Thinking winter thoughts

The trail trimming and mowing is now underway on the Central Gunflint Ski Trail system.  The mowed trails are great for hiking, biking, and enjoying autumn activities.  There’s still ample time to make the most of our fall weather here at Bearskin.

But once we start mowing, then mentally it’s “almost winter” for us.  So just to get you into the same mindset, here’s a taste of winter in a new winter video for Bearskin Lodge.  Watch it full screen if you can!  Then call us to make your winter reservation, while your perfect dates are still available.


3.31.2016 Thanks for a great ski season

Well, the time has come  — we are officially calling it the end of the 2015 -2016 ski season. We do still have a considerable amount of snow on the trails and you are welcome to come up to ski or snowshoe. But both resorts decided today that we are now officially done grooming for the season.  With 40 – 50 degree temps each day, there’s not much we can do with the groomer to recreate a nice surface. Time to store the equipment away and reflect on our great luck that during a winter when most of Minnesota was snowless, that once again the Central Gunflint Trail System offered great ski conditions all winter.

Golden Eagle did the final wrap up on the numbers for the season.  Our total snowfall was 93.46 inches — pretty fantastic for a “no snow” year!

  • New Snow Last 24 hours:  0.00”
  • New Snow Last 7 days:  2.00”
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Not measured
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Not measured
  • Surface Conditions:  Melting snow
  • Last grooming day:  3-26-16
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  93.46”

Thanks for being such great guests.  We love our skiers, both our regular winter guests and our frequent day skiers, and we always miss them over the next seasons.  Stop in to say hi!

And don’t forget about our great Fall Work Weekend.  For just $99 plus a few hours of fun trail trimming, you can enjoy Bearskin Lodge in another season. Our skiing guests love seeing the trails during another season, plus it’s fun to ski by a location all winter and think, “I certainly did a great job of trimming here!” Find out more by clicking here.


work weekend collage2

Join us for trail trimming weekend in 2016

3.26.2017 More snow, new grooming

Lodge late March 2016

Just in case you were imagining that it’s not winter at Bearskin Lodge in late March this year…

New snow this morning made it possible to groom again, possibly for the last time this season unless we get a significant new snowfall.  Skiers seemed quite happy with conditions today, and the trails look beautiful.

A few trails are now out of commission for the season, for various reasons. We are no longer grooming the west end of Logging Camp Trail, the BWCA Logging Camp section, North-South link from upper Beaver Dam to Summer Home Road, and Poplar Creek Trail.

Due to the warm weather prior to last week, we are not grooming any lake-crossing trails for the remainder of the season   You can ski on the ice just fine, it’s not unsafe for you;  but the heavy grooming machines are another story. We don’t want a repeat of the infamous Dave Tittle story of putting a groomer through the ice!  The North-South Link trail across Flour Lake has a single lane classic track set by snowmobile to allow for a connection between the north and south halves of the system.

There have been a number of fun animal sightings on the trails in the past week, which is enjoyable for skiers. The moose are very active right now, and appear to love clomping right down the groomed trail.  We’ve also had many reports of foxes and otters along the trail–we like them better because they don’t destroy the grooming quite so much.

So far we’ve received about 92 inches of snow this season, not a record breaking winter by any means, but vastly better than almost anywhere else in the state. We are, indeed, in a magical snow pocket here in the med-Trail area. We still have about 15 inches of snow in the woods and a trail base of around 8 – 10 inches. Temps during the day are getting into the 30’s and even occasionally the 40’s, but our snow doesn’t seem to be disappearing at a very fast rate. Skiing is the best early each day, before the snow gets soft.

Spring conditions can change rapidly. Call us if you’re wondering if it’s a good day to ski.



3.18.2016 Beautiful day, fabulous new snow



Add Bear Cub, Campground, and Summer Home Road to the newly groomed list. )xcart, Beaver Dam, and Ridge Run were done yesterday.  Poplar Creek will not open for remainder of this March due to water problems.

Bring a camera if you come. The heavy snow stuck to the trees, so we have our Christmas card look back again.

Soup, chili, wine, beer, and of course, hot cocoa in the lodge if you come up for the day to ski.  Wish you could stay more than one day? We have a 3 nights for the price of 2 special going on now — ask for it when you call to reserve. We’ve had a lot of “drop everything and drive up to ski” phone calls today. Seems like the novelty of the early spring in the Twin Cities has worn off and people are getting weary of waiting for their grass to turn green!

3.18.2016 bear cub 2

3.18.2016 bear cub 3

3.17.2016 Return of the ski season

3.18.2016 skier Canada LRCL

We really thought that perhaps last weekend would be the season finale to the 2016 winter on the Central Gunflint Ski Trail System. We still had lots of snow, but each day seemed to be getting a little warmer. Skiers were having a great time, as is obvious by this post from 3/15 on from Dan Murphy:

Conditions: Great spring conditions-fast tracks and lots of snow.
Billionaire lifestyle for sure. Beautiful trails, fast tracks, super views. I could get used to this. Two feet of snow still up on the Gunflint.
We hit it at around 36 degrees. Tracks were firm with the occasional moose print to keep you honest. Cocoa and soup in the dining room to wrap up the ski. Totally worth the trip if you want one more day don’t hesitate if you’re afraid of the snow conditions.

