Witnessing the northern lights is a common bucket list item (and for good reason!). They truly are a sensational natural phenomenon. Luckily for us, the northern lights can be visible from Tofte due to our northern location and clear, dark skies. Because this activity is something you can do alone or with your loved ones from your car, it is ideal for this socially distanced winter.
The best time to spot the elusive show is during the winter on a clear night. There are helpful websites which track the levels of geomagnetic activity in different areas, known as KP levels. The KP levels are on a scale of 0-9 and give you an idea of where you can go to see the auroras. In order to see them in Tofte, you will be looking for a KP level of 4 or higher. The website we recommend checking is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Now you may be wondering where to go about seeing the northern lights. The easiest location would be right in front of the Bluefin Grille. The peninsula there extends out into Lake Superior offering a view of the northern sky (like shown in the photo). Be sure to bring a flashlight so you can navigate carefully! Another great spot is up the Sawbill Trail about three miles. There is a pull off area on the left side of the road which features an expansive view of the northern sky. Remember to face north (that one is important!) and to turn off any artificial lights nearby. Bundle up and good luck!
Cross Country Ski Trails Update
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.
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
Special Winter Offers for Extraordinary Winter Adventures
It’s time to decompress from the busy holiday season, make plans for the new decade, and embrace all that winter can provide. After all, Cozy evenings by the fire, bright blue skies, crisp snow-filled days, and time enjoying winter adventures is what these winter months are all about.
Make the most of your winter getaway with our special offers and packages available in January and February:
JANUARY 3 for 2 SPECIAL:Valid Dates: Jan. 1 – Jan. 31, 2020. Enjoy winter at its absolute best! Stay three nights at any of our Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts and receive one of those nights completely FREE!
WINTER 4 for 3 SPECIAL: Valid Dates: Feb. 1-March 22, 2020. Stay four nights and receive one of those nights completely FREE!
WINTER ADVENTURE SPECIAL: NEW WINTER OFFER! Valid Feb. 2-March 5, 2020. This winter, we’re offering our popular 3-2 special midweek for those who want to head north to ski, skate, board, sled, swim, climb, dance, explore, shop. Stay three nights midweek (Sunday-Thursday) and receive one of those nights completely FREE — in peak winter!
WINTER MIDWEEK 25:Valid Feb. 2-March 5, 2020. Stay two nights midweek (Sunday-Thursday) and receive 25% off. Yep, that’s 25% off our winter rates during peak winter!
SKI & STAY PACKAGES: Enjoy Lakeside Views & Slope-Side Access! For those who love to downhill ski at Lutsen Mountains and stay at the Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, you’ll want to book a Ski & Stay Package for the best deal.
March Offers: Late Winter At Its Best!
Minnesota’s North Shore has been given the gift of over 4 feet of snow this winter season. As a result, we’ll be enjoying snow sports through March and into April. Yippee! Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing & snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoe hiking, and fat tire biking trails are in prime condition. 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! Experience winter outdoor adventure and indoor relaxation at its best when you stay at any of the Bluefin Bay Resorts in March! This offer includes a complimentary night’s stay when you purchase three nights or more through March 25, 2019.
MARCH WEEKENDS AT MIDWEEK RATES: Stay three nights or more and receive weekends in March at midweek rates. Valid Dates: March 4-20, 2019. Enjoy midweek rates on the weekends throughout most of March. Stay three nights or more and pay the midweek rate on your weekend lodging. A savings of up to 30%!
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.
Some languages have words for which there is no single or defined translation. In Danish, hygge (pronounced “HOO-gah”) is one such word. It’s basically a word for enjoying life’s simple pleasures. In the winter, especially, we embrace the feeling of hygge. During this time, we seek cozy spaces and meaningful moments spent with family and friends. Hygge promotes emotional wellbeing and gives us a sense of togetherness and contentment. This feeling can happen whether we are doing something simple and ordinary or having an extraordinary winter adventure.
Cook County is celebrating its 3rd annual Hygge Festival February 8 – 14. You’ll find events to celebrate the ‘cozy season’ all along the North Shore from Tofte to Grand Portage. Live music, night skiing, dog sled tours, special dinners, artsy events, and more have been scheduled to help you embrace life’s simple pleasures.
At Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts, we’ll help you get into a hygge state of mind. Imagine a day spent enjoying winter fun: carving out the fresh powder at Lutsen Mountains, gliding along freshly groomed cross-country ski trails, or exploring a local frozen river followed by a cozy dinner at the Bluefin Grille. Afterward, curl up with a good book or jovial conversation with loved ones around a warm fire while listening to the waves of Lake Superior right outside your window.
In addition, check out the resort guided activities and entertainment available during your stay – We even have complimentary cross-country ski, snowshoes, and ice skate rentals. Indoors, you’ll enjoy upscale accommodations, fireplaces, and breathtaking views of Lake Superior. We want to make it easy for everyone to create their perfect recipe for hygge!
More Snow! More Fun!
Oodles of snow has fallen on Minnesota’s North Shore this winter. 2019 started with a storm that brought almost 24 inches. In addition, another 10+ of inches of snow fell last night. As a result, all outdoor winter adventures are in full swing and prime condition. Snow lovers rejoice!
It’s time to book your getaway and enjoy winter at its best. Take advantage of our incredible winter offers!
January 3 For 2 Special: Stay three nights and receive one of those nights completely FREE! Valid Dates: Jan. 1 – Jan. 31, 2019
Winter 4 For 3 Special: Stay four nights and receive one of those nights completely FREE! Valid Dates: Feb. 1-March 25, 2019, excluding President’s Day Weekend