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!
Know Before You Go: Lutsen Mountains
Because this winter is a bit different, we thought we’d start a “Know Before You Go” series. As part of this series, we’ll explain what’s open and you need to know…before you go.
This week we wanted to chat about the biggest winter attraction in the area, Lutsen Mountains. Please note that this information is current as of today, December 30th 2020, but that it is changing all the time. For the most updated information, check out Lutsen Mountains website here.
Here is what you need to know before you go to Lutsen Mountains:
Buy Tickets in Advance. Lutsen Mountains has implemented daily capacity limits. This means that busy days will sell out. You can combine lodging and lift tickets by booking a Ski and Stay package or if you would like to stay longer and ski less, book your lift tickets separately from your lodging. You are required to purchase lift tickets and sign your waiver online and then you can pick up your tickets at the Gondola Base ticket office.
Use Your Car as your Basecamp. Because of the current guidelines in Minnesota, the restaurants at the Ski Hill are only open for takeout dining and bathrooms. This means you will be wanting to use your car to warm up and eat meals.
Arrive Together, Ride Together. Stick with your household on lifts. Guests are asked to self-group and load the lifts with their traveling party. Masks and 6 feet of social distancing are required when in lines and on the lifts.
The Rental Shop is Open. You are required to fill out rental forms online in advance and there are capacity limits for the building, so be sure to arrive early!
Other Information that’s Good to Know:
Bathrooms are open
Ski and Snowboard lessons are available
Outdoor seating is allowed with up to 4 people per table, from the same household
We are due for an update as the color has shifted quite a bit since last week’s Fall Color Report. We had some rain over the weekend and the maple canopy is beginning to come down. On a happier note, the Birch and Aspen trees are totally at peak right now. This means that the drive to the North Shore is breathtaking. It also means that any of the hiking trails closer to the lake are lit up with golden hues. Think Carlton Peak, Tettegouche State Park, Palisade Head, Lookout Mountain and today’s choice, Britton Peak.
This is the overlook from our hike at Britton Peak. Britton Peak is a swift vertical climb that offers sweeping views of Lake Superior and Carlton Peak. It’s perfect if you are looking for something quick and close to Bluefin Bay as it’s less than 3 miles away.
The perspective from the hiking trail is exquisite. The undergrowth is changing and the forest floor is covered in vibrant leaves. The little bit of rain also permeated the woods with the delicious scents of Fall.
It’s an extraordinary season on the North Shore. We all wish that Mother Nature would extend it, but it doesn’t look like that will happen this year. Stay tuned for next week – we’ll update you on the fall colors at the different properties that make up Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts!
Fall Color Report: September 22 – Oberg Mountain
We are kicking off Fall Color reporting with our favorite destination for this time of year, Oberg Mountain. We tagged along with the Activities Crew as they ventured out on their tour on Saturday and boy are we glad we did! As of today, the DNR is currently reporting our region to be in the 25-50% range.
It’s always a challenge to predict the peak colors on the North Shore. As many of you probably know, it happens in two distinct phases. First, the maples come ablaze with bright red and brilliant orange leaves. Secondly, the aspen and birch present their golden glory. Some argue there is a third phase when the tamarack trees begin to change, which usually occurs in late October or even early November.
We are very much in that first peak now and Oberg was a fantastic spot to view the colors. The maple trees are beautiful both from the ground and from the overlooks. The birch and aspen have just begun changing and have a little ways to go. The good news is that we don’t have any storms predicted in the forecast, which should help the leaves to hang on a bit longer this year.
If you are coming to stay with us this Fall, be sure to check the activities schedule in advance. We have guided hikes, bike & hikes, fall color kayaking and wilderness canoeing. All of these activities are designed to get our guests outside exploring the most colorful season on the North Shore.
Explore the North Shore by foot, kayak & more
New safety protocols to help keep you safe & healthy
Spring has finally sprung, summer is on its way, and this is the perfect time to explore our breathtaking North Shore by foot, bike and kayak! We’ve heard from many guests who have “cabin fever” and can’t wait to get out and enjoy the North Shore trails and open spaces.
We get it, and want to help you adventure safely. Here’s some helpful information about how to enjoy your favorite resort activities safely this spring and summer. Our aim is help you explore the North Shore safely — whether that’s venturing out on your own or joining one of our guided activities.
Guided Activities: Hiking in May; Biking, Kayaking, Yoga & More by June
Hiking: We’re offering a range of “socially distanced” guided hikes in May, with more in June and beyond. The waterfalls are gushing and it’s a great time to hike — though hiking boots may be required. Check our Activities Calendar for scheduled hikes.
Guests who join resort guided hikes should know a few things about our safety protocols. We’ll be asking guests to drive to the trailheads, rather than taking the Bluefin Bay shuttle, if possible. We’ll have room in the shuttle for up to one family group of four people. This will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis and participants riding in a Bluefin Bay shuttle van will be required to wear masks. You can bring your own or we’ll provide them.
