
Bob went out skiing this afternoon to check out the conditions for himself. He said, “I was amazed at how good it still was.” The classic tracks were still firm, fast, and not icy at 48 degrees. He found the skate deck to be firm; the base is still about 12 inches. Bob went skiing in just a t-shirt and after awhile he was too warm, which is much more fun than the usual winter complaint of being too cold.
Guests have been reporting fairly good ski conditions, and they really enjoy skiing in minimal layers. They are also coming back with red, sun-burned noses, something that rarely happens on a sunny January day. Moose and people have walked in a few tracks, but in these temperatures we can’t groom those footprints out without doing more harm than good. Chalk it up to just one more weird thing that happens when it starts to become spring.
So, of course, the big question is: how much longer will skiing be possible? If we would receive a big dump of new snow, which is certainly feasible in March, we could have good trails for a long time yet. It is not unusual for us to groom in early April. But as of now the forecast is not promising lower temps or fresh snow. The only answer is: we’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, you can still get a fun run of warm weather skiing within the next week. Bring sunscreen and drive up in your best 4-wheel drive vehicle — the ice on East Bearskin Road from the Gunflint Trail is melting in a pretty bizarre, chunky way so there are lots of lumps and bumps.
The current 3/10 report from Golden Eagle Lodge:
- New Snow Last 24 hours: 1/8”
- New Snow Last 7 days: 1.25”
- Trail Base, Staked: Average 12 – 15 inches
- Snow in Woods, Staked: Average 18”
- Groomed with classic track: 70 K
- Groomed with skate lane: 56 K
- Surface Conditions: Tilled snow
- Last grooming day: 3-10-16
- Total snowfall since Nov. 1: 79.21”
Comments: Cross country skiing isn’t over yet on the Central Gunflint Trail System! We are definitely experiencing spring conditions, ergo, trails are/will be groomed with a tiller for the remainder of the season, but with a foot of trail base out there still, the ski trails will remain in good shape for some time yet. It is important to note that there is a time window for grooming this time of year, when it is not too warm and not too icy, so don’t expect every trail be groomed on any given day.
This time of year, forecasting accurate trail conditions becomes a day-by-day endeavor, so if you’re reading this report a few days after it came out, we recommend calling Golden Eagle Lodge or Bearskin Lodge to get an update on what the current conditions are. It’s hard to say what the weather will do in the coming days, it is March after all. There are a couple things you can count on in the upcoming week though: the weather will be warmer, the days longer, and there will still be skiing!
For the most up to date grooming information, as well as trail conditions specific to each trail, please contact Bearskin Lodge (1-800-338-4170) or Golden Eagle Lodge (1-800-346-2203).CentralGunflintSkiPass required.