Top 5 winter activities to do while visiting the North Shore

There are many winter activities and sights to explore on the North Shore

To say it’s been a little chilly ‘up here’ is a bit of an understatement. We’ve had some brutally cold temps in the past two months and frankly, just in the last few days. Get ready, a heat wave is a-comin‘. With the temps set to warm up this week and through the rest of the month, there is no time like the present to venture up or over to the North Shore for some outdoor winter fun! Here’s a list of our staff’s top 5 favorite winter activities.

  1. Cross-country skiing

    The North Shore has the best cross-country ski trail systems in the state. We’d like to think so. With hundreds of kilometers of well-maintained trails, coupled with the plethora of terrain and beauty of the Northwoods, you just can’t have a bad day skiing. We have trails for all experience levels, trails that connect resorts and lodges where you can plan a stop for a cup of joe or to warm up midway through your ski and of course, trails with breathtaking views of this place we call home. Check out maps of various systems here.

    Did you know? If you are a guest of Lutsen Resort, you can join one of our guided cross-country ski tours or borrow ski gear (skis, boots and poles) for free. If you ski on a state trail, you will need to purchase a ski pass.

  2. Snowshoe hiking

    Not everyone is up for a go on the skinny skis and that’s ok. Heading out for a snowshoe hike can be just as rewarding. Hiking the Superior Hiking Trail is a popular option, but snowshoes also give you the flexibility to go “off trail” and explore the uncharted areas. Lutsen Resort guests can also borrow snowshoes or join a snowshoe hike, all complimentary.

    **Candlelight XC Ski & Snowshoe** 
    Sugarbush Trail Association will be holding their annual candlelight cross-country ski and snowshoe this coming Saturday evening, February 17th beginning at 6 pm. Meet in the Oberg parking lot and hit the trails lit by candlelight. When you’re done with your hike or ski, meet back at the bonfire and warm up with a cup of cocoa.

  3. Alpine skiing or snowboarding at Lutsen Mountains 

    When talking about things to do on the North Shore in the winter, Lutsen Mountains inevitably comes up in the conversation. Lutsen Mountains is the Midwest’s largest alpine and snowboard park and they are only a couple miles up the road from us. The park boasts four mountains, 95 runs, a 825′ vertical rise, new eight-passenger gondola and ample amounts of snow that make for the ultimate ski and snowboard experience.

    We offer ski and stay packages and we have a shuttle that runs to and from the ski hill. We’ll pick you up at your room (lodge lobby if you are staying in the main lodge) and take you to the ski hill and back. Please make sure to schedule a time with us in advance.

  4. Songwriter series at Papa Charlie’s

    If you are looking for something with a little less snow or you want to wind down after a long day of outdoor adventure, then you need to check out Papa Charlie’s Songwriter series. During the winter months, you can find live music every night of the week somewhere in Cook County. We are fortunate to have an abundance of talented, local musicians that play at various establishments and venues – however, the Songwriter series is a staff favorite. The series features the Midwest’s most talented songwriters in a theater-like setting. These are free to the public and run every Monday and Wednesday night during the winter. For a complete schedule, visit Papa Charlie’s event calendar

  5. Eat!

    After an eventful day in the great outdoors, you’re going to need to refuel. The area offers a number of great eateries, pubs and tap rooms. Whether you are looking for fine dining or a casual, sit-back and watch the game experience, there is something for everyone. We have two restaurants on site; our Lakeside Dining Room and our Poplar River Pub. The dining room provides a spectacular view of Lake Superior and the Poplar River Pub features Minnesota-made brews and spirits.

Welcoming the new season

Happy spring everybody! To kick off the new season, we are delighted to welcome you to our new blog. The purpose of this blog is to inform you of the latest and the greatest activities, events, and scenery in Lutsen and surrounding areas in a narrative form. Sharing pictures and stories will hopefully provide you with the feeling of a year round experience at Lutsen Resort from your home. Each season comes with different activities that you may not be aware of, and sharing these various opportunities may spark a visit that is out of the ordinary.

The spring weather came earlier than we had expected, especially after the long winter from last year, but there is still quite a bit of activity going on. At this point, we have the option to participate in both winter and spring activities. However, the weather patterns are unpredictable at this point; a heavy snowfall could be a game-changer. Keep an eye on the weather so you can plan accordingly.

As far as what we can do with the little bit of snow left,  the continuation of Onion River Road of the Sugarbush cross country ski trail system is still being groomed for skate skiing. I was actually out last night skate skiing and it was the best skate I’ve had all year. Outside of that, I would not recommend skiing due to open spots and dangerous conditions.

Onion River Road, Sugarbush Ski Trail

Onion River Road, Sugarbush Ski Trail

Thanks to the hard working snow makers up at Lutsen Mountains, the base at the ski hill is thick enough for the conditions to hold up for another few weeks. This makes for a legitimate spring ski vacation that is not too far away.

Moose Mountain

Moose Mountain

Border cross track on Mystery Mountain

Border cross track on Mystery Mountain

As for the upcoming forecast, we are expected to get a few inches of snow mid week, which could shape up the conditions and extend our winter activities.

On the flip side, if you are looking to switch gears and dive into the spring activities, sections of the Superior Hiking Trail closer to the lake are open for hiking, but be cautious of icy and or muddy spots. These trails take you along rivers, such as Cascade and Temperance, and offer mesmerizing views of frozen waterfalls and the refreshing sound of running water.

The paved Gitchi Gammi bike trail is open this time of year for biking and running, but again, be careful of snowy and icy sections. The trail section on our area starts in Lutsen and winds down along Lake Superior, through Tofte and Temperance River State Park and ends in Schroeder.

Gitchi Gammi Bike Trail

Gitchi Gammi Bike Trail

Our Frisbee golf course is free of snow and the grounds are surprisingly dry enough to play a round or two of disc golf; it is a bit early yet to start golfing. Seems like just yesterday we put the discs away for the season and now it’s already time to start pitching again!

Pitch and Putt Course at Lutsen Resort

Pitch and Putt Course at Lutsen Resort

Now that the ice has melted from the shoreline, people are starting to pick rocks again. This is the time to get down there and find those prize agates and other unique stones that were washed up during the winter. In the evening hours, you can sit down and keep warm by a campfire on the beach where you can also gaze at the beautiful starry sky.

Beach at Lutsen Resort

Beachfront at Lutsen Resort

The wonderful thing about recreating in the Midwest, is that we have the opportunity and gear to find or create a way to be active outside year round. On the North Shore, we are lucky to be surrounded by a diverse environment that offers endless activities, in all weather conditions.

Regardless of your personal interests, Lutsen can provide you with a memorable experience that caters to your preferences at anytime of day, during anytime of year.