Minnesota Activities: 15 Sledding and Tubing Hills you don’t want to miss!

15 MINNESOTA HILLS FOR SLEDDING & SNOW TUBING

Sledding near Elbow Lake - Orr - photo by Laura Dekowski

Sledding near Orr / Laura Detowski

There’s something magical about riding down a hill on a sled or tube. Perhaps it’s the exhilarating feeling of sitting just above the ground and sailing down a snow-covered slope. Or maybe it’s the nostalgia adults experience as they give their kids a push or watch them trek up a hill, sled in tow. While Minnesota’s landscape is different from north to south and east to west, opportunities to ride sleds and tubes down snowy hills can be found in all regions of the state.

Some of the state’s best sledding and tubing options are well known to folks who live in the area—local gems, of sorts—while others can be found at state parks or on other public properties. Some of them are free to use but require sledders or tubers to provide their own equipment. At others, riders can rent equipment, hang onto tow ropes to get back to the top of the hill, and warm up in heated shelters. Keep in mind, too, that some hills offer both sledding and tubing, while others provide opportunities for one or the other.

Sledding and tubing are fun wintertime activities for adults and children alike that, in many cases, require little in the way of skills or equipment beyond what most people already have. Simply dress warmly, grab a sled or tube, and head out to the hills for a day of fun.

Below are some of Minnesota’s best options for sledding and tubing, broken down by region. But consider this list just a start–with a little legwork, you’ll likely be able to uncover even more close-to-home places to spend the day riding down a hill.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL AREA

NORTHEAST

CENTRAL

SOUTHERN

NORTHWEST

  • J.A. Hughes Elementary School, Red Lake Falls
  • Bemis Hill, Warroad
  • Croviseir Park, Detroit Lakes
  • Buena Vista Ski Area   http://www.bvskiarea.com/tubingpark.html

A NOTE ABOUT SAFETY

Sledding and tubing for many children in Minnesota is almost a rite of passage, but there is some risk involved anytime someone takes a ride down a hill. That goes for people riding plastic sleds or saucers, rubber tubes or wooden toboggans. Following are some tips from Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota to ensure sledding and tubing is done as safely as possible:

  • Adults should accompany children on sledding adventures–and ride down the hill with kids who are under 5 years old.
  • Wear a helmet to prevent against head injury and avoid items such as scarves that can get wrapped around objects. Wear waterproof clothing, and pack extra along if you plan to stay out for an extended period of time.
  • Pick hills that don’t have fences, streets, trees and water nearby. Ensure there’s a flat area at the bottom to stop.
  • Take turns going down a hill to avoid collisions.

5-WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF A MINNESOTA WINTER

Winter in Minnesota is the perfect time of year to get together with loved ones, embrace old traditions, or even start some new ones. Here are just five of the many ways to make the most of this special season.

GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth

A hallmark of the holiday season in Germany and Austria, holiday markets—called Christkindlmarkts—have made their way to Minnesota. Holidazzle will take place in Loring Park again this year and will feature more than 40 vendors selling ornaments, candles and other handcrafted gifts, as well as mulled wine and brats. Other highlights include fireworks, Santa visits, holiday movie screenings and free ice skating. The destination is open Thursdays-Sundays from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23 and is free to attend.

Holiday plays and performances are a tradition for many families this time of year. Festive favorites include “A Christmas Carol” at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and the Rochester Civic Theatre, a dozen iterations of “The Nutcracker,” from classic to hip-hop, and Christmas concerts by artists including Kat Perkins, Blind Boys of Alabama, Lorie Line and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

For light shows worth a drive, don’t miss Duluth’s Bentleyville Tour of Lights, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato and the Trester Trolley Light Tours in Winona. New in 2016, “Bruce Munro: Winter Light at the Arboretum” is the first large-scale outdoor light display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

EXPLORE A NATURE CENTER

Great gray owl in Duluth; photo by Amanda Burcar-Annis

Photo by Amanda Burcar Annis

Many of Minnesota’s nature centers are open year-round, offering opportunities to interact with wildlife and the winter landscape. Owls are a big draw at the Agassiz Audubon Center near Thief River Falls, which documented dozens of snowy owl sightings last year in the surrounding Red River Valley.

