Posted by: Bearskin | April 3, 2014

4.3.14 Snowshoe season begins

lodge w.snowshoes






Snowshoe season is here!

We’re wrapping up the ski season on the Central Gunflint Trail System. While it’s true that we still have a great deal of snow (with more in the forecast),  grooming conditions have become quite difficult.  Due to the daily freeze /thaw cycles that we experience now, the skiing may actually be better on ungroomed sections. It’s adventure skiing now!

We will concentrate our grooming efforts on Summerhome, Campground, and Oxcart Ski Trails until snow temps approach 32 degrees, at which time we’re done for the day. We will continue to try to groom those for as long as we get passable results; no promises on how long that will be at this point, as it just doesn’t groom up to our high expectations in these conditions.

The good news: this is the only time each year when we open up our ungroomed trails for snowshoeing.  It’s a great opportunity to get back into the deep woods trails that you can normally only experience on skis.  Snowshoes and trail passes are complimentary for our guests. Stop by the front desk to get them.   If you’re staying elsewhere, trail tickets are half price, and we do rent very nice snowshoes.

Please stop by the front desk  at Bearskin for trail maps, trail advice, and information about the ever-changing spring conditions.   Snowshoeing on this ski trail system only happens once a year, so take advantage of this fun spring opportunity!

We can also advise you about what is still open in the area.  April is the off-season on the Gunflint Trail and in Grand Marais; the majority of resorts and businesses are now closed until sometime in mid-May.  We’ll be happy to help you find the restaurants and lodges that are still open for business during this quiet time.

Posted by: Bearskin | March 12, 2014

3.12.14 Spring ski conditions

There hasn’t been much new to say about the ski trails for much of the winter. It snows, we groom, it snows, we groom…  This has been a winter with a repetitive cycle of sameness in snow conditions.  But, like most of Minnesota, we (finally) experienced a little spring thaw with warmer temperature earlier this week, so we’ve now entered the season of “spring ski conditions.”

We still have a LOT of snow, with an average packed trail base of 15 inches and almost 30 inches in the woods.   Many trails have been tilled and the rest will be, and continue to be, as the week progresses. Surface conditions vary depending on the time of day and the temperature; however, conditions are still very good for both classic and skate skiing. Best conditions will be in the morning and early afternoon.

Last weekend was  one of the finest weekends of this entire winter — sunny skies, comfortable temperatures, great snow.  We haven’t had that many spectacular winter weekends in this unusual ultra-cold winter  We’re hoping this coming weekend will be a repeat performance of last Saturday.


Posted by: Bearskin | February 23, 2014

2.23.14 Groomed and ready for you to come skiing

Finally, it’s quit snowing! The Central Gunflint Ski Trail System received almost 17 inches of fresh new snow over the last 7 days.   Our total snowfall since last November 1 is a little over 88 inches, as measured by the Baumann family at Golden Eagle Lodge.

Groomers from Bearskin and Golden Eagle Lodges have been grooming daily to pack as much snow as possible into the trail base.  At this point the packed trail base measures 15″ – 18″.  The snow in the woods is often over 3 feet deep, or even deeper in drifts. Classic ski conditions are fantastic, but due to the large amount of powdery snowfall we received in such a short amount of time, you can expect skate skiing conditions to be a little soft.  We will continue to groom throughout the week in order to further pack down the base. 

The pine trees in the woods are so beautiful, coated with what must be close to the maximum amount of snow that each pine bough can hold. Until the wind lifts the snow off the branches, expect every trail to be Christmas-card picturesque.  Here’s a picture taken by the Baumann’s on Ridge Run Trail yesterday:

Ridge Run 2.22.2014. Picture from the Baumann family.

Posted by: Bearskin | February 22, 2014

2.22.14 Groomers are out on the trails

Like everywhere in the state, we had massive amounts of snow on Thursday night and all day Friday, followed by high winds.  Yesterday our groomers were out packing and rolling trails to make today’s Pisten Bully/Snowcat grooming go more smoothly but the wind blew pretty hard all night, resulting in major drifts. Although groomers have been out on the trails since early this morning, the entire grooming process for all 70+ K of trails may take longer than usual today.  They’re moving some pretty significant amounts of fresh snow.  Call Bearskin Lodge or Golden Eagle Lodge to get current updates on grooming, or stop by at the front desk of either resort to check.

It’s going to be beautiful out there once the trails are ready to go.  Come out and enjoy this spectacular snow.

Posted by: Bearskin | February 19, 2014

2.19.14 All caught up on grooming, more snow on the way

Skier signWe certainly do have the snow here, with more on the way.  The Baumann family at Golden Eagle Lodge measured 18.5 inches of snow received since February 12th.  We have a forecast of another big snowfall coming Thursday.

The groomers have been out on the trails almost every day, trying to keep up with the fresh snowfalls.  It’s a challenge.  Three groomers go out on our 70+ K of trails after each snowfall, and it takes the better part of day to complete grooming the entire system — longer if the snow is deep and soft, as it was on Tuesday.  When they finally finish grooming every trail, nobody gets too enthused about a forecast for fresh snow.

