Photo by George Pastorino
Trails are fantastic. The clear skies, beautiful sunny days, and ideal ski temperatures have made day skiers and our guests very happy. It couldn’t be nicer winter weather.
We will do it all again tomorrow. Come on up. Soup and chili are cooking in the lodge, the espresso machine is brewing, hot chocolate is ready to go, and wine and beer are available all day.
The folks at Golden Eagle Lodge, our partner on the Central Gunflint Trail system, just did some snow measuring. Here’s their report:
- New Snow Last 7 days: 6.25”
- Trail Base, Staked: Average 12 – 14″
- Snow in Woods, Staked: Average 25 – 27”
- Surface Conditions: Fresh groomed snow
- Last grooming day: 2-16-19
- Total season snowfall: 83.78”
- Comments: Snow accumulation has broken 80 inches on the year now! All ski trails are in excellent shape, requiring a lot of extra grooming this year to keep up with all the 2-inch snowfalls – a good problem to have! All trails were groomed again yesterday (Feb 15) and the groomers are back out again this morning to freshen things back up. Temperatures look very comfortable this weekend and into next week with most days in the mid-teens. Excellent skiing weather and trail conditions right now!
Here’s our weather forecast for the coming week:
The rest of the week looks like the pattern of pleasant days will continue. Consider making a last minute plan to enjoy our ideal conditions. Availability is a bit limited from now through March 10, but call our front desk and we will work with you to find your perfect stay. We are transitioning to a new provider for our online reservations and the stop-gap system in place for the next few days is mediocre. Give us a call for the fastest assistance during this transition time.
We’ve had more than 80 inches of snow so far this winter, and as we write this the snow is pouring out of the sky again. Everything will be groomed during the day on Friday, 2/15. The skiing has been fantastic. Our regular skiers are saying this is the greatest skiing they’ve experienced in many years!
Ski passes for the Central Gunflint Trail System will be available at both Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle Lodge all weekend. If you are driving up to ski for the day, we encourage you to come early and make a day of it. We offer soup, chili, hot chocolate and espresso, as well as wine and beer so if you come early we have everything you’ll need to make a day of it here. Settle down by the fire in between ski adventures and enjoy the lodge.
If you will be coming after lunch for half day skiing, we encourage you to pass Bearskin by and head a little farther up the road to Golden Eagle. We share the same trails, and you will get the same trail experience by starting at either place. Bearskin’s parking lot tends to get nuttily over-crowded on long weekends; the situation has not been improved by the large snow piles consuming some of the parking areas. Ski over to Bearskin and have a glass of wine by our fire — you’ll avoid all the parking drama here.
If you drive up to ski, you may be amazed at the amount of snow we have piled up on the sides of the roads. Roads are very, very narrow now. There will be many snowmobiles up here for events on this long weekend. Drive carefully and slowly down the side roads–there’s not enough room in some spots for two vehicles to easily pass. Plan for it and it won’t take you by surprise.
No big news from here. We had a dramatic cold snap and a little more snow, but regular grooming continued and the trails are in excellent condition for both classic and skate skiing.
Here are the latest snow measurements of the Central Gunflint Trail system from Golden Eagle:
New Snow Last 7 days: 1-3/8”
Trail Base, Staked: Average 13 – 14”
Snow in Woods, Staked: Average 23 – 25”
Surface Conditions: Fresh groomed snow
Total season snowfall: 65.40”
We’ll have hot soup and chili, espresso and hot chocolate, and wine and beer in the Main Lodge tomorrow. Stop in to warm up!
Central Gunflint Ski Passes are free to all Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle Lodge guests. If you are staying elsewhere, you are welcome to come and ski here on Minnesota’s best cross-country ski trails. Purchase your pass at either Lodge.
Photo by Bill Lundberg
We’re in that desirable winter cycle now where we have more than enough snow. The groomers head out whenever our trails need to be freshened up, and not much is changing. Ski conditions are fantastic. More than 60 inches of snow has fallen so far his winter in the mid-trail area. It’s not going anywhere soon. As usual, neither Grand Marais nor the end of the Trail have this much snow, but the central Gunflint Trail area seems to be a magic spot for snow accumulation.
Groomers were out on all the trails on Thursday and Friday. Because of the weight of the heavy snow, the lakes started to “slush up.” In the past week much of that slush has frozen hard, but there are still pockets in places. Our ski and snowshoe trails are good, but for people who are coming up to walk on the local lakes for winter camping or ice fishing you should keep a watchful eye out for slush.
Our long-time guests are saying this is the best skiing they’ve had in years. A recent review from skier Bill Lundberg sums up current conditions: “We had to go back for a second day in a row to the Central Gunflint trails! The conditions are just too good to pass up! This time we started at Bearskin, and skied the north-south loop to Beaver Dam and the Ridges. It was perfection again for both skate and classic. It’s hard to head back home the Cities after experiencing these conditions! Many thanks to the excellent groomers!”
Trail tickets are available at both Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle. We sell season passes, 3-day passes, full day passes, and afternoon passes for after 1 PM. For many people the coming weekend is a 3-day holiday, so expect to experience some parking problems if you start at Bearskin after about 11:30 AM. We recommend that skiers who are arriving later should drive a little farther to start on the north side of the trail system at Golden Eagle, as their parking lot is generally less busy. Bearskin will have soup and chili warm and ready, hot chocolate and espresso ready to serve, and wine or beer available to enjoy in front of the fireplace. Make a day of it at Bearskin. Or stay even longer, and enjoy a delicious meal at our restaurant on Saturday evening — we still have a few reservations available. Check out the great menu here.
