The 41 km. Banadad Ski Trail System is accessible from two trail heads, both with free parking; the eastern trail head is located 30 miles up the Gunflint Trail off the Lima Grade; the west end trail head is on the Gunflint Trail at Fire # 10045. In addition to the Banadad the trail system consists of the Lace Lake, Tall Pines and Tim Knapp Trails. The Banadad is the BWCA longest tracked ski trail and likely the longest wilderness tracked ski trail in the USA. For more info call 218-388-4487.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Snow Report December 29, 2009

Bandad Ski Trail- Conditions good to excellent. Snow depth of fifteen inches on eastend of Banadad  and lesser amounts of snow on westend. Banadad, Lace Lake and Tall Pines Trails all tracked. Some brush still showing through the snow particularly in the westend.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Season's First Tracks set on Banadad



SNOWSHOE TRAILS: awaiting more snow

ADDITIONAL COMMENT: The Banadad from the east end trailhead to Lizz lake Portage 2.5 KM - very good to excellent tracked skiing. Seppala and west side of Tall Pines Trails tracked fair skiing. Remainder of Banadad Trail System packed ski able but awaiting more snow to track.

The forty-kilometer. Banadad Trail System is managed by the Banadad Trail Association under an agreement with the Gunflint Ranger District USFS. Grooming and Maintenance is provided by Boundary Country Trekking. Minnesota Ski Pass and BWCA Day Pass required on trail. Free parking available at both the east and west trailheads.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Snow, Cold Weather - Trail Packing and Opening to Begin

December 3- The last three days have seen the temperature getting down into the lower teens. This morning it stood at ten degrees. We have some snow, about three inches and more on the western end of the trail. It is not enough snow to stop the standing water along the Banadad from freezing. Another inch or two of snow and we should be able to get onto the trail with snowmobiles to pack and clear as we go. Still shooting for a December 15th opening of the Banadad and a bit earlier for the eastern Banadad trails. Stay tuned!

It is expected that Boundary Country will begin packing and opening the trail this Saturday.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Getting the Banadad Trails Ready for Skiing

Our trail maintenance  began this year in August when a crew of five people from the Minnesota Concervation Corp sent-up camp some four miles from the west end of the Banadad. Working from this camp land and from an another camp at the Bedew Lake Yurts the crew working ten hours days widen and clearied most of the western end of the Banadad. Eight days later the crew had logged 400 hours of labor widening two miles and clearing the down trees from a storm this past suimmer along five more miles of the trail.

Aided by Pete Harris, Ted and staff moved replacement bridge beams into the Croft Yurt on Sept 12 and 12 and opened the Moose Trail to the Croft yurt with chainsaws and using hand saws cleared from the Yurt to the Bridge site. unfortunately we will have to wait now until next spring to get the beams into the bridge.

Then is September the three mile section of the eastend of the trail outside of the BWCA was opened by Ted and staff using an ATV and Chainsaws.

October 22-25,  saw five members of the Northstars Ski Touring Club with the help of staff from Boundary Country Trekking clearing the first 1 1/2 mile of the western end of the Bananad and the removal oft many large trees along a 3 mile streatch of the trails west end.that had fallened in a storm earlier this summer. The following two days the North Stars cleared the Lace Lake Trail. In all the five member North Stars crew put-in some 128 hours of hand labor on the trail.

Two weekends later five members of Adventure Vacations, a Twin Cities travel company hiked 1 1/2 miles in along the old Winchell Lake Fire Trail, west of Poplar Lake and then cleared west about 1 1/2 miles almost to the Lodgging Camp The group logged about  35 hours.

Still more work to due so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

First Snow on the Gunflint

First snow of the season! Over the last two days the mid-Gunflint Trail area has registered about three and one-half inches of snow. More is predicted through Monday. But don't break-out your skis just yet. The trails still need more work; the swamps and ponds along the trails are not frozen and it is quite likely we will have some more warm weather before we finally settle into our winter season sometime around mid November.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Minnesota Conservation Corp takes on the Banadad

A five-person crew from the Minnesota Conservation Corp (MCC) spent eight tough days widening the remote interior of the Banadad Ski Trail. The crew hiked in from the west end trailhead, setting up camp at the bench midway to the Bedew Lake Yurt Camp. After several days clearing the trail on either side of their camp, the crew then moved onto Bedew where the sent several more days widening the trail from the yurts to the midtrail junction. When they finally hike out from Bedew the crew had widen two full miles and cleared many down trees blocking the eight miles of the trail they covered.

It is speculated that the down trees were the result of a nasty hail-wind storm cell that hit the western end of the Banadad on August 13. Luckily it appears the storm missed the trail’s eastern end.

