2.26.2016 Another good ski weekend

BearskinLodge webcam from noaa

Here’s a quintessential winter photo from our webcam Thursday, a shot of two campers heading out for a weekend of winter camping.  We’d like to claim we just noticed the moment, but actually NOAA  (the weather service) in Duluth called our attention to it — yes, apparently they get their weather forecasts by watching the Bearskin Lodge webcam.  :)

NOAA says that Friday and Sunday are going to be perfect ski days. Saturday could get a tad warm, so plan to ski early and maybe spend your afternoon snowshoeing, or perhaps relaxing with a glass of wine or cup of hot cocoa by the fireplace.  Last weekend we also experienced some warm temps, but they were accompanied by wet snow and even a little rain.  There’s nothing like that in this weekend’s forecast, so that’s good news.

The warmth and moisture from last Saturday had a negligible effect on our snow. Good grooming during the past week, plus another 4.5 inches of fresh snow, left the trails in great shape. So far this season we’ve had almost 75 inches of snow, with 20 new inches just in February. Rumor has it that the rest of you around the state don’t have much snow, but that’s not going to be our memory of the winter of 2016.

All trails in the system are freshly groomed. For the most up-to-date grooming information, as well as specific trail conditions, please contact Golden Eagle Lodge (1-800-346-2203) or Bearskin Lodge (1-800-338-4170).



2.21.2016 Warmish weekend, but the snow recovered nicely


snowmen adj aviary

What you do with your time when it’s 34 degrees and too wet to have any fun skiing.

Yes, the past weekend was not fabulous for the snow conditions.  But no, here’s good news, there aren’t any residual problems on the trails.

The temps rose into the mid-30’s on Friday and Saturday.  We had a constant downpour of wet, soggy snow, and even small bursts of rain, although nothing like the quantities of sleet and rain they were receiving along the North Shore. On Saturday night, after the temps started dropping, guests reported icy trails for night-time skiing.

This morning all of those problems disappeared.  Good grooming in somewhat colder temperatures erased all the problems left after the wet weekend. Skiers report excellent conditions again today.  Perhaps we lost a little snow over the last two days, but  we are happy to see some snow go!  At this point we have more snow than we know what to do with, so it’s going to take a lot more than two 34 degree days to affect our ski trails.

Here are the latest snow totals, as measured by Golden Eagle:

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:  2.0 inches
  •  Feb 18:  0.25 inches
  • February Total 2016 – 13.68 inches 

Total Snowfall 2015-2016 – 69.08 inches


2.18.2016 The weekend ahead

Photo by Jan Christenson

The trails are beautiful right now.  Skiers are thrilled with the conditions.  We still get almost daily calls asking if we have enough snow.  We’ve actually reached the point where we are running out of places to put more snow, so “enough” snow is not our issue. We are very fortunate to once again have some of the best snow in the state.

Conditions for the next few days are forecast to be a bit unsettled.  Maybe we will get snow, maybe rain, maybe a mix — we will soon see.  Whatever happens, both Bearskin and Golden Eagle will be out grooming before the weekend.  We have the equipment to cope with any of these weather situations so we can create great skiing for you on the trails.

If you are driving up for the weekend, give yourself lots of time if the weather is inclement and don’t worry if you will be coming in late.  Call us and we will make arrangements for your late arrival, no matter what time you show up.  We would rather have you arrive safely, even if that means slowly!

2.12.2016 Weekend ski trail update

Photo of our ski trails taken by Karen Reynolds

We’ve been in one of those endless cycles, where all it does every day is snow. Groomers have been out almost daily, going over trails they just did the day before. We’ve had a couple days of sunny, high pressure now, resulting in the first two days in a long time when we didn’t get more snow. It was a nice reprieve from the perpetual grooming cycle.

What we did have today was wind, so no doubt there will need to be more grooming on Saturday morning.

The weekend looks like it will be sunny but chilly, followed by very warm weather in the coming week.  What a roller coaster of temperatures!