In most years, Bearskin accumulates snow bit by bit. We may not always get the giant dump of snow, but we usually get a little almost every day, gradually accumulating a great trail base. In some ways the slow accumulation creates the best trails — if we groom over two new inches of snow every few days, the base gets extremely compacted.
This year is different. Our snow is coming in giant masses. We received another 6 inches of wet snow on Sunday night, which must bring us pretty close to 60 inches so far this winter. Groomers have been out, and mostly they report “LOTS of snow.”
People from the Twin Cities have been calling to ask about hiking conditions, because they’ve been living in spring temps and can’t imagine that it’s totally different up here. Hiking is only perfect now if you like hiking in snow up to your kneecaps. It’s snowshoe weather. Callers also want to know if there is much chance of our snow melting soon. Do not devote much mental energy to this concern. 🙂 We have way too much snow for it to make a quick getaway.
The Christmas vacation rush is over, so we finally have a few minutes to post. Wow, do we have snow!
In the last 7 days, we have received more than 25 inches of new snow. So far this season we have received 51 inches of snow. To put this is perspective, last year at this time we had just a bit over 30 inches, and that was a perfectly fine amount. Our trees are coated with a frosting of glittery white snow. It’s a winter wonderland out there — you should come up to enjoy it.
The forecast for the next 10 days is quite mild, not like a typical January at all.
In addition, if you are here this weekend you can stop in at Trail Center to experience a dog sled race, the Gunflint Mail Run, on January 5th & 6th. High excitement! More info here.
We have a few openings this coming weekend, as well as in the following weekend. After that, there are relatively few available weekend spots until March.
On many weekends one or more of the beautiful, luxury log cabins are still open. Skiers tend to gravitate to the less expensive cabins first, but the big log cabins have a rate that is based on 4 people in the winter — sometimes if you have two couples or a group of friends, you can stay in the luxury cabins with those gorgeous stone fireplaces for a per- person rate that is very affordable. Of course, your ski passes for the Central Gunflint Trail System are included with your cabin rental. Come on up and experience an old-school, real winter again.
It snowed and snowed. Not giant fluffy flakes, just endless hours of steady snowfall. We started with about 12 inches of snow on the ground. It looks like we added another 15 – 20 inches, depending on where you are.
Needless to say, we are grooming. Also needless to say, it’s probably going to take all day, with residual grooming continuing over the next few days.
This is fabulous news for the rest of the ski season. But for today, if you come to ski please anticipate that trails will be a “work in progress” and that the parking lot area is more limited than usual because of snow piles. Even with our state-of-the-art Pisten Bully groomer, after this much snow it will take some time for the newly groomed trails to harden up. Skiing will be better on Saturday, even though it is supposed to be colder.
Ski trail passes are $18 for the full day, $12 after 1 PM, and can be purchased at both Bearskin and Golden Eagle. Parking is often easier at Golden Eagle. Over the next couple days we can anticipate that the Bearskin parking lot will be full well before noon. We suggest coming early and making a day of it. Enjoy hot chocolate, a latte, or soup and chili in the lodge and don’t worry about trying to cram your car into some tiny leftover, edge-of-the-road space in early afternoon.
If you do come after the parking lot is full, please head up to Golden Eagle. We ask that you please not block our driveways and ski trails, and do not park in precarious places; other drivers don’t all have fantastic winter driving skills to manipulate their vehicle around your car. Thank you for your help in this matter!
Don’t be dismayed by the lack of snow you’re seeing almost everywhere in Minnesota — we have snow and we’re skiing on the Central Gunflint Trail System!
Our ski season started early here, with our first trails opening in early November. That early snow gave us a great start, but then it took quite a bit longer before enough additional snow accumulated to cover the stubble and big boulders on the many miles of trails in the deep woods.
As of December 21, almost all the trails are now groomed, tracked, and open. There’s still a little stubble in a few spots, but we’re now in our typical Christmas weather pattern of getting fresh snow almost every day. The trails will just get better and better.
Poplar Creek Trail is still closed, as is often the case at this point in the season, due to open water in a few places. Also, the small BWCAW section of the Logging Camp loop, which has to be groomed with different equipment, won’t be open until we get more snow. If we get the predicted snow in the next few days, that trail should open up in the near future.
All guests at Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle Lodge receive complimentary ski trail passes for our ski system. If you are staying elsewhere, you are welcome to ski on the Central Gunflint Trail System when you purchase a pass at either Bearskin or Golden Eagle.
It’s looking like we will have a Christmas break with almost no snow along the North Shore, which often means skiers may be driving up the Gunflint to find the snow. With that in mind, we encourage those of you who are staying elsewhere to start your ski day in the morning. Buy lunch, have some hot cocoa or an espresso, make a day of it. Historically, when there is no snow elsewhere on the North Shore, our parking lots are often jam-packed full after lunch. You won’t care about that problem at all if you’re here before the rush starts. (And you really won’t care if you’re just walking back to your cozy Bearskin cabin! It’s so nice to be right here.)
On a personal level, we weren’t ready for snow yet. We were longing for beautiful autumn days, which we never really had this fall. But our cool fall suddenly turned into an early winter, so we revved up the Pisten Bully and groomed the Summer Home Road ski trail.
Local skiers have been out almost every day and the trail is surprisingly good for the middle of November, a time when we are normally hiking, not skiing. Summer Home has been groomed twice. It’s nothing like it will be after we get a few more normal snowfalls, but if you want to get out and try early skiing, we’re open for you.
Season passes for the Central Gunflint Trail system are available at both Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle. At this point we aren’t charging for daily passes yet, but stop in at Bearskin and sign a ski waiver if you’ll be out on the trail.
Given how cold it has been for the entire fall, we would be very surprised if this snow melts. Winter is here.