At the International Owl Center in southeastern Minnesota, Alice the resident great horned owl is so popular that the International Festival of Owls in early March is held in conjunction with her hatch day.

Since nature centers are often surrounded by trails, they make a great starting point for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. Options include the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault (skiing and snowmobiling), Maplewood Nature Center (snowshoeing) and Hartley Nature Center in Duluth (skiing).

CHECK OUT A MUSEUM

At the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul, “Mindbender Mansion” makes critical thinking and problem solving fun, and “A Beautiful Planet” is featured in the Omnitheater. Open until mid-January, the “Gridiron Glory” exhibit at the Minnesota History Center features the Vince Lombardi trophy and other artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While you’re downtown, be sure to stop by Rice Park to see the ice sculptures and live entertainment as part of the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

Other museums worth a winter visit include the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona, the recently reopened Spam Museum in Austin, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which recently debuted a new entrance and restaurant as part of its major renovation project.

WARM UP AT A WATER PARK

Family Cascade Bay Water Park 440x440.jpgWaterslides, lazy rivers and splash pads aren’t just for the summer months. Several Minnesota water parks can be found indoors, offering a tropical escape no matter the weather.

Paul Bunyan Water Park, inside Arrowwood Lodge in Baxter, features tube and body slides, a treehouse equipped with water cannons and an indoor/outdoor hot tub. At the Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, a vortex pool allows guests to swim with or against a fast-moving current.

There’s even a waterpark right by Mall of America, so you can take a dip after completing all your holiday shopping. Find more options, from Bloomington to Alexandria to Thief River Falls, on the water parks page.

GO MAPLE SYRUPING

A sure sign that spring is coming, maple syrup demonstrations and festivals start cropping up in March. On Maple Syrup Day, the Audubon Center of the North Woods in Sandstone hosts a pancake brunch as part of its syrup celebration. Or see how the sap is gathered and turned into syrup, and get a taste of the end result, at the Wargo Nature Center in Lino Lakes.

Many Minnesota state parks, including Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Whitewater near St. Charles and Lake Maria near Monticello, offer maple syrup programs. Nature centers and other parks, like the Three Rivers Park District in the metro area, also get in on the fun.

Minnesota snow conditions

Minnesota snow conditions and ski reports for the week of  11-14-17.

For more information on lodging deals check out White Birch Resort

 

It may not be winter yet, but many of Minnesota’s downhill ski and snowboard areas are covered in snow!

A handful of ski areas are either currently open or plan to open this weekend, including Afton Alps, Andes Tower Hills, Buck Hill, Hyland Hills, Lutsen Mountains, Powder Ridge, Spirit Mountain and Wild Mountain! Please check with individual ski areas for the most up-to-date information, as well as days and hours of operation. For additional information, visit the Minnesota Ski Areas Association website.

 

Name Snow Surface Snow Base New Snow (past 24 hours) New Snow (past 7 days) Making Snow? Last Updated
Giants Ridge

Biwabik, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 0″ 0″ 5″ Yes 11/14/2017
Buck Hill

Burnsville, MN

Variable Conditions 4″ to 18″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/14/2017
Chester Bowl

Duluth, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 5″ 0″ 0″ No 11/09/2017
Powder Ridge

Kimball, MN

Machine Groomed 6″ to 18″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/14/2017
Coffee Mill Ski Area

Wabasha, MN

Machine Groomed 0″ to 0″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/14/2017
Detroit Mountain Recreation Area

Detroit Lakes, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 14″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/13/2017
Mount Ski Gull

Nisswa, MN

Variable Conditions 5″ to 8″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/14/2017
Hyland Hills Ski Area

Bloomington, MN

Machine Groomed 0″ to 18″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/14/2017
Wild Mountain

Taylors Falls, MN

Variable Conditions 12″ to 40″ 0″ 3.20″ Yes 11/13/2017
Elm Creek Winter Recreation Area