Now with this year’s work by MCC some eight remote interior miles of the Banadad have been widen over the last four years. Yet to be widened is about one and one-half more miles some of which it is anticipated will be taken-on this fall.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bandadad Trail Receives Grant for Trail Improvements

The Minnesota DNR recently announce that the Gunflint's Banadad Trail Association will receive a $4500 grant to upgrade the 3.5 Kilometer Tall Pines Ski Trail located south of the Lace Lake Trail and near the Banadad Trail's eastern end. The project will inable the Association to hire a contractor with a bulldozer to level and clear rocks and stumbs from the surface of the previously hand-cut trail.

The trail was first marked in the fall of 2005. Later the North Stars Ski Touring Club and the Minnehaha Acadamy's Ski Team help to hand clear the trail. However the trail has been to rough to be very usefull as a ski trail. It is expected the latest trail work should be completed by this fall and the improved trail ready by this winter season.

The trail was built to extend the Lace Lake Ski Trail and to connect the Trail with lodging facilities at the Tall Pines Yurt camp with

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gunflint Nordic Ski Trails Carbon Off-Set to Gunflint Green Up

Nordic Skiing is normally considered an eco-friendly sport, northeast Minnesota’s Gunflint Nordic ski trail managers have taken this one step further. The Central and Upper Gunflint Ski Areas connected by the Banadad Ski Trail known collectively as the 210 Kilometer Gunflint Nordic Ski System this year went carbon neutral.

The trail managers calculation the cost of sequestering the carbon emissions produced from the maintenance and grooming of the trails based on information from the Chicago Climate Exchange, “Regional Estimates of TreeAnnual Carbon Accumulation,” and the Gunflint Ranger District, USFS tree plant cost estimates.

Then, yesterday, May 5, at the Gunflint Trail Association’s Spring Meeting ski trail representatives presented a $896 “carbon off-set” check to Nancy Seaton, Gunflint Green Up chairman, The money will be used as seed money for next year’s tree planting. Since the Gunflint Trail’s 2007 Ham Lake Fire, the Gunflint Green Up has annually purchased young trees and organized volunteers to plant the trees. To date the Green Up has planted over 100,000 new trees in the area burned over by the Fire.

According to Ted Young, Banadad Trail manager, “It was a great snow year for the Gunflint’s ski trails. That translated into lots of grooming hours. And as a result we put lots of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere- by our calculation the maintenance and grooming of the Gunflint’s three ski systems created some fifteen metric tons of CO2. We feel that offsetting this carbon by planting trees in our neighborhood, to us, is the right thing to do for the Gunflint and our environment.”

Resorts participating in Gunflint Nordic Ski Trail’s Carbon Off-set project are Gunflint Pines, Hestons and Gunflint from the Upper Gunflint Trails: Boundary Country Trekking from the Banadad and Bearskin from the Central Gunflint Trails. Golden Eagle Lodge, that maintains half of the Central Gunflint Trail offset the carbon their maintenance and grooming created by planting trees on their own property.

Note- Attached image- Left to Right Ted Young, Boundary Country Trekking, Nancy Seaton, Gunflint Green Up Chairperson, Dennis Neitzke, Gunflint Ranger USFS, Shari Baker Gunflint Pines Resort, and Sue McCloughan, Bearskin Lodge.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Snow Continues on the Gunflint Trail

In the mid-Gunflint Area from the “Pines” to about Gunflint Lake winter still lingers on in the shady spot and in the woods where continues snow from one to two feet remain. Along the Banadad Ski Trail the ski conditions are still great with bare spots only in sunny open areas. Once you get much past the South Gunflint Lake Road where the Ham Lake Fire took place conditions change drastically. Here must of the snow is gone- must likely due to the lack of shad in this area’s burned over forest. Also, as it usually happens, the upper Gunflint area again this winter received a bit less snow then the mid Gunflint, which may have helped it to melt faster.

Temperature are hovering in the 30s to 40s.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Skiing on the Gunflint Banadad

April 17- Starting at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B, two skiers from Tofte skied 9-10 kilometers out and back from on the Banadad. Upon their return they stated the skiing was great and had a excellent time. The temperature was about 40 degrees. Today it is down below thirty and snowing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Skiing - It ain't over till it's over

April 16, 2009. Six Kilometers of the east end of the Banadad Tracked. Great Spring Skiing! 12-16" of snow; no bare spots.

You can expect snow on the Banadad to remain at least another two weeks. Right now the trail is in great shape. Also go "crust skiing" and travel anywhere in the area.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April Fools Spring Snow No Joke

April Fools Day brought 12 - 14 inches of heavy wet snow to the Gunflint Trail's Banadad Ski Trail.

The Banadad remains snowed-in. The trail groomer is expected to begin opening the Trail on Friday, after the snow has settled a bit making it easier to groom. It is anticipated that about 5 or 6 kilometers of the east end of the Banadad and the Lace Lake Trails will be tracked by this coming weekend. According to Boundary Country Trekking which maintains the trails, it is anticipated that with the addition of this snow fall the Banadad should remain ski-able well into April.