Bearskin will be serving soup and chili in the Main Lodge all weekend, as well as hot chocolate, wine by the glass or bottle, and Minnesota beers.  Warm up in front of our Lodge fireplace and enjoy any or all of these Bearskin treats.

Local day skiers, please note:  we hope you will enjoy a great ski experience this weekend on the Central Gunflint Trails.  We have the best trail conditions in the area right now with outstanding grooming, so you’ll have a fabulous ski day.  We do encourage you to arrive early, as our parking lot on this 3-day weekend often fills up crazily before noon.

We also respectfully request that if you plan to to have a meal during your ski experience that you patronize our restaurant over the holiday weekend rather than spread out for a picnic in the lodge. We usually turn a blind eye to lodge “picnickers,”  but over the busy holiday, when we are very full with guests and dozens of day skiers, picnickers in large sections of the lodge are tough on us. Our lodge is a restaurant area, where lunch and beverages are served at a very reasonable price. We encourage you to eat here, or else please use a very minimal amount of space for your “picnic” over a short period of time, and then move your items out of the way. We do get day skiing picnickers who spread out all over the lodge for the day, with children, toys, non-skiing family members, lunch bags, and multiple picnic baskets. Much as we like to be gracious, it makes it very hard to serve our guests and customers, especially on such a busy weekend. Thanks!

Current snow totals as of 2/11/2016:

  • New Snow Last 24 hours:  0.0”
  • New Snow Last 7 days:  9 1/8”
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Average 12 – 16 inches
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Low 20” / High 24”
  • Groomed with classic track:  70 K
  • Groomed with skate lane:  56 K
  • Surface Conditions:  Fresh packed snow
  • Last grooming day:  2-10-16
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  66.83”


Here’s a fun ski video you may find entertaining, taken on our ski trails last Wednesday.  Enjoy!   Ski moose.


1.28.2016 No shortage of snow here

pisten bully on right of picture, trail on left

After a few much-deserved quiet, calm days it snowed like crazy on the Gunflint Trail again on Wednesday. Apparently it turned to icy rain along the North Shore, temporarily creating a sheet of ice on Highway 61 and causing a number of small accidents.  Up here on the hill all it did was snow and blow all day and most of the night.

We entertained ourselves at lunch on Wednesday by watching chickadees blow off the bird feeder. The snow on our back deck is normally covered by an elaborate trail system pounded down by our overtly-friendly pine marten and our 2 excessively chubby red squirrels, Fatso and Mean Fatso. (No, they shouldn’t all co-exist in our deck ecosystem, but that’s another story.) Snow was blowing horizontally across the deck all morning, and still those furry critters braved the storm to collect their share of the birdseed; but by afternoon they’d given up and for the first time in weeks all footprints were erased by the blowing snow.

The groomers were working on the ski trails very early Thursday morning, and by the time the sun broke through the clouds later in the day we had the entire system done and ready to go. Mid-week afternoons tend to be very quiet here, but the skiers who were out returned from their skiing almost giddy with joy over how beautiful the trail conditions are.

Here are the latest numbers from the official Central Gunflint Trail snow measurers at Golden Eagle:

Central Gunflint Ski Trail Conditions on 1-28-16

  • New Snow Last 24 hours:  4.0”
  • New Snow Last 7 days:  5.85 inches
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Average 9 – 10 inches
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Average 16 – 22 inches
  • Groomed with classic track:  68 K
  • Groomed with skate lane:  56 K
  • Surface Conditions:  Fresh packed snow
  • Last grooming day:  1-28-16
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  52.30”


moose pasture sign.jpg


1.22.2016 Best ski weekend of the season (so far) coming up!

Summer Home Road ski trail

Summer Home Road ski trail

What a weekend this is going to be!  Fantastic snow conditions, pleasant temperatures, and we even have sun in our forecast.

Bearskin does have a few openings this weekend.  Cabin 2 had a last minute cancellation, which means one of the all-time favorite little log cabins is now available.  Several of the larger cabins, well-suited to a group of 4 or more friends, are also available.

If you are a local day skier or coming from one of the hotels along the North Shore with so-so snow conditions, we recommend that you come early this weekend as this is clearly going to be one of the nicest ski weekends of the season. That always means our small parking lot will be crazy by lunchtime.  An early start gets you a full day of skiing as well as a decent place to park.