Maple Grove, MN

Variable Conditions 1″ to 4″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/13/2017
Mount Kato

Mankato, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 0″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/14/2017
Buena Vista Ski Area

Bemidji, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 0″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/13/2017
Lutsen Mountains

Lutsen, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 0″ 0″ 1″ Yes 11/13/2017
Andes Tower Hills

Kensington, MN

Variable Conditions 4″ to 24″ 0″ 1″ Yes 11/09/2017
Spirit Mountain

Duluth, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 0″ 0″ 2″ No 11/13/2017
Welch Village

Welch, MN

Variable Conditions 0″ to 0″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/13/2017
Afton Alps

Hastings, MN

Machine Groomed 10″ to 24″ 0″ 0″ No 11/14/2017
Mount Itasca

Coleraine, MN

Machine Groomed 36″ to 25″ 0″ 0″ Yes 11/14/2017

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This report is brought to you by Explore Minnesota Tourism.

 

Learning to Fatbike for fitness and fun as winter soon returns!

As the winter winds begin to shift and blow into our office, here in Minnesota, thoughts turn toward the snow covered trails. We are lucky here to enjoy a massive amount of trails that are designed for winter riding. But if you are like me and new to the whole Fatbiking thing, how do you get into it and what should you expect? whitebirchresort.net

The Fatbike
Fatbikes are more like normal mountain bikes than you may think. As an example, the only parts unique to most fat tired bikes are the crank, tires and wheels. Other than those things, all the other parts are interchangeable with you normal mountain bike. That being said, the parts that make a fat tired bike different are responsible for their namesake. The large wheels and tires give these fatbikes their flotation on soft surfaces like snow and sand. There are now several brands available at most price points so getting into the sport has never been easier. Plus many bike shops offer rental programs.

The Fatbike Ride
The best part about a fatbike is that it extends your season with an all new cycling experience. For the most part, when snow was falling, people were kept from riding. Now, with so many fat tired bike options, a thick layer of the white stuff simply means more riding for all! With 4”-5” wide tires and pressures as low as 4psi, a fatbike can easily navigate deep snow. The only issue you will run into is ice. An icy surface doesn’t really care how wide the tire is, it’s still slippery. Once a trail gets slick it’s best to either change your tires to studded versions, or install studs in your existing tires. With studs below you, the game is back on.

The Gear
I find the hardest part of fatbiking is dressing properly. I am no stranger to winter riding, but most of that has been commuting. Once I got off road, I found that I was chronically overdressed. Off road riding is slower than commuting, so there is less wind chill to contend with. Additionally, I find it is a higher effort (more calories spent) to fatbike than to commute. When winter riding make sure your feet and hands are warm with good gloves and winter shoes. I also find you should wear warm cycling clothes that will wick the moisture away and resist the urge to wear too much clothing.

Having Fun
The most fun part of riding a fatbike is experiencing an existing trail you may have used before, in a new way. With a fresh coat of snow on the ground, features that may normally be difficult get smoothed out and sections that are typically easy, can become difficult. That change in perspective gives all new life to trails that may have become old and commonplace to you. So get out there and try fatbiking this winter.

Minnesota:The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 vs. Weather for Halloween 2017