Biking: We’ll be starting guided biking tours on area trails in June. In addition, we’ll offer our popular Temperance River Bike and Hike — a 2.1-mile ride along the Gitchi Gami State Trail, combined with a short hike along the Temperance River, and back to the resort. Check our Activities Calendar for specific bike excursions, dates and times. Social distancing protocols are in effect.
Again this year, we’ll be offering both inland kayaking and Lake Superior kayaking adventures. We’ll also be offering our popular Wilderness Canoeing activity on the Poplar River. Since our canoes and inland kayaks are two-person tandems, we’ll require that you tandem only with another person from your family group. We’ll also observe the more than 6 feet — or one moose apart — social distancing rule both while getting fitted and while out on the water.
Yoga: Who couldn’t use a little yoga these days for stress release? We’ll be offering more yoga classes than usual this spring and summer, and we’ve moved them to the Surfside ballroom to allow for more social distancing between participants. Check our Activities Calendar for more details.
Kid’s Adventure Club: Our planned kids’ adventures encourage curiosity, exploration and fun. This program offers a variety of activities from nature walks, to field games, to agate hunting on the beach. We invite parents to join in on the fun. Social distancing will be practiced during these activities. Parents are encouraged to join the fun.
Not comfortable in a group just yet – adventure on your own!
Our staff will be available to recommend areas to explore on your own and to supply maps and directions should you prefer to go solo. Bikes and tennis racquets will be available for checkout with our safety protocol in effect.
We look forward to helping you get out and enjoy the Lake and the North Shore this spring and summer.
Ready For Spring?
The official start of spring is almost upon us. Even though we are still enjoying outdoor winter activities to their fullest, we can’t help get a little excited for all things spring!
Got Spring Fever? We’ve got the cure. Take advantage of our Spring Fever Special and enjoy a FREE night when you purchase two nights (midweek night is free). This amazing deal starts March 22 and runs through May 31.
In addition, the waterfall season is almost here and it’s fair to say that the North Shore of Lake Superior has the best waterfall viewing of anywhere in Minnesota, perhaps the Midwest. This year we’re predicting an exceptional waterfall season. In fact, we are already seeing many rivers starting to put on their spring flow show as the days begin to warm up. You can easily spend a few days driving up and down highway 61 checking out all the wonderful falls. Learn more and get great travel tips for the waterfall season here.
Upcoming spring events and activities:
April 10-12: Easter Weekend activities at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts: Golden Egg Hunt, Saturday Egg Hunt, and Coloring Contest
March is here. Think long sunny days and star-filled nights. Rising temperatures and rolling Lake Superior waves. Crisp, clean snow and unbeatable outdoor adventure. Winter is at its peak up on the North Shore – and just in time for a Spring Break getaway. We have the best snow in the state. 400+ kilometers of groomed cross-country ski trails. Premier downhill skiing at Lutsen Mountains. Snowshoeing adventures. Outdoor and indoor hot tub & pools. Waves of Superior Spa. And some of the best deals of the year!
Make plans now to get outside and embrace winter at its best! Take advantage of these amazing March Offers for your much-needed Spring Break or late-winter getaway:
WINTER 4 FOR 3 SPECIAL: Stay four nights and receive one of those nights completely FREE! Valid now – March 22.
SKI AND STAY PACKAGES: March skiing is epic at Lutsen Mountains! For those who love to downhill ski and stay at the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, you’ll want to book a Ski & Stay Package for the best deal. We offer FREE daily shuttles to and from the base of the mountain, frustration-free equipment rental at our neighboring Sawtooth Outfitters, and a variety of Can’t-be-beat Ski & Stay Packages.
Lake Superior sets the stage. We’ll take care of the rest…
At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, our complimentary rental equipment, knowledgeable Guest Services team, and area attractions create the perfect trifecta to help you enjoy a customized winter adventure. Here’s an overview of our most popular winter activities.
Cross-countryskiing: With more than 400 km of Nordic ski trails in Cook County, you’ll never run out of places to explore. Check out complimentary cross-country ski equipment and explore the area trails at your leisure or join one of our free guided ski excursions.
Snowshoeing: Winter hiking is at its best up here. Explore the great North Woods with our complimentary snowshoes. Ask for a trail map at Guest Services or join one of our free guided snowshoe hikes.
Downhill Skiing & Snowboarding: Bluefin Bay offers complimentary shuttles to Lutsen Mountains Lutsen Mountains is the biggest & best ski resort in the Midwest. Check out our Ski & Stay Packages to get the best deal on ski and snowboard vacations.
Ice skating rinks at Bluefin Bay and Surfside are a hit with families and friends alike. Check out a pair of complimentary ice skates at Guest Services. We also offer hockey nets, sticks and pucks to sign out. End your skating time at one of our evening bonfires complete with s’mores…of course!
Nightly campfire and s’mores at Bluefin Bay and Pick up your complimentary s’mores packet at Guest Services.
