North Shore and Gunflint Trail Experiencing 50% More Snow

Downhill Skiing
Photo by Kjersti Vick

GRAND MARAIS, MINN – While most of the state of Minnesota is in a snow drought, the North Shore and Gunflint Trail is experiencing an abundance of early snow with totals to date an average of 50 percent greater than previous years.

Photo by Kjersti Vick - Grand Marais snow winter 2019
Photo by Kjersti Vick – Grand Marais snow winter 2019

Snow totals to date as compared to last year at this time (Oct. – Jan. 10):

                                                2017/18          2018/19          % increase

Lutsen Mountains:                  39”                  59.5”               +52%

Central Gunflint Trail:             25.25”             68.53”             +85%

Upper Gunflint Trail:               33.5”               42”                  +25%

With more snow forecast for this week, the conditions are only expected to get better. The average winter season receives about 91.5” of snow, with the snowiest months of February and March yet to come.

“We are seeing a significant increase in website traffic,” says Linda Jurek, executive director of Visit Cook County. “Being the #1 source for local ski and snowmobile trail conditions, visitors are looking to us to find the most comprehensive condition reports, so they can make the most out of their vacation.”

On the cross-country and snowmobile trails, volunteers have been working around the clock to groom and clear trails for recreation. “It’s a labour of love,” says Jeff Lynch, owner of Sawtooth Outfitters in Tofte and member of the Sugarbush Trail Association. “I have been involved with maintaining the Sugarbush cross-country ski trails for 17 years because I love to use them. Easy access to outdoor activities is part of what makes winter great in northeastern Minnesota.”

At Lutsen Mountains, the seasonal snowmaking season is nearly complete. With a solid base of 30-60” on the primary runs and 12-20” base inside country, the conditions are nearing their prime. The alpine season extends all the way into April, and on some occasions into May.

For complete grooming and condition updates visit:

Or contact the Visitor Center in Grand Marais to speak to an information specialist:

Visit Cook County MN
Phone: (218) 387-2524

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