And then this happened Wednesday afternoon and night:

3.18.2016 3 pine trees

Twelve more inches of new snow. Fourteen inches, maybe more in some places. A welcome return to winter wonderland.

Groomers are back out on the trails.  Lit Loop, Beaver Dam, Ridge Run, and Oxcart were groomed Thursday on the Bearskin side of the trail system. Campground, Summer Home and Bear Cub will be groomed on Friday. We won’t be grooming lake crossings.  It’s still to be determined what we will do with the Poplar Creek Trail; it may be done for the season due to some other issues.  If you have a specific trail that you want to ski, check with us and we’ll update you on the status.

We have openings for the rest of March, including this weekend. Don’t forget our special end of season special rate, which gives you three nights for the price of two.  Considering that prices are already at value season rates now, this makes a 3-night stay even more affordable.  (Be sure to ask for the newsletter 3-night special — and add your name to our newsletter mailing list here, so that you can count on finding out about special bargains.)

Here are the latest snow measurements from Golden Eagle:

  • New Snow Last 24 hours:  12.25”
  • New Snow Last 7 days:  12.25”
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Have not measured
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Average 20” – 23”
  • Surface Conditions:  Fresh Snow
  • Last grooming day:
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  91.46”


Snow Totals

November Total 2015 – 7.25 inches

December 2015

  • Dec 1 – Dec 6:  2.55 inches
  • Dec 7 – Dec 13:  2.53 inches
  • Dec 14 – Dec 20: 18.0 inches
  • Dec 21 – Dec 27:  7.62 inches
  • Dec 28 – Dec 31:  1.25 inches

December Total 2015 – 31.95 inches

January 2016

  • Jan 1 – Jan 3:  0.5 inches
  • Jan 4 – Jan 10:  2.5 inches
  • Jan 11 – Jan 17:  4.25 inches
  • Jan 18 – Jan 24:  0.75 inches
  • Jan 25 – Jan 31:  8.2 inches

January Total 2016 – 16.20 inches

 February 2016

  • Feb 1 – Feb 7:  9.80 inches
  • Feb 8 – Feb 14:  1.63 inches
  • Feb 15 – Feb 21:  6.00 inches
  • Feb 22 – Feb 28:  3.63 inches
  • Feb 29:  1.5 inches

February Total 2016 – 22.56 inches 

March 2016

  • Mar 1 – Mar 6:  1.125 inches
  • Mar 7 – Mar 13: 0.125 inches
  • March 16:  8.5 inches
  •  March 17:  3.75 inches

March Total 2016 – 13.50 inches

 Total Snowfall 2015-2016 – 91.46 inches

3.11.2016 Ski conditions are still surprisingly good!

Tammi Lynx

Our excitement this week: several people spotting Lynx on the Gunflint Trail. Watch for them as you drive to Bearskin!


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.

3.4.2016 Weekend skiing update at Bearskin

sunrise on the gunflint by bob hansen

Sunrise / photo by Bob Hansen

We’re visiting the snowless Twin Cities today.  Looking out the window here, it’s easy to see why we’re having such a tough time convincing callers to Bearskin that yes, we do indeed have an excess amount of snow up at Bearskin.  In the last hour an annoying “just before rush hour” inch of snow came down in Minneapolis, but before that the only remaining snow was in gritty pyramid-shaped piles at the corners of driveways and crosswalks. Not a pretty thing.

Bearskin has received just under 80 inches of snow this year, with more in the forecast for this evening. We haven’t lost much of it. Bob was grooming up on Bear Cub a few days ago, got out of the groomer, and unintentionally stepped off the hard-packed trail.  In a moment he sunk into snow almost to his waist…and Bob is tall, so that was a deep spot! We have a great deal of snow out there, which means that even if we hit some above-freezing temps in the upcoming days, there is no worry of our snow disappearing soon. You can still have winter fun at Bearskin.

Both Bearskin and Golden Eagle have groomed during this past week.  With the snow coming again tonight, the groomers will probably go out again Saturday morning.  For the most current information on which trails are newly groomed, give us a call.

Musher Erik Simula will be here again this weekend, giving dog sled trips all weekend. Call (218)388 – 2292 to book a trip.  We have wine, beer, hot cocoa, and fresh cookies in the Main Lodge, for after you day of outdoor fun.  Stop in and warm up by our fireplace.

Latest snow statistics, courtesy of Golden Eagle:

  • New Snow Last 7 days:  3 1/8”
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Average 12 – 15 inches
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Low 21” / High 27”
  • Groomed with classic track:  70 K
  • Groomed with skate lane:  56 K
  • Surface Conditions:  Fresh packed snow
  • Last grooming day:  2-29-16
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  77.96”