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.

4.2.2019 We still have snow, but the grooming season has ended

4.2.2019

Yes, we still have snow. Lots of snow, as you can see by the this photo of the Main Lodge during an April snowstorm today. But at this point, the Pisten Bully is being put away for the season and grooming is over.

Skiing is still okay. It changes during the day due to sun or warm temperatures, but it’s still possible to be out there. We see a few skiers every day now. If you have a season pass, you are welcome to continue skiing for as long as you’d like to try it.

If you do come to ski, the Main Lodge building will mostly be closed from April 4-10, so don’t plan on using the restrooms or changing in the Lodge.  Staff will be on site, but they’re pulling up carpet, moving around furniture, and deep cleaning  all week, and the Lodge will not be open for public use.

It’s been a long, but wonderful winter ski season. We groomed for the first time in early November, and after that the snow never let up. (Still hasn’t, actually.) Snow conditions ranked among the best ever. We had some bitterly cold temperatures, but pleasant days were also plentiful. We had the busiest winter we’ve ever had at Bearskin, breaking all records for the number of nights, and a majority of guests rebooked for next winter so they can do it all again in 2020.  We’re all looking forward to spring, so it’s tough to contemplate the return of winter again; but remember that whenever you start thinking winter thoughts, it’s never too soon to call and book your cabin or lodge for next year. That’s how people nail down their perfect dates.

Thank you for visiting Bearskin and the Central Gunflint Trail Ski System. Every year we meet so many friendly people who come to stay or ski here.  We’re lucky to get to know so many of you and look forward to seeing you again.

 

3.22.2019 Late spring skiing conditions

We are coming to the end of the ski season.  While we are probably still going to have huge snow piles until next May, day after day of sunny, very warm temps has taken a toll on the quality of our snow. We have tons of snow, but it’s not the same snow we had two weeks ago.  We’re doing what we can to keep trails alive, but grooming in warm weather just creates very beautiful, treacherously iced trails.  The end is near.

Skiers have reported having great experiences while crust skiing on the lake surface. This is best done in the morning.  Ask Bob or Quinn for more info on this option.

 

snowshoeing

 

 

 

3.17.2019 Spring ski conditions

The trails groomed up quite nicely this weekend.  Our new Pisten Bully has a built-in tiller, plus we had a bit of fresh snow, so Quinn was quite pleased with how good a track he was able to set in spite of the icy snow left behind by the rain a few days ago.  He and Kate skied many of the trails and reported fast but good conditions.

The week ahead is forecast to be warm and sunny.  Expect spring ski conditions. Skiing will be best in the morning, the earlier the better.  Wax for warmer temperatures.

weather

Those of you who live in the Twin Cities saw your snow disappear rapidly over the last few days.  We have far, far more snow than most of Minnesota had, but next week’s weather will definitely change the quality of our snow. It will be hard on our side roads also, so if you’re coming up you may be happiest if you are driving a 4-wheel drive vehicle.

Here’s the latest report from our trail partner, Golden Eagle:

New Snow Last 7 days:  6.00”
Trail Base, Staked:  Average 11” – 13”
Snow in Woods, Staked:  Average 24 – 30”
Surface Conditions:  Tilled snow
Total season snowfall:  96.28”

Comments:  We are still skiing! All trails are re-groomed again today. All ski trails are now being tilled as we will be experiencing your typical March spring skiing conditions for the remainder of the year. Expect very fast trails this weekend. Base is still firm yet the surface is soft enough to get good bite with your skis. Plan to bring extra kick wax with you on the trails if you classic ski as this kind of snow wears off the wax faster than other conditions.

3.15.2019 Still plenty of snow

Bearskin has had snow since the first week of November, and not one flake of it ever melted until this past week! In the past few days we’ve had some rain and warmer temperatures, resulting in noticeable melting for the first time all winter. It was nothing like the rain in the Twin Cities, but there was enough to make a dent in our enormous snow piles. The rain turned to snow last night and as we write this on Friday morning, it is still snowing and blowing.

