Cook County MN has the largest network of largest cross country trails in North America with 400KM of pristinely groomed ski trails. Find the complete cross country ski trail conditions report here and updated weekly once the season begins.
Pincushion Mountain - Grand Marais
Current Trail Conditions: April 1, 2022: No Fooling, new grooming! All Green trails (Upper and Lower Snowman, East and West Overlook, Lynne's Loop) plus Pincushion Loop re-groomed. Skate deck widened and new tracks set. North Advanced and Canyon Curves scheduled to be groomed this evening. (Timothy Lederle, North Superior Ski & Run Club)Current Trail Conditions: From Jane Shinners, March 31, 2022: Hi friends, I want to let you know Jim groomed all the green trails this evening and said they are in great shape right now. And Jim and Chris are going out early Friday morning to groom and clear trees on the other trails. It should be a great day to ski there Friday and the weekend. =)ane
Firsthand Trail Reports (skinnyski.com) April 1, 2022: I am dancing a happy dance to the grooming gods! This was not spring skiing, this is the best conditions we've skied all year! We skied upper and lower snowman, Lucy's loop, west and east overlook and pincushion loop. One word - spectacular! (Karla Anderson)
Firsthand Trail Reports (skinnyski.com) April 1, 2022: I skied this morning. I did the upper loops, e.g. Snowman, and the Pincushion one. All the loops were packed, groomed and the classic tracks were set. Some short sections (4 or 5 feet) of the Pincushion collapsed but it was my favorite loop anyway. The snow was soft and very easy on the joints. It felt like touching a white head of excellent Czech pilsner. Pure pleasure. (Jacek Witkos)We are nearing the end of a wonderful ski season at Pincushion, and over the coming weeks the warming temps and mixed precipitation will erode our abundant snow base. We'll continue grooming as long as conditions allow. Generally, our lower elevation trails like Pincushion Loop thin out soonest. In the meantime, enjoy some great and warmer skiing conditions for a while. (Timothy Lederle, North Superior Ski & Run Club)
Y-Ski Program Update: We had another gigantic group of kids participating in Y-Ski this year, with 58 kids signed up for lessons and about 70 pairs of skis rented from our equipment inventory! There were so many kids that we had to split into six groups instead of five this year and it took 16 volunteer coaches, assistants, and substitutes to cover all of the action throughout January and February (thank you, thank you, THANK YOU). The season had a rocky start with freezing cold temps and harsh winds causing several cancellations in January (especially since we couldn't yet use the tiny chalet due to the pandemic). Still, most kids got a ton of skiing in at lessons and went on adventures with family or friends - those who were more hardy and didn't mind the cold still met up to ski on those below-zero days, and a number of families have continued the Sunday afternoon meetups well into March since the snow is still fantastic! Kids get to keep their equipment well into April so they can still take advantage of the good conditions.Some of my personal highlights of the winter included all the plentiful snow, meeting all the families new to town and our little new beginner group, watching the advanced Blue Group get their skate skis under them, and especially Quinn Johnson & friends' bake sale fundraiser for families in Afghanistan experiencing severe drought causing a dangerous famine situation. Everyone misses the post-ski chalet snacks and the weather was nice that day... so Quinn was able to raise $227 for the International Rescue Committee, which helped feed 30+ children for the month! This was a welcome event and brought a sparkle to Y-Ski that day which I haven't seen since back when we could have cool pre-pandemic events. We're looking forward to transitioning the program to a leadership team next year instead of a single Director position. If you are interested in helping share the joy of this program, please let us know ASAP! Tina Hegg Raway Y-Ski Program Director
The Pincushion Mountain Trail System is a 25 kilometer silent sport trail system perched high above Lake Superior, 2 miles north of Grand Marais, Minnesota. Because of its varied terrain, excellent trail design and spectacular vistas of Lake Superior and Devil Track River canyon, this trail system is enjoyed by thousands annually for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, running and mountain biking. With annual average snowfall of 110", Warming Chalet, Pisten Bully grooming for classic and skate skiing, Pincushion Mountain is a great Nordic skiing destination! More Information at www:pincushiontrails.org/
*Note that the only ski trail where dogs are allowed is the East Overlook Trail. Dogs are also allowed on the Superior Hiking Trail section which can be snowshoed or hiked out to the Pincushion Overlook and back.
