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Lutsen Ski Rentals

Are you planning a winter downhill ski or snowboarding trip this winter? Be sure to stop by and see us. We rent Head and Fischer skis and take great pride in maintaining our gear. We offer rental pickups the day before you hit the slopes starting at 2 PM. You can enjoy sleeping in or having that extra cup of coffee in the morning knowing that you can be on the slopes as soon as you get to the mountain. Our rental rates are $32 per day for a standard ski package or $38 per day for a performance package. We also rent Head snowboards for $34 a day.  

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Cross Country Skiing near Lutsen Tofte MN

Improved North Shore Ski Trails

We consider ourselves lucky. We have some of the best ski trails in the region right outside our back door. And, if you head out to the Sugarbush Ski Trails, you'll notice they’re even BETTER than before. Why is that you ask? There has been a big upgrade to the grooming equipment used this season on the Sugarbush Ski Trails outside of Tofte and Lutsen, MN. This winter a 2016 Kassbohrer PB 100 Pisten Bully was purchased by the Sugarbush Trail Association, the organization that oversees the grooming and care of the trails.  If the trails weren’t great in past years (and we think they were), they certainly are now! In years past a 1992 Pisten Bully was used for grooming. Although it did a great job on the trails, the old Pisten Bully was somewhat outdated and frequently experienced mechanical issues. Because of the extreme winter weather that occurs along the north shore of Lake Superior, it is not unusual to see six foot drifts across trails or (because of the proximity to the lake), very heavy snow events or even freeze/thaw cycles that can turn the trail into a glacier. Although snowmobile grooming equipment can handle most conditions and...

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Picnic Loop Trail

The Picnic Loop Loop: A 25k North Shore Wilderness Experience

Are you an avid Nordic skier who wants an incredibly unique experience on Lake Superior's North Shore? If so, we highly recommend checking out the Picnic Loop. Skiing the 25k (15 mile) loop will not only offer you a great ski, but a great wilderness experience.   Our Recommendation: The Picnic Loop The Picnic Loop, a loop that winds through the Superior National Forest near Tofte and Lutsen, Minnesota, is unlike any other in the region. When skiing this loop, you’ll feel like you’re in the deep wilderness. There aren’t any developments along the trail and unlike other North Shore trails, it is not interrupted by roads or highways. It’s a true north woods experience! The trail rests on magnificent ski terrain that takes skiers along a ridgeline, through old growth boreal forest, and down into the Temperance River Valley. This means the trail offers long climbs and great descents, as well as outstanding views. The ridge introduces another enhanced element to the experience: SNOW! Because of the higher terrain that rises up from Lake Superior, the ridge creates an environment that accumulates a lot of snow. Typically, there will be much more snow on the ridge than there will be at lower elevations....

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Skin Skis vs. Traditional Classic Skis

Skin Skis on the North Shore

Skin Skis vs. Traditional Classic Skis One relatively new revolution in the cross country ski industry are skin skis. These no-wax skis have created a lot of buzz and have been changing the way we can ski here on the North Shore. What is a skin ski So, what is a skin ski and how are they different from a traditional cross country ski? A skin ski is a ski with a Teflon-infused synthetic grip section on the bottom of the ski instead of the traditional fish tail pattern. They have an advantage over traditional no-wax skis in icy and slippery conditions because the skins do a much better job of gripping the icy snow. Therefore, skiers can often go faster. Skin skis also do really well in warmer conditions when snow tends to clump together and stick on the bottom of traditional skis as the skin repels the snow. Skin skis were introduced in the 70s, but at the time ski construction was less technological, therefore they never gained popularity like they have recently. Here on the North Shore, we find Lake Superior changing the conditions of the snow often, which typically means our snow melts and refreezes. With these conditions, skiiers...

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Sugarloaf Cove

The North Shore of Lake Superior is filled with many popular tourist destinations, including state parks, countless waterfalls and stretches of incredible hiking trails. It is also lined with many beautiful areas that are often overlooked by travelers zooming by on Highway 61. One of those hidden treasures (though we do believe it is an up and coming North Shore destination for many) is the Sugarloaf Cove Nature Center near Schroeder, MN (just 10 miles from our store). Sugarloaf Cove is more than a beautiful Lake Superior cove to skip rocks in or  have a picnic by, though it is most certainly that. The surrounding plot of land is home to a short interpretive hiking trail and nature center that comes alive in the summer months with informative displays.  The center also offers classes throughout the spring, summer and fall months that vary from Boreal Botany to North Shore Geology. Be sure to visit their website and check out their event calendar this spring. Bird banding is also a popular event at Sugarloaf Cove. In September and October, trained volunteers band birds that live in and travel through the area (the large size of Lake Superior funnels high concentrations of birds...