Here’s the weather forecast for our Halloween 2017..could it turn into The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 Local Weather Report whitebirchresort.net
… GUSTY WINDS AND LIGHT SNOW THURSDAY INTO THURSDAY NIGHT… NORTH WINDS GUSTING TO 40 TO 50 MPH ARE EXPECTED ALONG AND WEST OF THE RED RIVER VALLEY THURSDAY INTO THURSDAY EVENING. THESE STRONG WINDS WILL ALSO BRING DOWN COLDER AIR, ALLOWING THE LIGHT RAIN TO MIX WITH AND CHANGE TO LIGHT SNOW, ESPECIALLY THURSDAY AFTERNOON INTO THURSDAY EVENING. AT THIS POINT, IT APPEARS THAT MOST OF THE AREA CAN EXPECT A DUSTING TO AN INCH OR TWO OF SNOW DURING THIS TIME FRAME. THERE ARE OTHER IMPACTS TO CONSIDER AS WELL. WIND CHILL READINGS ARE EXPECTED TO DIP INTO THE SINGLE DIGITS ABOVE ZERO BY FRIDAY MORNING. GROUND TEMPERATURES WILL BE WARM INITIALLY, BUT AS AIR TEMPERATURES FALL THURSDAY NIGHT INTO FRIDAY MORNING, AND WITH THE CONTINUED GUSTY NORTH WINDS, ROADS COULD BECOME SLICK IN SPOTS. LIGHT SNOW FALLING WITH STRONG WINDS COULD ALSO RESULT IN LOW VISIBILITIES. STAY TUNED FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THIS SYSTEM OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS, BUT BE PREPARED.www.accuweather.com/en/us/blackduck-mn/56630/weather-warnings
The 1991 Halloween Storm Facts:
At the time, the 36.9″ of snow that fell at Duluth set the state record for storm total snowfall. That was surpassed in 1994.
Snow began in Duluth at about 1:00 pm on October 31st, and did not end until 1:00 pm on November 3rd, meaning that snow fell continuously on the city for about 72 hours.
Moderate to heavy snow fell in Duluth with as much as 2 inches per hour from about 11:00 am on November 1st to about 2:00 am on November 2nd – about 15 hours.
Blowing snow was reported in Duluth for 33 consecutive hours, starting at 2 PM on November 1st. Winds regularly gusted to between 30 and 40 MPH. Visibilities were frequently near zero. https://www.weather.gov/dlh/1991halloweenblizzard

The snowstorm that hit parts of the area starting around Halloween (October 31 – November 3) in 1991 was an impressive storm in many respects, and it is still remembered by many people across the Northland. In fact, this storm was set up, in part, by the weather patterns that caused the “Perfect Storm” that struck the East Coast of the United States, and was famously depicted in Sebastian Junger’s book. Moreover, the “Perfect Storm” was beginning to wind down in the Northeast on Halloween, around the same time that Minnesota was starting to see heavy snow creeping in. To have two exceptional storms impacting the continental United States at the same time is quite rare.

What Happened:
During the height of trick-or-treating- the storm began as rain, then changed quickly to freezing rain and before the evening was over, it was snowing. It continued to snow for two more days, with final totals of 36.5 inches at the Duluth Airport and 45 inches in Superior. A large area of more than 20 inches of snow covered most of the northwest quarter of Wisconsin from Bayfield to River Falls and near the eastern half of Minnesota. At times the snow fell at a rate of two inches per hour and was accompanied by thunder and lightning. In addtion, winds gusting to to 40 mph created huge snowdrifts and zero visibility.

The “Halloween Blizzard” was made possible by a strong Arctic cold front that surged south through the central United States several days prior. On October 28, 1991, temperatures in advance of the cold front were quite pleasant as high temperatures reached into the 70s from the Mid Mississippi River Valley south into North Texas, and into the 80s across much of central and southern Texas. Meanwhile, high temperatures did not crack 20 degrees across most of Montana and Wyoming.

The contrast between the two air masses was stark, and by the morning of October 29th, the cold front was already about halfway through Texas. At 6 AM CST, the temperature in Amarillo, TX had plummeted to 22 degrees with a stiff northerly breeze. Abilene, TX was reporting a temperature of 40, while Dallas came in at 64 – a 24 degree difference over about 180 miles. Meanwhile, morning lows were much more frigid to the north – in the single digits across Montana and Wyoming, and in the teens (with snow) in the Dakotas.

A broad upper level trough, or low pressure area was in place over the western US at this time, with one particular shortwave (a disturbance, or small area of low pressure aloft) lifting northeast through the Dakotas, and another digging to the southeast into the Intermountain West. By October 30th, the cold front had reached the Texas shoreline with the Gulf of Mexico, and stalled in that location. As the shortwave aloft rounded the base of the broad trough and approached the southern Plains, it aided the development of an area of surface low pressure along the sharp temperature gradient near the Texas Gulf Coast. The development of low pressure systems along coastal fronts in this fashion is relatively common in the cool season along the Texas Gulf Coast and along the Atlantic Seaboard near the Gulf Stream current.

