Lonnie Dupre, a resident of Grand Marais brings his 25 years of experience in Arctic exploration and mountaineering to Bluefin Bay Resort on Friday, March 20th. He will be screening his recently completed documentary, Cold Love, at 7 pm in the Bluefin Bay Tofte Room. In Lonnie’s own words, “Cold Love… is about Arctic adventure and the world’s need – people’s need – for snow and ice. Snow and ice are important in our polar regions because they help reflect the sun’s energy back into space. Basically, the planet’s polar regions act as a thermostat to keep our planet cool.”
Lonnie was born in 1961 and raised on a Minnesota country farm. He is descended on his mother’s side from Jacques Cartier, the French explorer and founder of Quebec. Wanderlust is obviously in his blood. Fresh off of his historic solo January summit of Denali (aka Mt. McKinley), Lonnie is one of the many colorful characters that now calls this beautiful corner of the world home. He is intimately familiar with the reasons why Grand Marais was just voted America’s Coolest Small Town 2015 – according the Budget Travel. He enjoys woodworking alongside the masters at the North House Folk School and backcountry skiing in the Quetico/Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. His affinity for nature and adrenaline drives him in his pursuit to etch his name in the annals of exploration beside the likes of legends like Edmund Hillary and Reinhold Messner.
Through his many endeavors, Mr. Dupre hopes to raise awareness about climate change and inspire others to make choices that will help to preserve the world’s cold places as well as the cultures and creatures that make those places their home.
With numerous cold weather expeditions under his belt, Lonnie knows more than most about the subzero landscape in and around the Arctic Circle. He has accumulated a long list of accolades living life in the deep freeze. In 1991/92, Lonnie and Malcohm Vance completed the first west to east; 3000 mile winter crossing of Canada’s famed Northwest Passage by dog team. Between 1997 and 2001, Lonnie along with John Hoelscher achieved the first circumnavigation of Greenland, a 6500 mile, non-motorized journey by kayak and dog team. Lonnie has pulled sleds on skis from Canada to the North Pole twice. The first time was in 2006 under the One World Expedition while drawing attention to issues surrounding climate change. The second time was in 2009 where the team endured -56F temperatures on the 650-mile journey. An impressive career by all accounts, but it still wasn’t enough to satisfy.
Lonnie also knows well what it means to hold onto one’s hopes and dreams. Before successfully soloing Denali on January 11th, 2015, Lonnie spent 4 years becoming acquainted with the fickle and unforgiving mountain. In 2010 he successfully reached the peak with 3 other climbers. From 2011 to 2013 he made three attempts at Denali that were all thwarted by dangerous weather conditions. Enough to make even the heartiest individual give up when facing such improbable odds.
Only 9 expeditions, totaling 16 people, have ever reached the Denali summit in winter. 6 deaths occurred during those climbs. Of those climbs, only four were solo, and none of them were in January. The first month of the year is consistently the darkest and coldest season on the mountain. There is only 6 hours of sunlight each day and temps frequently drop below -60 degrees Fahrenheit with winds regularly exceeding 100 miles per hour.
Come join us on Friday, March 20th at 7pm in the Bluefin Bay Tofte Room and find out what compels a man to write his name in the record books. After screening his one hour film, Lonnie will have a question and answer session. He will also be signing copies of the books he has authored: Life on Ice and Greenland: Where Ice is Born.
The DuLutsen North of North Music and Ski Festival will be in full swing by then. Shortly after the screening, the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank will be playing at 9:30pm at Papa Charlie’s located on Lutsen Mountains. Tired Eyes will be picking up where the Hobo Nephews leave off at 11pm.
Come sample some of the new menu items at the Bluefin Grille for dinner, catch the Cold Love screening with Lonnie Dupre, then head on over to DuLutsen and rock out until the morning comes. How much more fun can you cram into one night?
– Mitch Travis, Bluefin Bay Activities Director