About Bearskin

Since 1925, Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail has been one of Minnesota's favorite wilderness resort destinations. The McCloughan family has owned Bearskin since 2007.

3.17.2022 Spring Ski Conditions

After a long winter with no melting ever, deeply cold temperatures, and massive amounts of snow that needed to be groomed almost every day, we finally developed “spring skiing conditions” over the past couple days.

Don’t worry, our snow won’t disappear for a long time. Bob and Kaitlin were just out on the trails and they report “some of the nicest classic skiing we’ve had all year.” (Not good skate skiing at these temps, of course).

Molly reports it’s “good.”

We probably have more snow coming, and more than likely it will get cold again. We still have more snow than we know what to do with. So skiing has morphed into slightly different skiing this week, but winter is surely not over yet.

2.12.2022 Snow, groom, snow, groom, snow groom…

The endless cycle of snow, followed by grooming with the Pisten Bully, followed by more snow, has continued. Last week the groomers were out almost every day. We’ve received about 70 inches of snow so far this year. We’ve had no warm temperatures, so every snowflake we’ve ever received is still out there on the trails.

We’re not posting trail report blogs much now because basically, nothing changes. We haven’t had ice or rain or any peculiar weather patterns that affected the trails. The groomers always go out early the next morning every time it snows, unless we are still in the middle of the snowstorm. Visitors often call to ask, “Will you be going out to groom today?” Most of the time the answer is yes, we’ve been out since 5:30 AM and we are back. We take trail grooming very seriously here.

The new February race segments for the Bearskin Virtual Nordic Race series are posted on the web site now. Check it out here.

1.22.2022 More new snow, everything groomed again

It snowed again overnight, adding an additional 1.5 inches to our already substantial snow base. Everything was groomed this morning, including the BWCA section. It’s been quite windy, so you can anticipate that the lake trail tracks disappeared soon after they were groomed. They will get groomed again this week.

At this point we’ve had around 60 inches of snow this season, considerably more than we had during the entire winter last ski season.

The forecast for the upcoming week looks like a classic January — pretty darn cold, but getting better. Sunny days are forecast and we should get a break from the almost daily snow. The Pisten Bully can have a break this week!

If you will be skiing this week, don’t forget to sign up for the Bearskin Virtual Nordic Races here: https://bearskinnordicseries.com/ Winners for December/January will be announced soon and then a new race course will be posted. It’s strictly for fun, so give it a try. (Note that Quinn is listed — that’s just so you have a time to beat. Go get him!)

Poplar Creek Ski Trail 1.22.2022

1.18.2022 More of the same, lots of snow and continuous grooming

We are in the cycle where we get tons of snow, we groom the trails, there are a few great days of skiing, and then we get another big snowstorm. Repeat, repeat. Call to find out where we are in the grooming cycle on any given day, but generally you can trust that the groomers will be out the next morning after every snowfall. It generally takes all day to complete all the trails on both sides. For planning purposes, you can predict that Poplar Creek will usually be the last trail groomed. Bob and Quinn on our side and Ruth and Zach across Flour Lake try to get all thee central sections done first. Then usually we do Bear Cub and eventually Poplar Creek, when everything else is done.

If you love to race, the Bearskin Virtual Nordic Ski Series is back again for 2022. After all, if we are stuck indefinitely in a pandemic then we might as well keep doing the few fun things that came out of the Covid-era. Sign up on the website. You’ll need a GPS device and a Strava account to track your race time. Call Quinn or talk to him at the front desk if you need help figuring this out. https://bearskinnordicseries.com/

1.9.2022 Finally, first grooming update of 2022

So it snowed, and snowed, and snowed. The groomers have been going out almost daily to redo the trails. Last year we had a winter where we received a lot of snow early in the season–and then it rarely ever snowed again. We had enough snow to have a good ski base, but without fresh snowfalls the base became harder and icier. Maintaining the trails became quite challenging. 2022 is shaping up to be a much different winter. All trails are in great shape.

We’ve had an extremely cold first week of January. Conventional weather wisdom has always been that early January is brutally cold, but during the last 10 years that has not usually been true. This past week, however, was wickedly cold, as well as windy. Newly groomed trails were often blowing over soon after the groomers went through. In better news, we have a warm-up coming next week that will make it easier to appreciate the good ski conditions. Not dramatically warm, but definitely an improvement.

We will continue to groom whenever there is a new snowfall.

The Main Lodge building is still open to the public 7:30 AM to 6 PM to buy trail passes and to warm up. We are requiring masks in order to be inside the Main Lodge building, and people have been fabulous about doing this. We worried that we would need to close the building because people wouldn’t follow directions, but we haven’t seen any of that. We do have simple masks at the front desk if you forget yours, so just ask. We want to make it easy for you to help us stay open.

12.27.2021 Great skiing for the holiday week

We were seriously pummeled with fresh snow over the past two days. It’s all been groomed and conditions are excellent. we will need a few passes to create a very firm skate deck again, but everything is looking good. It’s beautiful on the trails, with snow coating all the pine boughs like a fantasy winter scenario.

There was a “mud pit,” as Quinn called it, on Poplar Creek until this snowfall. He thinks he won the battle this time.

