Runoff Report“I said it before and I’ll say it again, kids are meant to have long skinny skis on their feet when the first snow hits. No two ways about it. Oh, and since my rendition of the snow dance sort of worked this year, teach your children the method and let them have a shot at it. And hurry up about it, too.” Bigfish
“I said it before and I’ll say it again, kids are meant to have long skinny skis on their feet when the first snow hits. No two ways about it. Oh, and since my rendition of the snow dance sort of worked this year, teach your children the method and let them have a shot at it. And hurry up about it, too.”
Ski season is here. The snow isn’t falling. I began skiing about a month ago in minimal conditions and it’s only gotten worse. The snow gods have been summoned and reprimanded. I will keep up the snow dance and ask all to share in those efforts.
As I write this, the snow isn’t falling. Trail groomers won’t likely be out soon. (Don’t say anything... I’m trying a little reverse psychology here.)
There are super ski trails in Two Harbors, Silver Bay, Gooseberry, Split Rock and Tettegouche state parks and trial networks maintained by a number of the lodges and resorts in the county. (Please excuse me if I don’t include all of them. Omission is only by ignorance, not intent.) There are also trails maintained by recreation groups in the county and our Clover Valley and Brimson neighbors at the Korkki Nordic Center and the Mother Bear Ski Trail. Of course, a skier can’t forget about the simple fact that there are 2,301 square miles of backcountry in Lake County to explore.
In other words, there is no shortage of ski trails around here. You can rough it and look for moose as you break trail or you can follow the groomed and tracked trails until you’re aerobic and aerodynamic.
Groomed and tracked trails include:
• Tettegouche State Park has 13 miles of groomed trails in the expanse of the park. The trail network also hooks into the Northwoods Ski Trail that comes out of Silver Bay.
• Split Rock State Park has eight miles of groomed and tracked trails, with over 2.5 miles of that along Lake Superior. There is a heated trail center open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
• Gooseberry Falls State Park has roughly 16 miles of groomed and tracked trails that wind through the park.
• The Two Harbors Ski Trail system has roughly 6.5 miles of groomed and tracked grant-in-aid trails that wind through the woods just north of town off Highway 2. The trail system is maintained by the Two Harbors Rec and Ski Trail Association that is supported by yearly memberships and plenty of volunteers (as are so many of the trails). The group has worked hard for years to establish and upgrade this fine trail system, which now includes a 3- km lighted inner loop, the only lighted system on the North Shore.
• The Northwoods Ski Trail system out of Silver Bay is another grant-in-aid trail network supported by a local club, the Northwoods Ski Club. The system has 18 miles of groomed trials with a trailhead located off Penn Boulevard (CSAH 5) near the East Branch of the Beaver River crossing out of Silver Bay. The system hooks into the state park trails in Tettegouche.
• The Korkki Nordic Center in Clover Valley is a private trail system open to the public. The 10 kilometers of trails has shorter loops inside and is located on the Korkki Road. Just travel three miles up the Homestead Road off Highway 61 and take a left on Korkki and go about a half mile. The groomed and tracked trails have been in use for 30 years. The system is maintained by memberships to the Nordic center. There is a heated building and a sliding hill for the kids. Hot chocolate and coffee is provided so bring a batch of cookies to share with the other skiers.
• In Finland, the Finland Ski Club has 6.5 miles of grant-in-aid trails.
• National Forest Lodge near Isabella has access to over 27 kilometers of groomed and tracked trails that wind through the wilderness country near Gegoka and Flathorn lakes. Superior National Forest’sGegoka Trail System has a cooperative agreement with the lodge for maintenance of the system. A trail head is at the lodge on Highway 1 and a second entrance is near the public landing on Gegoka Lake.
• The Baltich family on Jasper Lake in Fall Lake Township has developed 32 kilometers of trails over the past 10 years. They are continuing to work on more trail improvements. The lodge is located about 15 miles east of Ely on the Fernberg Trail. Called the Northwind Lodge Nordic Ski Center, the trails are groomed and tracked on federal, county and private lands located near the BWCAW. Trailhead is at the lodge and a daily $4 pass is required, which helps fund the ongoing maintenance of the trail. Skiers can stay and warm up in the lodge, or ski out and stay in outpost cabins.
• Silver Rapids Lodge has a series of cross country ski and snowshoe trails near Farm Lake and County Road 16 southeast of Winton in north Lake County. The trail system is around four km in length and connects into the Hidden Valley system that connects into Ely. The trails are open to the public, but the lodge asks that you check in with them before you ski. There is also Friday evening lamplit skiing.
• The Mother Bear Ski Trail is a remote single track in Brimson that is groomed for classic skiing only. The trail winds through jackpine forests, black spruce bogs and over glacial eskers. Users will probably see more tracks of deer, moose and wolves than of other skiers. In fact, one of the first Canada lynx dens located in Minnesota was found adjacent to the trail. A snowshoe loop is also available for non-skiers. The trailhead with parking lot and outhouse is located two miles south of Hugo’s Bar on County Road 44.
If there are other trails out there that we’ve overlooked please send us some information and we’ll be glad to include them in a future issue.