We lost a little snow that we can notice, but not that you’ll be able to see. The snow on our deck right now is above knee-high, as opposed to thigh-high a few days ago. Trail bases are well-packed and were not significantly diminished by the weather.

We’re waiting to head out in the Pisten Bully until it quits snowing. We want to accumulate as much fresh snow on top of the icier stuff as possible. Our new Pisten Bully has an amazing tiller and the groomers think that the trail surface will clean up well.

The bigger concern if you are driving up to ski is that the roads took a big hit during the rain and melting. If you own a 4-wheel drive vehicle, this is a good time to use it. Also, many surfaces are covered with ice today.  The new snow on top gives the ice a less polished surface with better grip, but the ice is still there. Reports are that parking lots in Grand Marais are treacherous and people are falling in the first second after they step out of their car. (You’ve been forewarned!)  We’re getting control of our ice at Bearskin, but if you own Yak-Trax or some version of ice grippers, you might be happy to have them if you are in our area in the near future. It’s that time of year.

We’ll report back after the groomers have made their rounds, but we anticipate that the trails will groom up nicely.

3.8.2019 More of the same great skiing

Skis on corduroy. Photo from Jim Williams.

Skis on corduroy. Photo from Jim Williams.

At this point in the winter of 2019, we have received well over 90 inches of snow this season, with no sign of winter ever ending.  Like most of Minnesota, we expect more snow this weekend, but we sure don’t need it. The cycle of regular grooming continues as usual. We have a large group of Twin Cities skiers here now who are associated with one of our favorite ski stores, Gear West, and they are loving the conditions.

We’ve been seeing more moose action out on the ski trails this past week.  Let us know if you spot one!

A Central Gunflint Trail ski pass is required to use our trails; passes are for sale at Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle, just a little farther up the Gunflint Trail. You can access the ski trail from either resort, you just start in different sections of the system.  Parking in the day skier lot can become challenging on Friday and Saturday after about 11:30 AM, so we encourage you to come early and make a full day of it.  We’ll have chili and soup available all weekend for lunch, or enjoy an espresso, hot chocolate, or a glass of wine or beer in front of the lodge fireplace.

2.26.2019 More snow, more grooming, more winter

SIGN IN SNOW

It snowed again. Not surprising this year. At this point we’ve received more than 90 inches of snow, with no reason to believe it will quit snowing anytime soon.  We’re out of places to pile snow along the roadsides and parking areas. More snow is in the forecast, of course.

We had the same high winds over the past few days that made news all over the Upper Midwest, but we only added about 4 inches to our snow total. (That was fine with us. We’re done hoping for more snow!)  The way the trees were bending in the wild wind outside our windows, we expected the ski trails to be littered with debris and fallen tree trunks. The groomers were pleasantly surprised by how few trees went down during the high winds.

All trails are groomed except the little piece in the BWCA, which will be done Wednesday morning. There may be a little more snow this week.  Trail conditions are excellent.

Here’s the weather forecast for the rest of the week.  Not the warmest week of this winter, by any means, but not the coldest either.  Just normal winter weather.

forecast for 2.26.2019 week

Golden Eagle did some  snow measuring today. Here are the results:

New Snow Last 7 days:  6.50”
Trail Base, Staked:  Average 12” – 16”
Snow in Woods, Staked:  Average 30 – 34”
Total season snowfall:  90.28”

Bearskin is full for the next two weekends, but you are welcome to stay elsewhere and ski our trails.  Guests at Bearskin and Golden Eagle ski for free, of course, but a day ski visitor pass for a full day is $18, or a half day after 1 PM costs $12. (Parking is easier when you arrive in the morning.) Come early and make a day of it, with chili or soup available in the lodge for lunch. We also have hot chocolate, espresso, wine, beer, pop, and fresh-baked cookies available in the lodge.  See you soon!

 

2.16.2019 Beautiful ski days ahead

Ski trail

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:

weather 2.16.2019

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.