Skiing

Minnesota’s North Shore is home to some of the best cross country skiing in North America. A lucky bit of geology created the rugged Sawtooth Mountains and the world’s largest freshwater lake. To this amazing landscape, add consistent snowfall and ski trails built by the descendants of Scandinavian logging and fishing families. With over 700 kilometers of groomed ski trails for you to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect skiing experience.


Skiing the North Shore

A guide to cross country trails in Minnesota's spectacular Lake Superior region

A skier’s ultimate guidebook to the North Shore, describing 35 groomed trail systems from Duluth and Superior to Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail.… read more


Posts from Skiing

It’s North Shore candlelight season
February 5, 2013 by Andrew Slade

It’s North Shore candlelight season

We are in the heart of North Shore winter right now, with enough snow along the shoreline and the Sawtooth Mountains for almost any of your favorite winter activities. Some of the most popular winter events in North Shore state parks are the annual Candlelight events. Clear your calendar for the next few weekend evenings, because these magic outings in the winter woods are coming soon!These are great community events. You have never seen our parks so full of life on a dark winter night. Volunteers have worked long hours creating the luminaria, packing the trails, and lighting the lanterns.Trails … read more


Spirit Mountain nordic trails: The same, only better
January 31, 2013 by Andrew Slade

Spirit Mountain nordic trails: The same, only better

The cross country ski trails at Duluth's Spirit Mountain have been an insider's mecca, a system of well-groomed trails in lovely hardwood forest that only a few folks seemed to know about. Those that knew it, loved it. If you didn't know it, well...Over the summer, the Spirit ski trails got a major makeover, both physically and logistically. The trails are no longer managed by the Spirit Mountain ski hill, but are cared for by a partnership between the City of Duluth and the Duluth XC Ski Club (DXC). DXC volunteers took a hard look at the trail system and came … read more


Duluth cross country ski trails: 2013 winter update
January 8, 2013 by Andrew Slade

Duluth cross country ski trails: 2013 winter update

When you think of skiing and precipitation, most people think about snow. But it's been rain that has affected our trails the most. The great Duluth flood of June 2012 has impacted cross country skiing in Duluth at least as much as this winter's snow. Here is your guide to Duluth's city ski trails in this post-flood winter, working from west to east.Magney Ski TrailAt the far western end of Duluth is a large and wild 13 kilometers of ski trails that wind through the old-growth forests of a city scientific and natural area. Sadly, the June floods wiped out … read more


Are you addicted to skiing? Take this easy test!
November 27, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Are you addicted to skiing? Take this easy test!

Are you addicted to skiing? Take this easy test and find out!So we're starting to get some halfway decent early season snow on the North Shore ski trails. In some places, the groomers are even out fixing up ski tracks. Just how committed are you to cross country skiing? How many pairs of skis do you own?A) ZeroB) 1-2C) Not enough How far have your friends ever driven for a ski outing?A) 1 mileB) 2-10 milesC) Idaho, AlaskaDo you apply storage wax to your skis in the spring?A) What’s storage wax?B) No I just leave on whatever goop I last … read more


Banff Mountain Film Festival…in Duluth
November 16, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Banff Mountain Film Festival…in Duluth

Take 200 skiers, hikers and climbers out of their funky North Woods cabins. Dress them up in wool and recycled nylon. Send them for a night out at the movies. Pack them all into a high school auditorium and show them films of beautiful wild places and crazy outdoor adventures. That's the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival event in Duluth, and it's happening again this Sunday and Monday, November 18 and 19.  This is a seriously special event for Duluth:Like November snow, it's totally freshThese films are the winners from a festival in Banff Alberta that just wrapped up a few … read more


Tour Duluth 2012: SKI THEM ALL
March 13, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Tour Duluth 2012: SKI THEM ALL

Hans at Chester Bowl, Trail #5, 1:45 PM Tour Duluth is the year-end celebration of Duluth's great cross country ski trails. It's organized by the Duluth Cross Country Ski Club, or DXC for short. Duluth has over 80 kilometers of groomed ski trails spread from far west to far east, and including both city trails, a private system, and the University's nature area trail.  Mark at the Magney Ski Trail trailhead. Trail #1, 8:30 AM We were going to SKI THEM ALL. Some people try to ski all 80-plus kilometers in a day. Not me. It was quantity over quality for me. I … read more


The great lake swirl: WAY better late than never
March 6, 2012 by Andrew Slade

The great lake swirl: WAY better late than never

What an amazing day we had on Saturday here in Duluth. The meteorologists got it all wrong in the right way. What started as a forecast of an inch or two of snow overnight turned into the biggest single dump of snow we've had in over a year. Apparently, two air masses ran into each other over the western part of Lake Superior and the resulting lift sucked the moisture out of the open lake water and turned it into snow. Lots of snow. Snow that fell all day. We shoveled three times just for the joy of shoveling. Meteorologists, at … read more


Three little words to warm a skier’s heart
February 26, 2012 by Andrew Slade

Three little words to warm a skier’s heart

No, they aren't "I love you." Or "Time for bed."  It's "Winter Storm Warning." Here's the latest from the National Weather Service. WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM CST MONDAY SNOW ACCUMULATIONS...STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL AMOUNTS WILL RANGE FROM 5 TO 8 INCHES...WITH 6 TO 10 INCHES POSSIBLE OVER THE ELEVATED TERRAIN NEAR LAKE SUPERIOR FROM FINLAND TO TOFTE TO GRAND PORTAGE. Even though it's five words long, the phrase "elevated terrain near Lake Superior" is a total heart-melter. That puts me right back in to the amazing ridges and trails, from Tettegouche through Sugarbush all the way to Pincushion Mountain.Let's go … read more


A great classic-only ski trail in Brule
February 12, 2012 by Andrew Slade

A great classic-only ski trail in Brule

I have a new favorite ski trail. Call me old-fashioned, but that trail happens to be the "Classic Trail" at the Afterhours trail system in Brule, Wisconsin. It's been such a disappointing snow year in Duluth and on the North Shore, so I've been delighted to take a 45-minute drive through Superior, Wisconsin and east along US Highway 2. In fact, I went twice this weekend. Not only do they have ample snow there, but they have a great 7 kilometer trail. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="357"] No skating allowed on the lovely Classic Trail at Brule.[/caption] Unlike the rest of the trail system … read more


At long last, real skiing
January 30, 2012 by Andrew Slade

At long last, real skiing

FINALLY...a great day on the ski trails. It took a few good Lake Superior lake-effect snow dumps on the South Shore, but at long last we have decent natural snow within a short drive of Duluth. The Slade/Rauschenfels clan dove in yesterday, and though I nearly skied my legs off, it was totally worth it. It was the first real skiing I've had all winter. What do I mean, "real" skiing? On natural snow, not manmade snow at a downhill ski area. Longer, bigger trails that run through the countryside. A real deep classic ski track I can trust to guide me along. We went … read more