The perfect winter adventure awaits you in Cook County, where in one place, you can find the largest cross-country skiing network in North America, 450 miles of impeccably groomed snowmobile trails, and the rugged Sawtooth Mountains rising above Lake Superior offering alpine skiing and snowboarding at the Midwest’s largest ski resort, Lutsen Mountains.
From the slopes to the stage, Papa Charlie's at Lutsen Mountains is nationally known as a top tier apres ski destination. After a day on the slopes, trade your ski boots for dancing shoes and head up for Ski Party Music & Ski Festival hosted by GNDWIRE Records. Multiple bands fill the stage for this multi-day ski and music festival. Call your friends and get a condo, because this weekend is all about the fun.
Test your mettle
And now that a section of the Norpine Trail System has been designated for dual use with tracked ski-only lanes and packed lanes for skate skiers and bikers, Cook County is the perfect destination for new and experienced fat bike riders to enjoy this fast-growing winter sport.
Bikers with a competitive spirit can participate in the Norpine Fat Bike Classic on Jan. 11, when riders will challenge their winter cycling endurance, as they pedal through the pristine wilderness of the Superior National Forest.
The race begins and ends at Cascade Lodge, set along the beautiful Lake Superior shoreline, with a post-race party at the on-site pub that offers new twists on wholesome classics to fuel any adventure. Registration is open for racers who are eager to prove their mettle in the bold north.
The whole family is invited for a truly northern experience at the Gunflint Mail Run
Another activity over the weekend of Jan. 10-12, visitors can become part of the action by volunteering or traveling to spectate “the original snowmobiles” at the Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race., Dog sledding is a way of life in the Northeastern tip of Minnesota, where the stunning natural beauty draws people to the area. Cold weather and snow envelope the landscape during winter, creating a frozen playground waiting to be explored. The Gunflint Mail Run grew out of a celebration of this truly northern experience, and is the perfect opportunity for families to get a taste of the magic of the north. The three main spectator viewing areas are at Trail Center, Rockwood Lodge, and Big Bear Lodge.
Sled dog racing offers spectators the chance to be close to the action before the race, where they can watch the preparations of the mushers, handlers and veterinarians. Picture yourself as a witness to the blessing of the dogs at the start of the race, then imagine the mounting excitement and awe as you follow the mushers viewing location to viewing location, as the anticipation of the race finish builds. Experience the thrill as mushers encourage their packs of powerful dogs across the rugged terrain. Forget about kids watching animated movies about dog sledding from Internet videos—bring them to the dogsled race that grew from the history of the area, where Nordic people have learned to harness the wilderness and dominate the elements.
Embrace the season and find your way to the bold north for a winter adventure in Cook County.
The second weekend of January offers fun fat bike, live music and sled dog events, but visitors can participate in all throughout the whole winter season (which lasts through March in the northland). Some local mushers offer sled dog experiences. And if you want to pack lightly, Cook County offers a variety of outfitting locations with gear and guidance for any adventure, involving biking, sled dog adventures, skiing, skating or snowshoeing. Vacationers can have their choice of lodging options and an assortment of dining options, all ready and open throughout the wintery months, making Cook County the perfect destination for winter adventures.