We haven’t had any snow in our forecast, but luckily for our trail system, it actually has been snowing periodically for the past 2 days. Of course, we’d love to have more snow, but guests are reporting that they are pretty happy with the skiing. Our crew shoveled extra snow over a few thin spots, and then Bob groomed Summer Home and Campground Trails again this morning. He plans to do Bear Cub again tomorrow morning. There have been fewer skiers on Upper Beaver Dam and Moose Pasture Trails, so they’re still OK. Quite a few skiers are also using the extra trail we groomed around East Bearskin Lake.
The pine trees are coated with snow and the deciduous trees across the lake look they’re made from white frosted candy. In the moonlight the snow that just fell is exceptionally sparkly, like walking in glitter. It’s a lovely time to experience winter on the Gunflint Trail.
Our ski advice remains the same: expect thin spots in some places. You’ll be happiest if you aren’t using your best pair of skis. Bit by bit we’re accumulating more snow om the trails, but we would all be excited if we’d get a heavy snowfall of 4-6 inches soon.
Info from Zach at Golden Eagle:
Our latest updates: Dan was out this morning with the Snow Cat and groomed Red Pines, Cross Fox, and the north shore Logging Camp. The trails are looking good, but we are slightly low on snow yet on the one south-facing hill on Cross Fox. Wolf point is also Snow Cat groomed and is in good shape. Moose Ridge remains packed only with snowmobile due to the rough terrain and low snow and we have been advising skiers to be cautious if skiing that trail. We were in the BWCA yesterday and finished sickling that section of the trail up. Another pass with the snowmobile in there with extra weight on the bar leveled things out much better, but there is still a section on the south side with rocks showing.
We are hoping to get out on Flour with an ATV and plow yet today to push some snow up onto the trail so we can start building a decent trail base across the lake.
Trail report from Golden Eagle:
New Snow Last 24 hours: 0 inches
New Snow Last 7 days: 1.0 inches
Trail Base: 4 to 6 inches
Snow in Woods: Average 10 inches, 12 inches high
Groomed with classic tracks: 36K
Groomed for skating: 50K
Surface Conditions: Hard Packed
Snowshoe trail: Open
Total snowfall since November 1: 18.75 inches
Conditions: Poor to good, please check with Golden Eagle Lodge or Bearskin Lodge for specific info on each trail.
Comments: The following trails have been tracked: Old Logging Camp from GEL to Deer Mouse (good shape), Deer Mouse (good shape), Red Pines from west end of Deer Mouse to GEL, Wolf Point (snowcat groomed), Summer Home Road (good shape}, Campground Loop (good shape), Lit Loop,Ox Cart, Beaver Dam Trail, and Bear Cub. The rest of the system has been packed with no tracks.
Quinn went out on the TiddTech groomer this morning and was able to groom a few more trails in the system. Campground, Summer Home, and the Lit Loop were regroomed today. Quite a few skiers are out there this afternoon, so we’ll be interested to hear what they have to say about trail conditions.
Upper Beaver Dam and Bear Cub Trail were groomed and tracked for the first time today. We also groomed a 4K loop on East Bearskin Lake.
Bit by bit we’re accumulating snow, although it will take a 4-6″ snowfall in order to open some of the other trails.
If you drive up to Bearskin, you are not going to see any snow until you are quite a distance up the Gunflint Trail. Grand Marais looks especially discouraging, with remnant piles of dirty gray plowed snow on every corner, but no snow covering the grass. Don’t let it worry you. Once you start to go up the Gunflint Trail hill, you’ll begin to see white snow-covered areas again and as you get nearer to the Mid-Trail area you’ll notean increasing number of picturesque pine trees with snow-covered boughs. We wish we had more snow, but we’re very grateful (again!) for our snowy location.
Our new employee Dave has been working all afternoon to clear an ice rink. If previous history is any indicator, that means we’ll be surprised by a huge snowfall tonight. :)
We haven’t posted anything new in awhile because…well, because nothing much has changed. We didn’t lose our snow like most of NE Minnesota did during the rain last Saturday, but we haven’t gained a great deal of snow either. It seems to snow a bit almost every day, so our trees are coated in white and our snow looks fresh. We are still waiting, though, for the big snowstorm that will give us 4-6 inches of additional snow to top off the trails enough to groom more of them.
Summer Home, Campground, and the Lit Loop are groomed and tracked. We’ve groomed a path on East Bearskin Lake and we will groom some additional lake trails on Friday. The rest of the system has been packed in various ways. Based on the many ski tracks we saw on the packed trails, numerous skiers have been out there giving the packed trails a try. But realistically, we would like the trails to have much more snow than this. The Central Gunflint Trail Ski Trail System is fortunate to once again have snow when the rest of the area doesn’t have any, but we would certainly be grateful to get more snow soon.
We didn’t get much snow overnight but it’s snowing pretty hard now. This snowstorm is coming from the south, which is pretty typical for this time of year. Those storms often wane before they get all the way to NE Minnesota, but it looks like we’ll get a few inches out of this one, at least.
We’re getting a call almost every hour asking about the ski conditions. Snow melted throughout the state and we’re hearing that high school ski camps everywhere have been cancelled. Lots of people are looking for somewhere else to take their team skiers. We drove up from the Twin Cities two days ago and there’s no doubt about it–the Gunflint Trail has the only measurable snow left between Minneapolis and Bearskin. It looks like we still have pretty good snow, at least when compared to everywhere else. Unfortunately, it’s not quite enough anymore for the ski trails.
The ski season got off to a great start, but now after our most recent warm-up we have a thin icy base. We wouldn’t recommend going out there to ski at this point. The last guest to head out skiing on the trails said conditions were hard on his rock skis. So we need more snow. There’s snow in the forecast for the next few days. We just need a few more inches of snow over this base in order to have enough snow to groom the trails again.
Meanwhile, the ice is finally freezing firmly. Erik, our musher, went out on the ice yesterday to sink in the poles he uses to tie up his dogsled team. And it is snowing now in a way that looks just like being on the inside of a snow globe , with glittery flakes swirling in many directions. We’re making progress towards real winter.