All week people have been calling with the same two questions: “Did the rain on Monday ruin your snow?” and “Are your trails closed yet?” The answer to both questions is a resounding “No!”
It did rain long and hard here Monday night; it sounded like being in a typhoon. We wondered what we would find in the morning and we were pleased to see we still had lots of wet snow left. Then the temperature dropped. Our wet snow quickly turned to ice.
Fortunately, both Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle Lodge have good, heavy-duty equipment and very experienced groomers. Snow is our winter business. We’ve been working on the trails all week and conditions are surprisingly good. We’ve had a very large group of experienced Twin Cities skiers here all week who seem quite satisfied with the trail conditions, especially in light of having had so little snow all winter back at home.
Expect spring skiing conditions; the trails are remarkably good, but they aren’t as fantastic as they were in February. In some places the tracks are better than in other spots. Sometimes it’s icy. Like all of Minnesota, we’ve had phenomenal winds all week so drifting appears in places on the trails. But we still have a good base on most of the trails, with no sign of the snow disappearing anytime soon. There is absolutely no sense of an impending spring up here, except for the longer daylight and brighter sun.
We’ll be serving soup and chili in the lodge all weekend, as well as hot chocolate, wine, beer, and pop. Plan to have lunch in the lodge during your day of skiing.
If you are a local resident coming to ski for the day, consider driving a little farther up the Gunflint Trail to our partner on the ski trail system, Golden Eagle Lodge. The Bearskin parking lot tends to be full by about 11 AM on weekends, while Golden Eagle often still has space. If you want lunch at Bearskin, just ski over and enjoy hot chocolate or chili — it gives you a nice little break midway through your day of skiing fun.
The weekend forecast for Northern Lights is not exceptionally good this weekend, but if you are coming next week you have an excellent chance of seeing Lady Aurora dance. Wednesday, March 15 – Friday, March 17 look highly probably for a light show. The International Space Station will also be visible for a few minutes every morning this week; our guests always enjoy being able to see this in our very dark skies at Bearskin.
Here are Golden Eagle’s snow measurement stats from this week, as well as their summary of conditions:
Central Gunflint Ski Trail Conditions on 3-9-17
New Snow Last 7 days: 2.0”
Trail Base, Staked: Average 7”
Snow in Woods, Staked: Average 12”
Groomed with classic track: 70 km
Groomed with skate lane: 58 km
Surface Conditions: Tilled snow
Total snowfall since Nov. 1: 68.48”
Comments: Trail conditions remain good, even after yet another week of bizarre weather. A couple of inches of new snowfall allowed us to re-groom fresh snow back into the base again. Trails are still being groomed with a tiller, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Conditions are fast in some areas and slow in others. Surface conditions are a mixture of frozen snow mixed in with fresh powder; areas that had the new snow blown off will see less powder mixed in. Trail base is still hanging around an average of 6 – 7 inches in the majority of areas and is very solid. No glaze-ice spots are present the next day after grooming, though some trails have been requiring a couple passes with the groomer to get the trails to a quality we are happy with.
Tracks in snow, photo from Zach Baumann at Golden Eagle