From October 30th into the 31st, this low pressure system slowly became better organized over Texas, before it ejected north over the Mississippi River Valley. This trajectory of a low pressure track (almost due north from the western Gulf) is climatologically favorable to produce very heavy snowfall in the winter months because it allows copius amounts of moisture to surge north where they can interact with colder air. Cooler readings lingered at the very end of October across the Upper Midwest, and a re-inforcing shot of Arctic air was just beginning to push southeast through the western Canadian Provinces.

On November 1st, the surface low pressure moved north from western Illinois into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the minimum pressure fell about 24 millibars in 24 hours, indicative of rapid deepening and strengthening of the cyclone. This was when the heavier snow set in across the Northland, and winds became quite gusty – producing some blizzard conditions with visibilities at or below 1/4 mile at times. Snowfall rates occasionally peaked in the 1 to 2 inches per hour range.

The low pressure eventually became occluded, weakened, and then continued to dissipate as it pushed east across northern Ontario in subsequent days. When the storm had exited, it had taken quite a toll on the area. Almost every place received at least a foot of snow, with lower totals to the west of the International Falls, Grand Rapids, and Brainerd areas as they were further away from the low, and also east of the Ashland and Hayward areas where warmer air kept snow from accumulating as much. Snow drifts were as high as 6 to 10 feet in some areas, and a few spots saw businesses and schools closed for several days.

We Hope everyone has a Safe and Happy Halloween!
whitebirchresort.net

Minnesota Trail Report

Some areas of northern Minnesota received nearly half a foot of snow earlier this week. In some areas it’s still snowing, with additional accumulation expected this weekend. Ski trails throughout the northern one-third of Minnesota are groomed and in good to excellent condition. And many snowmobile trails are open and in good condition, including at Ely, Finland, Grand Marais, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls and Lutsen. Please note that trail conditions can change on a daily basis; please call ahead for the most current conditions. whitebirchresort.net

Explore Minnesota will report winter trail conditions each Thursday afternoon during the winter season, with updates as changes in conditions warrant. Information used to compile the Winter Trails Report is provided courtesy of the Department of Natural Resources Climatology Office, Voyageurs National Park, the Three Rivers Park District, and communities throughout the state. exploreminnesota.com

A Snowmobile State Trail sticker is required for all snowmobiles operating on state or grant-in-aid trails. All cross-country skiers on state park or forest ski trails, or on state or grant-in-aid trails, who are 16 years old or older must have a Minnesota Ski Pass. For further information, contact the Department of Natural Resources, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-888-646-6367. To order cross-country ski passes and snowmobile trail stickers, dial 1-888-665-4236 or access the DNR Online License Sales web site. To locate a license center in Minnesota to purchase ski passes and snowmobile stickers, check out DNR License Agents.

For a customized travel planner to help you plan your Minnesota getaway, contact one of our travel counselors at 888-TOURISM (888-868-7476), or request a planner at Contact a Travel Counselor.

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Northeast Region

International Falls

The Koochiching State Forest Tilson Creek Ski Trail is in very good condition for classic and skate skiing. The base of the trail measures more than 3 inches, with more than 8 inches of snow on the ground. The trail has been groomed with double skate lanes and tracks. Area snowmobile trails running through Voyageurs National Park and throughout the Rainy Lake vicinity are reported to be in good shape. The ice roads on Rainy Lake are open and the snowmobile trails are marked and groomed. Riders are asked to please watch for pressure ridges along the way! More information is also available at www.rainylake.org

Side Lake/N of Hibbing

Skiers report very good conditions on trails within McCarthy Beach State Park. Roughly 6 miles of trails have been groomed, with a base measuring 4 inches. The snowmobile trails have also been groomed, and are reported to be in fair condition–the base averages 2 inches. Just to the west, snowmobile trails running through George Washington State Forest have been freshly groomed following the recent 5-6 inches of snow. The trail base measures 3 inches, and conditions are good throughout the area. Riders are asked to be aware of active logging activity, especially along the south end of the Circle L system. Ski trails in the forest have a 2-3 inch groomed surface, and are in good condition. And just to the north, the section of the Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail running north of Orr is in good condition, with a 3 inch groomed surface. The entire trail should be regroomed prior to the weekend, improving conditions even more. Approximately 10 inches of snow covers the ground.

