It’s been an interesting winter so far in Cook County! We received plenty of snow early in the season and then went a little while without any new snow. Lately we’ve been getting a bit of snow here and there, but not the usual 2 feet snowstorms that we have gotten used to expecting in January.
Overall, the cross country ski trails are in excellent condition. The time period where we didn’t get new snow allowed for the trails to set up really nicely. The downhills can be a bit icy though so be careful! We received 3″ of new snowfall on January 24th and that has helped quite a bit. All trail systems in the area are groomed regularly. The Sugarbush Trail system, which is located nearest to the resort, is reporting phenomenal conditions. The Norpine Trail reports also indicate excellent conditions, but they are suggesting that because of the lack of snow down by the lake, the further away you can get from Lake Superior, the better.
Did you know that there are more than 400 km of cross country trails in Cook County? The trails in Grand Marais and up the Gunflint Trail are magnificent! To see conditions for all trails in Cook County, click here.
All of this information (and the photo below) is current as of January 27th. For consistently updated trail conditions reports, click here. You can also check out SkinnySki.com, which features firsthand trail reports.
**Reminder: Make sure to have a proper ski pass for whatever trail you are using. Trails in the Tofte area require the MN Ski Pass, which can be purchased at Bluefin Bay Guest Services. For maps and location information, click here or visit us the Activities Desk at Guest Services.
What’s that? An event is happening? Could it be? It’s true! Thanks to our local biking organization, Superior Cycling Association, the Norpine Fat Bike Classic will be safely happening on the North Shore between January 23-31, 2021.
The Norpine Fat Bike Classic is a fat tire biking event and being that it takes place in the middle of January, it is not for the faint hearted. There are two distances to choose between: a shorter 14-mile course and a longer 20-mile course. It costs $50 to sign up and the registration fee includes a membership to the Norpine Trail Association, entry into a prize drawing (which includes a two night stay at Bluefin Bay!), a bag lunch and some swag.
What’s different this year? With Covid-19, the event has been reimagined. Rather than a one day event, bikers will be able to ride the course anytime between January 23rd-31st. Riders are expected to be prepared with necessary repair equipment as the ride will not have aide stations on the course. You can register here.
If you have a Fat Tire bike and can’t make it during those dates, fear not. There are fat tire biking trails in the area that you can ride on all winter. Check out this map to see where you can ride, and be sure to purchase a trail pass!
So far in our “Know Before you Go” series, we’ve covered Lutsen Mountains and the town of Grand Marais. Next we are going to cover our wonderful town of Tofte! There aren’t a ton of shops in the town of Tofte, but we love supporting the ones that are here.
This store is located next to Coho Café and is a favorite with our guests! Right now the hours are a bit sporadic, and we have found that the best place to check is their Facebook page as they update that pretty regularly. It’s most often open from Thursday-Monday this time of year.
Our favorite outdoor adventure store! Sawtooth Outfitters offers rentals of downhill skis and snowboards as well as fat tire bikes! They are open from 8am-6pm, Thursday-Monday.
Waves of Superior Spa
Waves of Superior Spa, located at our Surfside property, is open for massage services. They are operating with a reduced capacity and are not accepting walk-in appointments at this time. Learn more and book your appointment here.
Tofte General Store has all of your basic needs and they are open daily from 8am-7pm (they close at 6pm on Sundays). Holiday Station Store in Tofte also carries most of your basic supplies and they are open from 6am-10pm daily.
There are two liquor stores that are super close to Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts. Tofte Bottle Shop, located just across the highway, is open from 8am-7pm and 11am-6pm on Sundays. Temperance Liquors, located near Temperance Landing, is open from 11am-7pm Monday through Saturday.
Our favorite local attraction, the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum, is unfortunately closed for the winter season.
Tofte Town Park is a great spot to wave watch or have a picnic, as weather allows!
We hope this information is helpful! These details are current as of today, January 13, 2021, but hours can change. For the most current information, click here.
If you’ve visited Bluefin Bay then you have likely made a trip to the quaint, nearby harbor town of Grand Marais. It’s about 25 miles north of Bluefin Bay on Highway 61. The town is known for its cute shops, art galleries, live music, yummy restaurants and the harbor itself.
A trip to Grand Marais looks a bit different in the winter and even more different during Covid-19, so we wanted to make sure to let you know what to expect. We’ll start by saying that most businesses are open and we definitely recommend you go.
Firstly and most importantly, be sure to check hours! Our local information center, Visit Cook County, does an excellent job of maintaining current business hours for both retail and dining. You can find those hours listed here. Also, you can find a map of the town here.
Next, go hungry and plan to shop! There are many tasty restaurants in Grand Marais. Whether you are looking for tacos, a brewery, pizza and burgers or just a good cup of coffee, you will find great options for meals in town. There are also wonderful art galleries and gift shops in Grand Marais and most are open year-round. It’s important to support small businesses this year and Grand Marais has many.
Lastly, we would recommend that you plan some time to go see the lighthouse. The lighthouse in the Grand Marais harbor is absolutely iconic and it’s the perfect spot for a photo op. We recommend heading out just before sunset. Be careful though! It can get pretty icy in the winter. If the walk to the lighthouse isn’t safe, you can still see across the harbor from the coast guard parking lot.
Final note. If you are reading this blog post and Covid-19 is over, we have to tell you about one more thing. Grand Marais is home to two of the coolest institutions: North House Folk School and the Grand Marais Art Colony. Plan ahead and sign up for a class or just stop by and say hi. The folks here are some of the kindest, most creative people you will ever meet! Both places host fun events, too!
We hope you find this information helpful in planning your next trip to Grand Marais.