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Eagle Mountain Adventure Hike in Minnesota (MN)

Hiking Eagle Mountain: Minnesota’s Highest Point

If you’re looking for a unique and challenging hike that takes you deep into the northwoods of Minnesota, you’ll want to make sure you add hiking to Eagle Mountain to your list of things to do. Eagle Mountain (or at least one of them… there’s also an Eagle Mountain located in the Lutsen Mountains ski area) is home to the highest point in Minnesota (2,301 feet in elevation) and the trail to get there cuts through Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, so you’ll be able to escape the constant and familiar hum of motors. The hike to the top is a challenging one. It is rated as a difficult trail since traversing over rocks and tree roots requires hikers to pay close attention to their footing. The trail extends from the trail head for 3.5 miles to the peak of Eagle Mountain. However, if taken slowly and/or aided with hiking poles, most hikers will find the challenge rewarding and the work worthwhile when they reach the top. Though there is a relatively steep grade to the trail within the last half mile or so towards the peak, most of the trail flows over rolling and manageable hill climbs. The trail travels...

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Matthew Baxley using the MSR Whisperlite in the Boundary Waters

The Right Stove For Your Adventure

  Know Your Options A few helpful things to consider when buying a stove is where and how you will use it and how much you can spend.  In Northern Minnesota, you are likely either car camping in a campground, backpacking part of the North Country Trail, or canoeing camping in the wilderness.  Different stoves will be more or less ideal for each of these experiences. The first consideration is weight.  Since a backpacker is literally carrying everything on their back, they tend to go as small and light as possible. On the other end of the weight continuum are the car campers with the freedom to travel with a stove of considerable size and weight.  In between are the canoe campers, with some preferring to go small and light while others willingly take on the extra weight of a stove with more bells and whistles. All-In-One Stove System The stove that garnishes the most attention for its unique design and twin burner cook system is the Genesis from Jetboil, an excellent choice for either car camping or for canoe country.  By far, it's most compelling advantage is the ability to utilize two burners simultaneously while being compact enough to fold in half for...

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Crust Ski skate ski boundary waters northern minnesota

Unique Ski Experiences You Can’t Miss

There are many options for skiing beyond basic alpine and cross country.  Groomed trails are great but so are frozen rivers, powder covered ridges, and crust covered lakes. Check out these three twists to traditional alpine and nordic skiing. 1. Backcountry Hok Skiing: Break trail and go your own way with the Altai Hok Ski.  Cruise the woods, bomb the hills or take to the frozen rivers. With a partial climbing skin integrated into the base, the ski climbs with ease. The skin also makes the ski slower and easier to control than traditional skis. The ski’s shorter, wider design make it incredibly maneuverable, ideal for any ungroomed terrain.  This is truly an all-purpose backcountry tool. This skis requires no groomed areas, no lifts, no tickets. Stop in the shop to try and pair or buy your own before the winter is over. 2. Skijoring: Do you want to get outside with your furry friend.  You both can get a high speed work out with this exciting ski sport. Skijoring is a sport in which a dog (or dogs) assist a cross-country skier. One to three dogs are commonly used. The cross-country skier provides power with skis and poles, and the dog adds...

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Set up a Snowtrekker Hot Tent and Stove

Sawtooth Outfitters' wilderness guide provides instruction on setting up the Snowtreckker canvas wall tent for winter camping. From start to finish, this video has everything you need to know before picking up your tent for your winter camping experience.

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Top 5 Winter Wilderness Camping Tips

#1 Travel on Back Country Skis When breaking new trail in the back country, snowshoes will get the job done, but Hok skis will make the job fun and fluid. These innovative skis from the Altai Company are a ski/snowshoe hybrid. With a wide base, permanent skins, and enough length to achieve glide, these skis are the best way to flow across our frozen lakes, rivers and streams. Try a Rental Pair #2 Set Up a Base Camp Since breaking trail in the back country is slow and tedious, don’t plan on changing locations every night like you may be accustomed to doing in the summer time. Pick a scenic yet sensible base camp site and launch day trips to explore the surrounding area. #3 Stay Warm and Dry Sounds Obvious, Right? But it can be easier said than done. First and foremost, plan to “hot-tent camp”. Being able to generate heat with a wood stove in a canvas wall tent is worth the extra weight. With that in mind, consider that foot travel in the winter leads to heat and perspiration while pulling a sled or breaking trail. When stopping to set up camp, that heat will dissipate quickly. Be prepared to set up your...

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