Ski Pass Required:Minnesota Ski Pass required. More information on the pass and a link to purchase on-line is located at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/skipass/index.html
The North Superior Ski & Run Club (NSSRC) is pleased to receive a grant from the North Star Ski Touring Club to further develop our youth programs and special events. Grant funds were used to purchase dryland training equipment for the Superior Edge, a new program for the High School.
George Washington Pines Winter Recreation Trail - Gunflint Trail
Current Trail Conditions: From the USFS, Mar. 24, 2022: Greetings to all snow enthusiasts! George Washington Pines was groomed today.
Attention: This will be the final grooming for the winter season. And, nothing like going out with a bang! The extremely wet snow and warm temperatures have resulted in the most solidly-groomed ski trail yet. You know the drill: Avoid parking directly in front of the trail access, clean up after your dogs, and please keep snowshoeing activity to the left side of the trail (and out of the classic-tracked side). Today’s a great day to enjoy the gorgeous conditions, so get out there and make the most of it! (Tammy Cefalu, USFS)
George Washington Pines Winter Recreation Trail is a relatively short 3.3 km trail located fairly close to Grand Marais, only 6 miles up the Gunflint Trail. It passes through a beautiful grove of pines, the George Washington Memorial Pine Plantation. The plantation was established when 13 boys from the Grand Marais Boy Scout Troop #67 planted 32 acres of land with 14,570 Norway Pine and 7,500 White Pine in 1932 after a 1927 fire. More recently, in the summer of 2010, some of the understory was cleared to reduce hazardous fuels and create a better wildfire situation. The trail is shared between cross country skiers, snowshoers, and people using dogs for skijoring. People also might be simply hiking or walking their dog on the trail. Please respect other users by not fouling groomed ski tracks and by alerting dog users of your presence so as not to spook dogs by rapidly passing them on skis. Encourage your dog to use off trail areas for potty stops, but if the trail is used, pick up any dog droppings, and try to repair tracks melted out by dog piles. This is an easy trail, suitable for beginning skiers or for people looking for an easy access quick ski close to town. Dog owners need to clean-up after their pets.
Mushing/Skijoring: While traditional dogsleds do not work well on the short George Washington Pines Trail, it is open for skijoring where a harnessed dog pulls a person on cross country skis. Help to make the mix of activities on this trail work together. If you are skijoring, please remove all dog droppings from the trail and repair holes melted in the trail from dog leavings. If you are skiing, alert skijorers to your presence to avoid spooking dogs. Regardless of what you are participating in, if you find dog leavings or other litter left by careless other people, do your part and clean it up.
Skiing/Snowshoeing: Both skiers and snowshoers are welcome on the George Washington Pines Trail. The trail is groomed for classic skiing on one side and snowshoeing or skate skiing on the other. Please respect other users by not snowshoeing on groomed ski tracks.
No Ski Pass required to use the trail system at George Washington Pines.
Bally Creek Ski System - Grand Marais
Current Trail Conditions: Not provided by groomer. See below for Firsthand Trail Reports.
Firsthand Trail Reports (skinnyski.com) March 12, 2022: While beautiful weather today, the trails have not been groomed for several snowfalls, and out on Moose Rub Trail across the creek, tough slogging through very deep snow. But it was gorgeous and no mosquitoes! (Colleen Petters)
Bally Creek Trail System is a multiple short loop cross country ski trail system with several access points. The main access is a parking area off of FR 158 just short of Bear Track Camp. Depending on snow conditions and grooming, access is also off Cook County 45 and as a branch off of the Cascade River Ski Trails. Heavy snows will limit grooming some trails; travel on ungroomed trails is not recommended. This system is 25.0 km trackset. 11.0 km skate-ski. All skill level trails. Part of a 196 km ski-through network along the North Shore. Variety of cedar swamp, balsam and pine forest. Meanders along wildlife pond. Ski 17.6km from Bally Creek to Cascade State Park. Maps along trail.
Directions: The main access is from the south. Get on County 7 either from Grand Marais or from MN61 south of Grand Marais. Take County 48 a very short distance to FR 18 Bally Creek Road. Take FR 158 to the large parking lot on the left side of the road, just short of the rental cabins. The small parking area with the arch over the trail is for cabin users only; if you find yourself there, please turn around and park in the main lot.
Ski Pass Required: Minnesota Ski Pass required. More information on the pass and a link to purchase on-line is located at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/licenses/skipass/index.html
More information at Bally Creek Ski Trail System.