Skiing the North Shore

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

Skiing the North Shore
A guide to cross country trails in Minnesota's spectacular Lake Superior region

By Andrew Slade | ISBN 978-0-9794675-0-9 | $15.95 

2007 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award Winner, honorable mention

Get the skinny about the most gorgeous cross country ski trails in North America. Join Andrew Slade, an experienced guide and skier, as he takes you along all 700+ kilometers of trails which wind through the North Shore’s city and state parks, a National Forest, and private ski areas. Discover perfectly groomed trails that have earned intriguing names like Bear Chase, Otter Run, Mystery Mountain, Canyon Curves, and Lonely Lake.

This is a skier’s ultimate guidebook to the North Shore—describing 35 groomed trail systems from Duluth-Superior to Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail. You’ll learn about hidden gems and rediscover well-known state parks. Slade offers useful information about challenging trails for the expert skier, gentle and fun trails for a family outing, scenic overlooks where you can stop for lunch alfresco, and lighted trails where you can enjoy a romantic night ski.

Skiing the North Shore includes:

  • 44 detailed trail maps and driving directions to trailheads.
  • Helpful trail descriptions and difficulty ratings to help you plan your outing.
  • Fun-to-know facts about the Lake Superior region in winter.
  • Fees and pass requirements…and free trails, too!
  • Facility info, including warming shacks, restrooms & outhouses.
  • Resources for skiers, including snow condition hotlines and websites, equipment rentals, and road conditions.
  • Trailside lodging options, from campsites to condos.
  • The author’s top picks for best trail grooming, wildlife viewing, most family-friendly, best views of Lake Superior, and more.

This guide is for all who love to ski: beginners, recreational skiers, families, experienced skiers, classical and skate skiers.

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Skiing the North Shore is available from your local bookseller or you can purchase from

Reviews for Skiing the North Shore

If there’s a better guide to cross-country skiing the North Shore, we haven’t seen it yet. Duluth resident Andrew Slade provides the skinny on 35 skinny-ski jewels along Minnesota’s ersatz coast—from urban skiing on lighted trails along the Lester River to remote destinations along the Gunflint, where hard-core adventurers on the Banadad Trail can overnight in a yurt. In addition to maps, trail-access information, and difficulty ratings, this easy-to-navigate guide includes Slade’s top picks for trails that have the “best grooming,” trails that are “absolutely free,” and—our favorite—“trails my mother would like.”

Joel Hoekstra, Minnesota Monthly magazine

Very excellent guide to skiing the north shore! This book is an excellent guide to skiing the north shore of lake Superior. I have used it for two winters now and have not been disappointed. The author gives very clear descriptions of the various trails and locations. I have really enjoyed picking locations out of the book that sound interesting and then heading up north to ski those trails. I have not been let down yet and the book has indeed led me to several places that I probably would not otherwise have gone.

If you plan on doing any cross country skiing in northern MN I would strongly suggest that you pick this book up and use it as a guide. It is also fun to just sit and read about the trails and imagine what it would be like to be out skiing them during those times when you just can’t get up there to do any real skiing.

J. Helland “nordic skier”

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Much more than a guidebook. Besides being a comprehensive reference guide to the cross country ski trails along the North Superior Shore this book is an enjoyable read! That is because in addition to the regular reference material you would expect to find in such a guide, there is plenty of anecdotal information spread throughout the pages of book including tips and interesting facts about the area. A must have for anyone planning on skiing in the area for the first time or for anyone already familiar with the area but looking for other trails to ski.

Michael Halla

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Great guide book for cross country skiing the north shore. Andrew’s book is fantastic! Not only do we use this book for our daily excursions to many of the local trails, we get great feedback from others using this guide book. The great thing about this book is the detail of each trail. It is so nice to read a description and have the trail system be spot on to your expectations. This book costs less than a wax job for your skis and will last for years to come! I am currently in the process of trying to ski every trail in the book, it’s going to take a while, there are so many great options. Buy this book, you will be glad you did!

Adam Harju “ski guide”

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2007 Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards (NEMBA) honorable mention: An excellent guide to 35 groomed cross country ski trails along the Lake Superior shore, this volume stands out in its concise and vivid presentation. A wealth of information for the trails includes directions, maps, difficulty ratings, fees, lodging, and links to other resources. The format is highly portable, well illustrated, and easy to read, as the author shares his obvious delight in this quintessential northeastern Minnesota activity.

NEMBA Judges' statement

Andrew Slade has written a great guide to area cross county ski trails…and just in time. As one who typically falls down as soon as I slip into skis, I gave the book to one who is an avid skinny skier. The review was glowing.

Slade’s guide excels with both overview and detail trail maps as well as good narrative on what to expect for conditions along trail sections. He manages to make sense and easy access to the over 700 kilometers of groomed trails criss-crossing the Lake Superior region.

This definitely is one of those “don’t-leave-home-without-it” guides—and a perfect gift for anyone on your list who skis cross country, beginner or advanced.

Jay Andersen, Cook County News-Herald

Lots of great information about North Shore ski trails. “Skiing the North Shore” is just the kind of guide I like — it’s got lots of detailed maps and useful how-to information. I’ve skied many of the trails Andrew Slade has included in this book, and his descriptions are right on. They’ll be especially useful for people who don’t know much about the trails and are trying to decide which ones to pick. It’s hard, since there are so many beautiful trails! This guide definitely is worth the money.

Beth Gauper

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Skiing the North Shore is the best xc ski guide book out there. It covers every xc ski area near the North Shore of Lake Superior, from east of Duluth to Canada. There is a separate chapter for every trail system. Each chapter follows the same formula. It starts with trail head access, total groomed trail length (classical and skating), difficulty, pass requirements, trail head facilities, unique features, and contact info. The driving directions make it easy to find even the most remote trail heads, like Deer Yard. Next comes a map detailing the trail system including trails, parking, restroom locations, and nearby restaurants and lodging (if applicable). The map is followed up by a paragraph describing each loop or trail.

If you need help deciding where to ski, there are also a bunch of short “best of” lists. Each list has a hand full of ski areas that fall under topics like best grooming, off the beaten path, longest season, best downhill routes, and trails my mother would like. There is even a section on skiing frozen rivers.


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It’s THE book. Skiing the North Shore is THE guide to cross country skiing on the north shore of Lake Superior. I’ve lived in the area for the past six years and still come back to the book to find new places to ski or tips about which trails are the best. With the enormous amount of skiing in the area–over 400km in Cook County alone–it’s nice to have a guidebook along that includes everything.

A great book to keep in the glove compartment.

Bryan Hansel

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