Monday, December 15, 2008

The Nordic Ski Season Starts on the Gunflint

The cross-country skiing season has begun along Minnesota’s famed Gunflint Trail as the snow piles up- over nine new inches of snow fell yesterday. More is expected this week. With yesterday’s snowfall, area lodge owners along the Gunflint report eighteen to twenty inches of snow now on the ground.

Beginning in the village of Grand Marais, Minnesota, on Lake Superior’s North Shore, the Gunflint Trail is a paved pathway winding 60 miles through the Superior National Forest to Saganaga Lake on the Canadian border. In winter the lodge owners cooperatively operate the 216-kilometer Gunflint Nordic Ski Trail Network. This trail network consists of three interconnected ski trail areas; the Central and Upper Gunflint Trails connected by the Banadad. Both classic and skate skiing opportunities are offered amidst an unspoiled Northwoods wilderness backdrop.

According to Bearskin Lodge and Nordic Ski Center’s Bob McCloughan, which along with Golden Eagle Lodge maintains the Central Gunflint Ski System, “the groomers are out on the trails. We expect the trails at our end of the Gunflint Nordic Ski Network to be open for great skiing by this weekend.” Those responsible for the Banadad and Upper Gunflint Ski Trails expressed similar optimism.
Nordic Skiing is by definition an eco-friendly sport but the Gunflint area ski trail managers have taken this one step further. Last year, the Banadad Ski Trail became “carbon neutral” with the purchase of carbon credits to offset the emissions of grooming. This year, the Central and Upper Gunflint ski trail systems are adopting carbon neutral strategies. The cost to sequester the carbon released into the atmosphere from the maintenance and grooming for the Gunflint Nordic Ski Trails will be invested in planting of trees along the Gunflint Trail.

Along with their investment in the environment, lodges along the Trail catering to skiers are offering some new amenities this winter. At Bearskin Lodge, the dining room, which has been closed for a number of years, will open under the direction of noted local chef Judy Barsness of Chez Jude in Grand Marais. Bearskin is also offering dog sled rides this winter.

Skiers skiing the Banadad Ski Trail will find a new Olga’s Hut at Croft Yurt Camp and at the Trail’s eastern end the Tall Pines Trail has been extend to form a new 3.5 kilometer loop trail. Gunflint Lodge is adding a broomball rink. At Gunflint Pines a lighted ski trail is planned. While at Moosehorn Bed and Breakfast skiers will be greeted by new owners.

Winter Events- This winter Gunflint ski lodges are jointing with lodges throughout Cook County in a new winter ski event called Volk ski Festival - planned from January 31 to February 8. Later, Gunflint Trail businesses will celebrate the snowy season during the annual Winter Tracks festival February 26 to March 1.

For more information call Gunflint Skiing at 800-338-6932 or go to Gunflint Skiing.

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At 8:52 AM, Blogger Andrew Slade said...

I can't wait to get back up on the Gunflint and ski...maybe this will be the year I finally do the whole Banadad!


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