Creative Kids Club– Join us as we get crafty building birdhouses and decorating them with a variety of craft supplies! Parents are encouraged to join in on the fun!
NEW! Craft Mini-Courses: We are excited to offer new mini-courses onsite as part of our resort winter Activities program! The courses are completely free and will introduce guests to the element of Northern craft. In February and March, we’ll be offering an Intro to Alcohol Ink Painting Class.
NEW!Fiber by the Fireplace: Join us at the Bluefin Bay guest services lobby for a relaxed evening with like-minded fiber artists! Bring a project you are working on and gather around the fire with a local fiber artist to share stories, work on projects, and soak up creative inspiration from others. All levels and abilities are encouraged to bring your fiber projects like knitting, crochet, needlepoint, etc. If you do not have a project to bring you can still join and learn the art of Kumihimo – a Japanese form of braiding! Our visiting local artist will also bring needles and hooks to use, plus yarn for sale if needed.
Yoga: Offered on Wednesday and Saturday mornings and all levels encouraged to attend.
Cross-country skiing is a low-impact full-body workout and a fun way to get outside and enjoy winter at its best. Not to mention, the scenery and stillness of the woods is something you can only find while out on one of the local trails along Minnesota’s North Shore.
But, what if you’ve never been cross-country skiing? Or, what if it’s been a very long time since you had skis strapped to the bottom of your feet?
Go For It. Give Cross-Country Skiing a Try!
When you’re a guest at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts our activities guides are here to help whether you are brand new to the sport, a beginner with minimal experience, or a more advanced skier looking for new trails and challenges.
Are you a new or beginner skier? We guarantee that with a little patience and practice you will have found a new favorite winter activity! We offer complimentary guided ski trips several days a week throughout the winter season. In addition to a guided trip and transportation to and from the ski trails, we’ll outfit you with all the gear you need. Our experienced activities staff will assist you in finding the correctly sized skis, poles, and boots. The right equipment can make all the difference and will help ensure a successful ski outing.
Classic and Skate Skiing. What Are They and How are They Different?
There are two main types of cross-country skiing utilizing different types of skis: classic and skate. Classic is the more traditional form of cross-country skiing and is the one that beginners usually learn first. Skate skiing is a bit more complex and utilizes the flat, wide groomed area on a trail. A v-shaped skating motion, when mastered, is a fast and exciting way to zoom around a trail system.
We provide equipment and tours for classic skiing only. Classic skiing is best done on groomed trails with two tracks – one for each ski. A forward lunging and sliding motion, combined with an alternating push off from your poles will propel you along the tracks. Our advice? Be patient! Because you will wobble, you may fall, and you will get tired. But, we are here to help you take it slow and discover the joys of cross-country skiing. Have kids? We have equipment for them too! In addition, kids are quick learners and the sooner you introduce them the sooner cross-country skiing can become a life long sport. Their favorite part is usually zooming down a hill and ‘accidentally’ falling into a pile of fresh snow.
Our guided tours take place on the local Sugarbush and Norpine trail systems. Both combine spectacular scenery with varied terrain and provide trails for beginners to experts. These are part of the more than 400 kilometers of groomed trails in Cook County. You will pretty much never run out of trails to explore!
Welcome to your new favorite winter sport!
The Holidays Are Happy at Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts!
The winter holidays are upon us! During this time of year, we like to reflect on the months that have gone by, the memories made, and the adventures that were had. Thank you to all of our wonderful guests who choose Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts as your getaway destination.
The holiday season is special and magical here on Minnesota’s North Shore. If you will be joining us over the holiday time between Christmas and New Year’s (or if you are thinking of planning a last-minute getaway!) here are a few resources to help plan your trip.
We have a wide variety of complimentary activities offered year-round. From winter hiking, and cross-country ski trips, to yoga and kids adventures, there is something for everyone this holiday season. Visit the online activity calendar to see a complete list and to help plan your stay.
Complimentary Equipment Rental! Cross-Country Skis, Snowshoes, Ice Skates, Hockey sticks and nets, ice grippers, and more can all be rented for free during your stay with us.
Cross-Country skiing has been great this season with most trails open. Join us on one of our guided resort ski trips or we can provide you with a map if you prefer to head out on your own. The Sugarbush Trails have their most popular trails groomed and open. Visit their website for up to date trail conditions.
Lutsen Mountains is now open daily for the ski season! Early snow and perfect temps for making snow have given them a fantastic base for December skiing. Visit their website for up to date conditions and trail maps. Book a Ski & Stay Package for the best deal. We offer FREE daily shuttles to and from the base of the mountain!
Celebrate the season with even more local activities and events! Live entertainment, art exhibition, brewery tours, great shopping and more will keep you busy and entertained this holiday season. Check out the Visit Cook County Events Calendar for a full list of happenings!
Closed on Christmas Eve
OPEN Christmas Day for Breakfast Lunch and Dinner with Holiday Specials.