Snowmobilers already destroyed the Bear Cub grooming. It’s a little early for this nonsense to start. The “I have no idea where I am” excuse means nothing to us. We will report snowmobilers who wreck our trails to the enforcement officer for the Superior National Forest, and there will be tickets issued. Meanwhile, Quinn will go out and do it all again as soon as he has the time.

If you visit us to ski for the day, please be aware that due to the new omicron surge, a mask is required in order to enter the Main Lodge. Both Bearskin and Golden Eagle hoped to have our lodge buildings open this winter. Nobody loved last winter’s blue porta-potties in -20 degree weather. But for the safety of the people we employ, our lodges will need to close the main buildings if the masking requirements aren’t observed. We’re happy to give you a mask if you need one, and appreciate your help with this so much. This is going to be a beautiful winter season here this year, if only we can manage to stay safe and open!

12.21.2021 A tale of ever-changing trails

Bearskin and the Central Gunflint Ski Trail had fantastic early-season skiing after our 22-inch snowfall. Then we had the state-wide big melt, and our trails took a big hit. We still had snow and skiers were out there every day, but conditions were just OK, at best. Bob, Quinn and Collin shoveled snow over some bare sections, kept grooming and cleaning up areas, and made it work. Skiers told us that we had the only skiing left in the state on natural snow, which could have been true.

A cool thing about our Central Gunflint Trail location is that it snows here ALL the time in winter. We often build our snow base up by adding a few inches at a time, every day. That’s what we have going on now — a little snow falling day-in, day-out. Today we had a nice snowfall that should finally give the groomers a substantial amount of snow to work with again. The groomers are going out tonight and Wednesday morning, so soon our trails should be back to “better than OK.” We will start posting regular trail reports again, now that we will have some real grooming news.

12.06.2021 We’re skiing!

The ski season has officially begun on the Central Gunflint Trail. More than 20 inches of fresh powdery snow came down yesterday and last night. Never have we gone from zero to groomed trails so quickly!

Quinn went out early with the Pisten Bully groomer and did Summer Home, Campground, and Upper and Lower Beaver Dam Trails. He did many passes on Campground and Summer Home, and felt that those trails firmed up nicely for a first grooming. The Beaver Dam Trails are a bit softer, he reports, but they will firm up tonight as it gets much colder. He says there is just a little stubble on one troublesome grassy spot on Beaver Dam, but overall the first trails groomed up nicely. Golden Eagle has also been out with their Pisten Bully today, so we will report back on which trails they were able to groom.

Temperatures are dropping dramatically today and we now have high winds. The snow will probably be shifting around on the trails. We will be grooming every day, so we will keep you posted as more trails become available. It’s a great start to the season.

Ski passes are now available to buy at both Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle. The Central Gunflint Trail system is rated as one of the best cross country ski trail systems in the US, featuring 77+ K of expertly groomed skate and classic trails through the deep woods of the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. It’s a unique ski experience unlike any other cross country ski trail system in Minnesota. Season, daily, and half-day passes are can be purchased at either lodge. See you on the trails!

11.28.2021: Almost ski season!

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting the beginning of skiing on the Central Gunflint Trail system, there are hopeful signs that winter is on the way.

Our trails have been mowed and cleared for quite some time. During the past few years we had somewhat skiable snow in October and early November. This year we’ve just been waiting, waiting, waiting — but now it’s starting to snow.

We get some amazingly huge snowfalls in our location at Bearskin. Mid-Trail is in the snowy sweet spot for the area. But honestly, the way we actually accumulate snow up here is by a little bit of snow falling constantly.That’s what it’s been doing this week. Every time we look out the window, it’s snowing lightly. Eventually, it adds up.

We’ll see what happens this week, but you can probably get your skis out and be ready to hit the trails again in the near future.

3.28.2021 Last snow, last grooming — for real

Grooming with the Pisten Bully on Summer Home Road early this morning, Sunday, March 28. Final grooming for the season.

It snowed again yesterday and because Bearskin is full, we decided to groom the trails one more time. Bob was quite happy with how it turned out. He groomed Summer Home and Campground Ski Trails, so we have about 6 miles of newly groomed spring skiing. As usual for this time of year, your best skiing will be very early in the morning before the snow softens from the warming temperatures.

Next week’s forecast is fairly warm and non-stop sunny, so the strong March sunshine will probably be the demise of this new snow. If you are a guest or season pass holder, you are welcome to continue to use the trails for as long as they last. Forewarning to season-pass day-skiers: the blue porta-potties that got us through this weird winter are scheduled to be picked up soon. Plan accordingly, as there is no other open restroom on the trail.

We want to thank our guests, season pass holders, and day-ski visitors for working together so well to get us through the Covid-19 ski season. We know it was an inconvenience to have the Main Lodge mostly closed, but people were fabulous about it. Those blue porta-potties weren’t anyone’s idea of a good time, especially during the cold snap in February, yet most visitors were very understanding of the situation. We are grateful to you. Our goal was to get our staff through the season without anyone becoming sick, and that goal was accomplished. Thank you! We look forward to having the lodge open, a cozy fire in the lodge fireplace, our little bathrooms open and available, and a more normal ski season next year. See you then!