Moving and Getting Outside

We think being active and getting outdoors is extremely important. With all of the recent changes that are affecting our lives to slow the spread of Corona virus, we wanted to share a few of our favorite ideas of things you can do while you’re social distancing at home. Outdoor Activities Find some trails. Does your neighborhood have some hiking trails nearby? If so, find your hiking boots (or whatever you have – don’t let your shoes stop you) and take a walk on the trail. Go fast and work up a sweat or take a nice stroll. Walk around the block. Don’t think you need to find a trail or go anywhere special. Sometimes, just stepping out your door for a quick stroll around the block (or 20) will do wonders for your mental and physical health. Above all, if you are able, get outside and walk. Ride your bike. If you have clear, safe roads in your neighborhood, grab a jacket and helmet and go for a ride. Whether it be long or short, getting in the saddle will keep you moving and change the scenery all while keeping a healthy distance from others. Indoor Adventures Plan your next...

Read more...

Late Winter Activities on the North Shore

Though many people in the Midwest lose their snow and are typically forced to stop participating in their favorite winter activities in March, we are fortunate here on the North Shore in Minnesota to have an excellent snow base year after year. That means we get to enjoy nicer temperatures AND still indulge in our favorite winter sports, like Nordic and alpine skiing, hiking, and even snowshoeing. Because of the contrast in other areas of the state and region, we want to share some of the top things you can do right here on Lake Superior’s North Shore during the late winter and early sprint months. Alpine/Downhill skiing Although the alpine season is over in most areas of the state, it is far from over on the North Shore! Because temperatures typically turn cooler earlier in the fall/winter here compared to the rest of the state, Lutsen Mountains has the opportunity to make snow and set up a great snow base. A unique ecosystem, created by its proximity to Lake Superior, significantly increases the snowfall totals each winter also. These snowfalls help create an incredible base. Coupled with cold nights that linger in the late winter, there is significantly less snow...

Read more...

Where to Winter Camp in the BWCAW

There’s a certain magic that is found while camping in the north woods, especially in the winter. The cold and snow seems to create a special kind of permeating and beautiful silence. One of our favorite ways to experience that magic during the snow-filled months is by winter camping (if you’re interested in learning more about the types of winter camping, check out the information we shared in a past blog post HERE). Since it’s becoming such a big part of the winter culture up here on the North Shore and in Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, we wanted to share a few recommendations of WHERE to winter camp. Daniels Lake If you enjoy fishing, skiing or wildlife (moose have been rumored to be hanging around the area), we highly recommend winter camping on Daniels Lake. The deep lake is very pretty with the surrounding rugged topography blanketed with old grown boreal forest. You’ll find access to the Border Route Trail from this lake which is great for skiing in the winter as is the long portage for folks who want to do some skiing during the day. Interested in the fishing? You'll usually find lake trout hanging out in shallow water in Daniels...

Read more...
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...

Read more...
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....

Read more...
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...

Read more...

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...

Read more...
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...

Read more...