Loppet Foundation

Northwoods Skiing – Loppet – Bearskin Weekend Report

This article was posted on Monday, March 18th, 2013

Jason Dalebroux and John Layton stride the hills around Flour Lake.

Jason Dalebroux and John Layton stride the hills around Flour Lake.

While some people eye March looking for the green signs of spring – skiers are searching the snowbanks for something else: spring skiing!  Diving headfirst back into winter, over twenty members of the Loppet Foundation converged in the north woods of Minnesota for the second annual Loppet Foundation Bearskin Lodge Ski Trip.

Bearskin Lodge is one of Minnesota’s most beloved cross country ski lodges.  Known for its luxurious cabins, welcoming hospitality and picturesque location, Bearskin is a favorite destination for skiers from across the Midwest to come, relax, and ski the trails of the north woods.  Over 70 kilometers of skate and classic trails radiate from Bearskin’s cabins which launch skiers instantaneously into peeling birch groves and red pine stands. A variety of trails skirt ridge lines with stunning lake visits, weave through blowdown landscapes or descend into quiet valleys and pristine wilderness. Moose and fox tracks are plentiful, and bird calls fill the silent snow-scape.

Friends Laura Silver, Kathleen Sullivanand Kaia Knutson embark on the Gunflint Trail System.

Friends Laura Silver, Kathleen Sullivanand Kaia Knutson embark on the Gunflint Trail System.

With morning temperatures hovering around zero – Foundation members bundled up and explored some of the most serene skiing of their lives. Some skiers logged about 50 kilometers a day, while others made more progress on their books curling up by the fire in the lodge.   All skiers came away feeling rejuvenated.

New friendships were also formed as individuals and couples shared cabins and cooked together, or explored local restaurants. On the final evening, nearly 30 Loppet Foundation members and friends came together for an evening potluck. People emerged from their cabins carrying piping hot curry stews, roasted veggies, and Swiss fondue (to name a few). Bob McCloughan, owner of Bearskin, provided wine for the event and joined the Loppet Foundation for the meal. Bearskin has been a longtime supporter and sponsor of the Loppet Foundation and Bob hopes Foundation Members continue to make the trek to the north woods in the future.

Tony Mommsen, Tim and Bearskin owner Bob McCloughan enjoy the Loppet potluck.

Tony Mommsen, Tim and Bearskin owner Bob McCloughan enjoy the Loppet potluck.

“That was so much fun,” said Nancy Konkel who traveled to Bearskin for the first time with her husband Greg. “Just as we were leaving we talked to our son in college who said, “Why do you do all this cool stuff now that I’m gone?”… After seeing all this we feel like such skiing rookies.This has opened our eyes to a whole new world of cross country skiing opportunities to be explored beyond the metro area. We’re so happy we got the chance to experience this.” The Konkels tried everything from skiing to snowshoeing to meeting Bearskin’s team of sled dogs.

Things are still looking snowy at Bearksin – and DEEP.  “The way this year has turned out – we should have skiing until April,” said Andy who is one of the managers at Bearskin. So travel to Bearskin again – or come to the north woods again next year!  The Loppet Foundation’s annual Bearskin Trip happens the third weekend of March.  We would love to see you there.