Bearskin Wilderness Pursuit Ski Race



Back in the Tuttle days, Bearskin Lodge hosted a number of ski races. There couldn’t be a more beautiful place to hold a ski race, but there hasn’t been one here for a long time. This year we decided to try hosting a race during the 5th Annual Winter Tracks Festival on February 28th and March 1st. The race has great potential for the future, but our goal this year was to keep the race small enough to get the glitches out of it the first time.

“Glitches” like knowing our own fax number. The original registration form encouraged racers to fax us their form — at a nonexistent number that was a combo of our 800 number and our fax number. If you have one of those forms and faxing didn’t work, now you know why. Try (218)388-4410 (checked and double-checked!) or call us at (800)338-4170 or (218)388 2292.

Then there was the kids’ race, which we scheduled on Friday morning, just to spread activities out a bit through Winter Tracks. Ummm, Friday? Where would you find most kids on Friday morning — out doing ski races or in school studying? And should we have thought of that, considering we were teachers for 30 years? Pause for a moment of silent eye rolling. Next year we’ll schedule that a little more sensibly. We’ll still have sprints on Friday at 11 AM for anyone who is interested in having a little fast fun on a track around the bay.

Everything else for the race seems to be going well. Registrations have been coming in slowly (not surprising, considering faxes went nowhere!) but there are some fairly good skiers signed up. It should be a fun race, but with a decent level of competition.

Ever since we planned the race, we’ve been contemplating what to do with the proceeds. We want any leftover money to go to a worthwhile cause. A few weeks ago a long-time guest had the misfortune of falling while skiing across a road and severely breaking her leg. Our call to 911 was promptly answered by very competent Gunflint Trail Fire Department volunteers, who provided her with initial trailside emergency care and comfort while awaiting an ambulance. It was a reminder to us that the Gunflint Trail Volunteer Fire Department does far more than their name implies — up here on the edge of the BWCA, they are the winter rescue and emergency crew in situations that are often extreme. We’ve decided that remaining funds from this race will go towards supporting this organization, which is so essential to the safety of cross country skiers in this area.

There’s still time to register for the race. More info can be found at or by calling us at (218) 388 2292 or (800) 338 4170. The race is a two day pursuit race, which means the times for the Freestyle Race on Saturday and the Classic Race on Sunday are combined to get a final Pursuit Race winner. However, you don’t need to do both days; you can also choose to do just one of the races, either the Freestyle or the Classic, and medals will be awarded for those also. (I just overheard a guest say he can’t skate ski “for beans,” but he’d like to do the classic race — that’s a common sentiment, so there may be a fair number of classic-only skiers doing the Sunday race.)

The forecast for the weekend is perfect and all sorts of other activities will be going on along the trail for the 5th Annual Winter Tracks Festival Could be a great day to win yourself a Bearskin Lodge gold medal.


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