One Cool Festival: Winter Tracks to Take Place February 4-13, 2011

Cook County, MN – Monday, December 13, 2010 – Hold on to your long johns because you’re about to introduced to how Cook County does winter. From February 4-13, 2011, the Cook County Visitors Bureau will host the Winter Tracks Festival throughout the North Shore and Gunflint Trail. This 10-day celebration of the season highlights the best winter has to offer with downhill and Nordic ski events, snowmobiling, ice skating, live music and many more family-friendly activities scheduled throughout the week.

“From more than one hundred inches of annual powder and the state’s highest peaks to North America’s largest network of cross-country ski trails, winter doesn’t get any better than it does up in Cook County. Winter Tracks is our way of introducing visitors to the excitement and adventure of a Cook County winter,” said Sally Nankivell, Executive Director of the Cook County Visitors Bureau. “Our events and activities lets families and snow-lovers experience the season in a way that can’t be matched anywhere else in the upper midwest.”

The festival kicks off on Friday, February 4 with the Lutsen Mountains Family Fun Fest, a chance for families to experience downhill skiing in a fun and affordable way. On Saturday, February 5, snowmobilers can tour some of the area’s 450 miles of groomed trails with the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Fun Run beginning at the Devil Track Resort or Hungry Jack Lodge, or participate in the Easter Seals Snowarama at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino.

Joining the Winter Tracks schedule this year is the third-annual Volks Ski 400. Held on Saturday, February 12, this non-competitive Nordic ski event will attempt to cover the county’s 400km of professionally groomed ski trails – North America’s largest ski trail system – in a single day. Skiers will sign up to ski sections of the network and cumulatively cover the county’s trails. Like the European tradition of Volksmarching after which the event was modeled, the Volks Ski 400km is designed for first-timers, seasoned skiers or anyone who wants to get out and enjoy the beauty of a Cook County winter. Skiers also have the option of participating in the individual Volks Ski challenge, a season-long effort to cover as much of the 400km system as possible.

In addition to skiing and snowmobiling, venues throughout the county will offer activities and events for the whole family throughout the 10-days festival. Guests can visit specially commissioned snow sculptures throughout the county, ice skate, follow luminary lit ski trails, participate in guided snowshoe tours, listen to live music, take dog sled or horse-drawn sleigh rides, and other scheduled activities. More information on Winter Tracks and a full schedule of events can be found at: www.cookcountymnevents.com/wintertracks

The Cook County Visitors Bureau

Formed in May 2010 through the merger of The Cook County Events and Visitors Bureau, Grand Marais Area Tourism Association, Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association, Gunflint Trail Association, Grand Portage Tourism, and Lutsen Mountains Corporation, the Cook County Visitors Bureau (CCVB) is a tourism organization dedicated to economic development and maintaining the vitality of Minnesota’s North Shore and the Gunflint Trail. For more information, visit www.donorth.mn.

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Jodi Petrich
612-868-7541
jodi@marketingmatters-mn.com

Making Tracks: Volks Ski 400km Takes Place February 12, 2011

Cook County, MN – Monday, December 13, 2010 – With the Cook County snow base building by the day, Nordic skiers will soon have the chance to make tracks and history on the nation’s largest groomed ski trail system. The Volks Ski 400km will be held on Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011 as part of Winter Tracks, the 10-day family-friendly celebration of winter taking place in Cook County.

This non-competitive Nordic ski event is designed with the goal of covering the county’s entire 400km of professionally groomed ski trails in a single day, a feat no group has ever accomplished. Skiers will pre-register for sections of trail, ensuring that every kilometer of the system is crossed by a set of skinny skis at least one time during that day. Inspired the European tradition of Volksmarching, a non-competitive walk or hike, the Volks Ski 400km is designed for individuals of any age and ability.

“Because we have such an extensive and diverse network of trails, veteran skiers, first-timers and everyone in between will find something suitable, fun and breathtakingly scenic,” said Sally Nankivell, Executive Director of the Cook County Visitors Bureau. “The Volks Ski event is a chance to get out on those trails, enjoy a Cook County winter and join together to accomplish something that’s never been done before.”

Volks Ski 400km participants must sign up in advance and can select specific sections of the trail system, including Sugarbush, Cascade River, Bally Creek, Pincushion, Upper and Central Gunflint and the Banadad trail systems. Skiers may participate as individuals or teams. A Minnesota ski pass will be necessary for participants to ski Cook County’s public trails such as Pincushion, Cascade and Sugarbush. The upper and central Gunflint Trail systems are privately maintained and require a separate ski pass.

New to Volks Ski this year is the individual 400km challenge. Rather than covering the network of trails in a single day, individual challenge participants are invited to register and log their Cook County skiing mileage throughout the winter season, with the same goal of covering as much of the 400km system as possible. Detailed trail maps and interactive mileage tracking will be provided to all competitors.

More information on the Volks Ski 400km single day and individual challenges can be found at www.volksski.com

Make tracks both on and off the trails
Skiers participating in the Volks Ski event – and non-Nordic skiing visitors – are invited to take part in other Winter Tracks events taking place throughout the North Shore and Gunflint Trail from February 4-13, 2011. Hosted by the Cook County Visitors Bureau, this 10-day celebration of the season highlights the best of winter has to offer with daily events including downhill skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating, live music, dog sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides and many more family-friendly activities. More information on Winter Tracks and a full schedule of events can be found online at www.cookcountymnevents.com/wintertracks.

The Cook County Visitors Bureau

Formed in May 2010 through the merger of The Cook County Events and Visitors Bureau, Grand Marais Area Tourism Association, Lutsen-Tofte Tourism Association, Gunflint Trail Association, Grand Portage Tourism, and Lutsen Mountains Corporation, the Cook County Visitors Bureau (CCVB) is a tourism organization dedicated to economic development and maintaining the vitality of Minnesota’s North Shore and the Gunflint Trail. For more information, visit www.donorth.mn.

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Jodi Petrich
612-868-7541
jodi@marketingmatters-mn.com