Don’t forget that Bearskin serves soup and chili for lunch. Warm up with a big mug of hot chocolate, or treat yourself to a fresh-baked chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie.  We sell a wide variety of Minnesota beer brands in the lodge, or you can sit by the fireplace to enjoy a glass of wine.

Our musher, Erik Simula, also has dog sled trips available this weekend. Sometimes he heads out on trips where the participants need to be seriously bundled up to stay warm, but this is not going to be one of those weekends.  Great conditions!

Here are the latest ski trail measurements, as reported on 1/21/2016 by Golden Eagle:

Central Gunflint Ski Trail Conditions on 1-21-16

  • New Snow Last 24 hours:  1/2” (and still snowing)
  • New Snow Last 7 days:  4.5 inches
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Average 7 – 8 inches
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Low: 13”  /  High: 18”
  • Groomed with classic track:  68 K
  • Groomed with skate lane:  56 K
  • Surface Conditions:  Fresh packed snow
  • Last grooming day:  1-18-16
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  46.95”

Comments:  The excellent skiing and trail conditions continue! As an added bonus, we are expecting very comfortable weekend temperatures starting around 15 degrees on Friday and warming to the mid 20’s by Sunday. Throw on some light layers and enjoy some great skiing!

Poplar Creek trail, our last trail to be cleared from the damaging snowfall in December, has now been re-carved from the wilderness and is groomed and open! The North-South Link across AspenLake now has enough ice beneath it that we have been grooming it with Snow Cat. Flour Lake still has only 10 inches of ice – 2 more inches are needed for crossing with the big groomer – so we are still grooming that short section by snowmobile, with a classic and skate lane.

Overall, trail conditions are fantastic! We are only 3 inches of snow short of where we were last year at this time, with a season total of 46.95 inches as of this morning. There is no shortage of snow up here in the great Northwoods!

For the most up to date grooming information, as well specific trail conditions, please contact Bearskin Lodge (1-800-338-4170) or Golden Eagle Lodge (1-800-346-2203). Central Gunflint Ski Pass required.

1.12.2016 Grooming update

Here are official snow measurements from Zach Baumann today.  Needless to say, as soon as you read these stats they will be out-of-date.  We’ve got more snow in Thursday’s forecast. For those of you traveling along the North Shore on Thursday to be up here for the long weekend, expect possible lake effect snow all along the North Shore on Highway 61.  Drive slowly; we’re fine with whatever time you get here, just so you arrive safely!

  • New Snow Last 24 hours:  1/4”
  • New Snow Last 7 days:  2.25”
  • Trail Base, Staked:  Average 6 – 8 inches
  • Snow in Woods, Staked:  Average 11 – 14 inches
  • Groomed with classic tracks:  60 k
  • Surface Conditions:  Fresh packed snow
  • Last grooming day:  1-9-16
  • Total snowfall since Nov. 1:  42.45”

Comments:  We’ve had cooler temperatures these last couple days compared to the weeks before, but that hasn’t stopped the skiers or hindered the fun! Trail conditions remain excellent and the trees are still glistening with that beautiful snow cover. More snow is in the forecast again for Thursday and Friday.

An update on ice:  Aspen and Flour Lake are now safe for travel. We have been able to snowmobile pack the section of North-South Link that crosses Aspen and Flour as of last week; we anticipate being able to groom classic tracks into these trails as well after the next new snowfall. We still want a bit more ice before we go out there with the big groomers.

An update on the Poplar Creek ski trail:  Most of the Poplar Creek ski trail is now cleared but unbelievably, we’ve run into a section that’s still completely full of water.  How can this happen when it’s -20 below?  Weird winter.  So it’s groomed up to that point, and you can ski out on Poplar for many miles, but then you will hit the end of the grooming.  You need to turn around around there, since swimming in skis is really awkward.😉   Poplar Creek is a lovely trail, so skiing back on the same route is no hardship.  Just don’t expect the usual complete circle.