Seize the season at Cook County’s Winter Tracks Festival

Grand Marais, MN January 9, 2014 – Hold onto your long johns! From Jan. 31 to Feb. 8, families and snow-lovers are invited to seize the season with Winter Tracks, an annual celebration that Minnesota Monthly called “one of the best winter festivals in Minnesota.”

Winter Tracks takes place in Cook County, in the northeast corner of the state, which includes the communities of Lutsen-Tofte-Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage.

The nine-day festival features one-of-a-kind events and attractions, among them:

  • Plein air (outdoor) painting with the Grand Marais Art Colony’s Winter Arts Festival, opening reception on Friday, Jan. 31
  • Lutsen Mountains Family Fun Festival from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, featuring fireworks and family Olympic games
  • Ridge Riders Snowmobile Fun Run on Saturday, Feb. 1
  • Snow sculptures on display on Friday, Feb. 7
  • Snowarama Snowmobile Ride at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino on Saturday, Feb. 8

Along with scheduled events, visitors can savor the Midwest’s biggest downhill skiing at Lutsen Mountains, explore more than 400 km of groomed cross-country ski trails — the largest such system in North America — ride over 450 miles of snowmobile trails, listen to live music, take horse-drawn sleigh rides, and more.

More information about Winter Tracks may be found at:

About Cook County, Minnesota

The Cook County Visitors Bureau is a destination marketing organization dedicated to economic development and maintaining the vitality of Cook County, Minnesota, including the communities of Grand Marais, Gunflint Trail, Grand Portage, Lutsen, Tofte and Schroeder. For more information, see


Maggie Barnard Events Manager, Cook County Visitors Bureau Office: 218-387-2788, ext. 102 Note to editors: High-resolution photos available upon request.

No waves guaranteed: New festival in Grand Marais and Lutsen, Minnesota to spotlight Lake Superior storms

Grand Marais, MN – October 24, 2013—Even though the dates coincide with those of a legendary gale, there are no waves guaranteed during the inaugural Lake Superior Storm Festival, which will be held November 7-10 in Lutsen and Grand Marais.

The festival dates coincide with the hundredth anniversary of the so-called White Hurricane. This ferocious 1913 storm clocked 90 mph winds, sank 19 ships and claimed hundreds of lives.

The Storm Festival — a celebration of the Big Lake’s wild side  — will feature:

  • the Wave Dash (a sprint-style polar plunge)
  • Superior Songwriters Shindig
  • a lighthouse-building contest
  • a fall fashion show
  • special-edition “Boreal Cyclone Pie,” with a base of pretzel crust, chocolate ganache, and peanut butter mousse, topped with caramel sauce, peanuts (representing boulders) and pretzel sticks (trees) in whipped cream (snow)
  • free talks on storm photography by Paul Sundberg and the legendary 1913 White Hurricane by Jim Shinners
  • and more

“Fall gales show the incredible power of Lake Superior,” said Linda Kratt, Executive Director at the Cook County Visitors Bureau, which is producing the event.

“It takes a special kind of person to appreciate that. The Lake Superior Storm Festival is for those people.”

Located in the northeastern tip of Minnesota, Cook County comprises the four communities of Lutsen-Tofte, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail, and Grand Portage.

Cook County’s attributes include Lake Superior north shore; a swath of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness; Minnesota’s highest peak, tallest waterfall and deepest canyon; Lutsen Mountains, the Midwest’s biggest ski resort; and 400 km of groomed cross-country ski trails — the largest such network in North America.

More information about the Lake Superior Storm Festival can be found at


Contact: Shelby Gonzalez Marketing Manager, Cook County Visitors Bureau Office: 218-387-2788, ext. 103

Lakeside start for Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race in Cook County, MN

Grand Portage, MN – Grand Portage Lodge and Casino a top race sponsor will host the first stage start of the second annual Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race. Fourteen dog teams begin from Grand Portage at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 4,2014 to compete for the $25000 purse. Cold temperatures and a lot of snow favor hard and fast trails for the dog teams this year.

Spectators will have many opportunities throughout the weekend to see the teams as they race through Cook County.

Race Director Beth Drost encourages everyone to get involved “Mushing is such an exciting sport to watch the dogs love to run and the mushers love the dogs. When they get together you can feel the energy. You just gotta see it!”

This year’s competitors include 2013 Gichigami Express winner, Ross Fraboni from Two Harbors. Tough competition arrives from British Columbia, world champion Bud Streeper will compete in the 2014 race. Other notable teams are Iditarod bound Nathan Schroeder, Alaskans Ryan and Erin Redington and Cook County local teams Odin Jorgenson, Frank Moe and Matthew Schmidt.

The Gichigami Express is a staged race with three starts and three finishes. The combined times determine the winner. The first stage is from Grand Portage Lodge and Casino to Hungry Jack Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. Expect teams at the finish line at Hungry Jack around 1:00pm. Day two starts Sunday morning at Trail Center Lodge at 9:00 a.m again and finishes at The Landing on Devil Track around 1:00 p.m. The third and final stage will start at The Landing and run back to Grand Portage with the teams arriving around 1:00 p.m. On Monday afternoon.

The Gichigami Express is supported locally. Lead dog sponsors include the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa,Trail Center Resort/Camp Chow and Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply. Many other sponsors, in-kind donations and volunteers have supported the second running of the race. Organizers thank everyone for working to make it happen.

The Gichigami Express Sled Dog Race is a non-profit organization that celebrates the tradition of mushing in Cook County, educates about the history and culture of mushing and supports local trail systems. The race organization seeks to involve schools and educational institutions as well as local community organizations in furthering its mission.

To follow the teams on-line go to or For more information call: 218-387-3572.


To follow the teams on-line go to or For more information call: 218-387-3572.