Reports are that trails have been a tad slow which is to be expected after fresh snowfall, but with warming temperatures in the forecast, we predict some faster conditions in the upcoming days.  Weatherwise, this is the warmest week we’ve had all month.  Blue skies, fresh snow, and warmer temps = the perfect winter days.

We’re very busy this week, but the last week in February offers a few nice openings in cabins and lodges.  We have availability for dinner on both Wednesday and Saturday nights, as well as openings for dog sled trips.  It would be a wonderful week to take advantage of winter adventure package.


Posted by: Bearskin | February 16, 2014

2.16.14 Beautiful ski conditions

Tons of new snow. It’s a beautiful world out there. The forecast for the upcoming week is fantastic (that is after we get another big dump of snow on Monday), with temperatures predicted to be remarkably mild.

It almost doesn’t matter where you live, you’ve probably spent your winter so far shoveling snow.  Come up to Bearskin and we’ll take care of the shoveling and plowing for you — all you have to do is be here to enjoy our winter.
Lower Beaver Dam

Poplar Creek

Oxcart Trail, by Karen Reynolds

Snowy trees.

tracks2With over 50 inches of snowfall already since November 1st, this is  a snowy winter to remember.

The Central Gunflint Trail System was lucky to have snow during the past 2 winters, when much of Minnesota had minimal snowfall — but it wasn’t snow like this!  We continue to get fresh snow every few days, which keeps the grooming crew very busy.

We’re finding that after dealing with endless piles of Twin Cities’ urban and suburban snow, many of our guests are arriving at Bearskin in a winter-weary state.  Once they get out to ski or snowshoe on our beautiful trails, amidst the snow-covered pines, the fun aspect of winter seems to return. It’s more fun to play on beautiful snow than to shovel it!

The Baumann family from Golden Eagle Lodge does a great job of keeping meticulous snowfall records.  Here are the snowfall numbers so far for this winter season, as of January 22nd:

November 20137.25 inches (about 3 inches on the ground at the end of Nov.)


  • Dec 2 – Dec 8: 13.25 inches
  • Dec 9 – Dec 15:  3.65 inches
  • Dec 16 – Dec 22:  8.75 inches
  • Dec 23 – Dec 29:  3.4 inches
  • Dec 30 – Dec 31:  0.0 inches

December 2013 – 29.05 inches 


  • Jan 1 – Jan 5: 6.0 inches
  • Jan 6 – Jan 12: 0.5 inches
  • Jan 13 Jan 19: 7.6 inches
  • Jan 22: 1.25 inches

January 2014 – 15.35 inches

2013-2014 YTD Snow Total – 51.65 inches

All of our 70+ km of trails are open. Conditions are excellent for both skate skiing and classic skiing. A Central Gunflint Trail Ski Pass is required; you can buy your pass at either lodge.

Posted by: Bearskin | January 18, 2014

1.18.14 Lots of snow, great skiing

1.18.14 tracks across lakeIt’s been awhile since we filed a ski report.  We’re in one of those happy winter cycles where nothing changes significantly.  It keeps snowing, we keep grooming, and then it all  happens again.  The Central Gunflint Ski Trail System continues to get a new boost of snow every few days, without any major melting or raining interspersed as has happened some years.  It’s a snowy winter at its best.

Earlier in the week Golden Eagle Lodge reported that we had received 42.90 inches of snow since November 1.  Of course, it’s snowed since then but it gives you a rough idea.  The base is especially solid making for fantastic skate skiing. The classic tracks are holding very strong as well. Many guests are reporting this is the best snow they’ve experienced in several years.



Posted by: Bearskin | December 29, 2013

12.29.13 Sunny, cold, and freshly groomed

Groomers were out on the trails this morning, and everything is beautiful.  Not much wind here at all, bright sun, and yes, it’s below zero  — but not really the ghastly day that the media was promising. Skiers are enjoying the trails, then heading in to warm up in front of the fireplace.

12.29.13 pop creek 1S 12.29.13 pop creek 2S

Posted by: Bearskin | December 26, 2013

12.26.13 Sunny skies, great trails

Poplar Creek Ski Trail

Poplar Creek Ski Trail

Conditions are beautiful on the Central Gunflint Ski Trail System this week.  In between holiday celebrations, our groomers were out on the trails whipping the most recent snow into shape for a busy skiing week.  There are still places on the trails where a bit more snow would help cover  giant boulders, or stubbly spots; but overall, snow conditions are much better than usual for late December.

Make it your mission to find the immense rock that a bear pushed into the middle of a trail late during the fall–the rock froze in position, so it couldn’t be moved.  You’ll know when you see it, that’s all we’re going to say.  Consider it one of the marvels of the world that a bear could move that. :)

When you’re ready to warm up from skiing, stop into the lodge for a cup of hot chocolate or a steaming bowl of chili or soup.  Sit by the fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer. Watch our musher go by taking guests on dogsled adventures–or maybe make an appointment to have that experience yourself.  There are still trips available this week.

Come out an enjoy winter at its very best.

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