Tower/Soudan

The snowmobile trails running through Lake Vermilion State Park are reported to be in fair condition, with a 4 inch base. Please use caution due to sections of thin trail base that may expose rocks as trail use increases. Temporary snowmobile trails run through some of the best viewing areas of the park, and connect with the Lake Vermilion ice trail and a spur of the Taconite State Snowmobile Trail that runs through Soudan Underground Mine State Park. The nearby segment of the Taconite Trail has a 2-4 inch groomed surface, but conditions are poor to fair. Local snow depth is 8-11 inches. The Taconite should be fully regroomed prior to the weekend.

Ely

Five inches of fresh snow has fallen over the past few days, and it continues to snow! The Hidden Valley Cross Country Ski Trails and Babbitt Golf Course Trails are reported to be in excellent condition for classic and skate skiing, with a nice solid 8 inch base overall. The Bear Head Lake State Park campground loops and some of the other ski trails are freshly groomed and in good condition, with an 8 inch base. The snowmobile trails are also groomed and in good condition. These trails have a 6 inch base. Local snow depth is 13 inches. A Guest House and five camper cabins are open in the winter. All snowmobile trails in the Ely vicinity should be freshly groomed prior to the weekend. Conditions are considered fair to good, including along the Putnam/Fishing Lakes Trail running through Bear Island State Forest. These trails have a 3-5 inch base on average, however riders are asked to watch for exposed rocks on portions of the Fishing Lakes Trail. While the lake trails are in very good shape, riders should use caution and stay on the staked trails due to several pressure ridges on some of the lakes. Area snowcover measures 8-10 inches. Please note that trail conditions can change on a daily basis–more information is available at www.ely.org.

Grand Marais/Gunflint Trail

In Cook County, just outside of Grand Marais up the Gunflint Trail, Central Gunflint Trail ski trails have a 7-8 inch packed powder surface, and are reported to be in excellent shape. There are 70 kilometers of trails groomed for traditional skiing, and 40 kilometers groomed for skate skiing. Roughly 17 inches of snow covers the ground in this area. In the Upper Gunflint Trail vicinity, total accumulation in the woods is 16-18 inches. Most trails in this area have an 8 inch base, and skiers report excellent conditions. And riders report that area snowmobile trails are in good condition overall, with a trail base of 5-7 inches.

Lutsen/Tofte

Up the Sawbill Trail, located inland from Lutsen, ski conditions are excellent at the end of the trail. These backcountry trails receive minimal grooming–the base measures roughly 16 inches. Since this area is very remote, please have plenty of gas in a good operating vehicle and come prepared with winter survival gear. Travel to the very end of the Sawbill Trail, walk over the snowbank, and you’ll see the trail. It’s old fashioned skiing at its best! And just east of here, all 17 kilometers of the Deeryard Loop have been groomed for classic skiing. The trail base measures 2-8 inches, and conditions are excellent from Caribou to the ski hill road– the Hall/Massie is marginal to good. Nearby, Cascade River State Parkoffers 18 miles of packed and groomed ski trails. The base measures 2-6 inches, and conditions are good overall. Please note that the base is thinnest near Lake Superior. The frozen waterfalls are spectacular, and just a quick hike or snowshoe from the Trail Center. Snowshoes are available for rent at the park office. From 3-9 inches of snow covers the ground at Cascade River State Park. The two miles of snowmobile trails running through the park are groomed, with a 2-8 inch base–conditions are good.

