Cross Country Skiing

     The Gunflint Trail is home to some of the finest cross-country skiing in the state of Minnesota.  There are wilderness portages, frozen Boundary Water’s lakes, and over  176 kilometers of marked and groomed tracked trails.  With good snowfall(an average of 100 inches per year) we can sometimes start skiing in November and ski all the way into April.  I need that much time just to ski all of my favorites on the Upper Gunflint Ski Trail System near Gunflint Lake.

     The Upper Gunflint System is just 12 miles from the end of the Gunflint Trail so it is where I ski the most often.  The Banadad Trail is a 29 kilometer trail that connects the Upper System to the Central Gunflint Ski Trail System near Golden Eagle and Bearskin Lodge. 

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     The numerous trails offer a wide variety of options for the cross-country skier to choose from.  There are trails groomed for classic skiing, skate skiing, and even ones lit for night skiing.  There are trails suitable for beginners and advanced skiers alike.  The Upper and Central Ski Systems are maintained by the resorts on the Gunflint Trail and require the purchase of a ski pass from one of the resorts.

      The Minnesota Ski pass is required to ski the Banadad Trail and any of the trails at Pincushion or along the North Shore.  All money raised from the sale of cross-country ski passes directly supports 1,800 miles of designated cross-country ski trails throughout Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  "The money collected is funneled directly into the grant-in-aid program to support and expand the trail system statewide, and to maintain it at the level skiers have come to expect."

     I’m grateful to the resorts on the Gunflint Trail for doing such a great job of maintaining the cross-country ski trails.  They are out there at all hours of the day and night working on the trails so they are in tip top shape whenever someone’s ready to ski.  It’s worth the small investment of the cost of a ski pass to be able to enjoy the awesome skiing on the Gunflint Trail.