Finland/Grand Marais

The portion of the North Shore State Snowmobile Trail running from the Sawbill Trail north to the Gunflint Trail Junction just south of Grand Marais was groomed earlier this week. The trail base measures 3-5 inches, and conditions are good. The section south of the Sawbill Trail has some rough and thin spots, and conditions are poor to fair. Local snow depth ranges from 3 inches to the south to 13 inches at Grand Marais.

Grand Rapids

The Cow Horn Road cross-country ski trails running through Golden Anniversary State Forest are reported to be in good condition following the additional 4 inches of fresh snow. The trail base measures 2 inches, and local snow depth is 7 inches. To the north, Scenic State Park ski and snowmobile trails have been groomed, and conditions are good. The base of these trails measures 4-5 inches. Area snow cover measures 1 foot.

Northwest Region

Williams/NW of Baudette

Zippel Bay State Park cross-country ski trails are now fully groomed, with a 6 inch base. Conditions are very good. The snowmobile trail has not yet been groomed, and conditions remain poor. Local snow depth is 1 foot.

Lake Bronson/far NW corner

Lake Bronson State Park ski trails are partially groomed, and conditions are reported to be good. The base on the trails measures 2-3 inches, and approximately 7 inches of snow covers the ground.

Argyle/NW of Thief River Falls

The ski trails at Old Mill State Park were groomed February 22. The trail base measures 2 inches, and conditions are good. A Candlelight Ski will be held here this Saturday, February 25 from 6:30-9:00 p.m.

Bemidji

The ski trails at Lake Bemidji State Park are in very good condition following the recent snowfall, and the trails will be regroomed tomorrow which will improve conditions even more! The trail base measures roughly 4 inches. The snowmobile trails remain ungroomed and in poor condition. Local snow depth is 14 inches. A Candlelight Ski will be held this Saturday, February 25, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Glyndon/E of Moorhead

Buffalo River State Park offers a three mile river loop for cross-country skiing. This trail was groomed February 21, and conditions are good. The trail base measures 2 inches.

Most other ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of snow.

Central Region

Pelican Rapids/Fergus Falls

Maplewood State Park received roughly 5 inches of fresh snow on February 20, enough to pack the one mile ski trail around Cataract Lake. The base of the trail measures 2 inches, and conditions are good. The Friends of Maplewood will be hold a Candlelight Ski, Snowshoe & Hike on Saturday, February 25 from 6:00-8:30 p.m.

Most other ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of snow.

Twin Cities Greater Metropolitan Vicinity

Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Scott and Wright county parks

As of Wednesday, February 22, Elm Creek Park Reserve, located in Maple Grove and part of the Three Rivers Park District, was reported to offer good conditions for classic and skate skiing. The lesson area is also packed, tracked and in great shape for both types of skiing. The lights have been turned on, and rentals are available at Elm Creek. The chalet is open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. These trails typically receive heavy use from area ski teams–please call ahead for scheduled race and practice times. 763/559-6778, ext. 2. And some trails at Cleary Lake Regional Park at Prior Lake and French Regional Park at Plymouth have now been packed and are in fair condition.

Minneapolis

Theodore Wirth Park, part of the Minneapolis Park System, has snow-making equipment and continues to offer skiable trails. Skiers report good conditions for classic and skate skiing due to consistent grooming and well-maintained trails. There are trails for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers, as well as a practice area, lessons, equipment rental, and a 3.1 kilometer lighted manmade snow loop. The lighted loop is busiest from 3:00-6:00 p.m. weekdays when high school cross-country ski teams use the trail–please call ahead for a schedule of practice times and upcoming races. 612/230-6400

Lake Elmo

Green Acres Recreation Area has 6 kilometers of trails overall, and 2.5 kilometers with manmade snow. Skiers report good conditions, with consistently well-groomed trails for traditional and skate skiing. Please note that these trails generally receive heavy use from area ski teams during late afternoon and early evening hours–please call ahead for scheduled race and practice times. 651/770-6060

Most other ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of snow.

Southern Region

All ski and snowmobile trails in this region of the state are either in poor condition or remain closed due to a lack of of snow.