Total measure snow on the ground at Poplar Creek Guesthouse is now 32 inches.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Skiing Report

Snow on Ground – 24 inches- Crust with 2" of fresh snow on top
New Snow last 24 hours- 2"

New snow last 7 days - 2"

Groomed and Tracked
Banadad –5 km- March 27

Lace Lake –5 km – March 27

Knapp-3 km- March 27

Tall Pines (Westside) March 27

Crust skiing in Backcountry excellent. Trails-good to excellent ski condition. Snow should hold well into April.

Snowshoeing trails and backcountry open.

For lodging along the trail information go to-


Friday, March 13, 2009

Banadad Ski Trail - March 13, 2009

Snow on Ground – 33 inches

Packed Trail Base - 29+"

New Snow last 24 hours- 10-12"

New snow last 7 days - 10-12"

Groomed and Tracked
Banadad –31 km- March 12

Lace Lake –5 km – March 13

Knapp-3 km- February 10

Tall Pines (Westside) 1 km -February 10

Excellent ski conditions continues; trails in great shape. Snow should hold into April.

Snowshoeing could not be better with 12 inches of fresh powder.

For lodging along the trail information go to-

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Late Winter-Early Spring Skiing Can be the Best

Skiing here along the Gunflint Trail does not end just because the calender says it is Spring. Some of the best skiing of the season is yet to come. In a recent article by New Hampshire ski writer, Roger Lohr, he states, "It happens every year – winter wanes and spring blooms with a flip of the calendar page. People, who live to ski and ski to live also known as snow lovers or winter worshippers can be disappointed to see springtime come. But there are a few well kept secrets about so called “spring skiing.” Spring snow conditions have many faces and offer many different opportunities. We see wet snowy blizzards that dump deep heavy feet of pillowy snow. And the warm March or April sunshine turns the snow to beads of corn before it turns to mush. The days are longer so we can ski after work or into the early evening hours."

You do not have to stop skiing just because it is spring. Long ago "local" skiers have learned to taken advantage of the hard crust formed on the snow by the alternating freezing and thawing that occurs in the spring. "Crust skiing," as it called enable you to skate off-trail deep into the Boundary Waters and other places inaccessible during the winter. Then there is the Banadad, perhaps, the last remaining trail in the state to close for the season. Protected from the warming spring sun by its east west orientation, the heavy forest shading along the trail and the use of light grooming equipment, the Banadad normally is still ski able through at least the first week in April and often longer.

Whether you want to try the fun of crust skiing or another tracked ski along the Banadad, spring skiing on the Gunflint is the place to come!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Banadad Ski Trail - March 1, 2009

Snow on Ground – 28 inches

Packed Trail Base - 20+"

New Snow last 0

New snow last 7 days - 6

Groomed and Tracked
Banadad –31 km- February 28

Lace Lake –5 km – February 27

Knapp-3 km- February 10

Tall Pines (Westside) 1 km -February 10

Excellent ski conditions; trails in great shape. Snowshoeing could not be better with ten inches of powder over snowshoe supporting ice-crust.

For lodging along the trail information go to-

Friday, February 27, 2009

Trail Association Meets with Forest Service

Grand Marais, MN- Banadad Ski Association members; Barb and John Bottgar, Pete Harris, Jim Morisson and Ted Young met with Dennis Neitzke and Steve Schug from the Gunflint Ranger District yesterday. The purpose of that meeting was to bring the forest service up to speed concerning the maintenance supervision of the trail being transfer from our company, Boundary Country Trekking to the new Association.

At the meeting we gave Dennis and Steve Schug,a list of the Trail’s needs, projects and concerns (see attached). In reviewing this list, Schug agreed that the Forest Service would assist in rebuilding the Banadad Bridge and Dennis stated that they had applied for stimulus funds to hire Minnesota Conservation Crews to work on trails. Dennis stated that if funded, a crew could be assigned to work on the Banadad Trail Widening Project. Schug also mention that they had budgeted $750 for each trail in the District for this year. It was however unclear if this would be in addition to what the Forest Service would spend in replacing the bridge.

It was also agreed that as a first step in moving the trail's west end, the Assocation should layout a proposed new route ending near the Loon Lake Public Landing. When that is competed the Forest Service could then consider re-routing this section of the Trail along this proposed route.

Schug will be drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the USFS and the Banadad Trail Association which if acceptable to the Assocation will define the rights and responsibilities of each party in the administration of the Banadad Trail.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Ski Trail Association Formed on Gunflint Trail

Grand Marais, MN – Boundary Country Trekking, Gunflint Trail area residents, and several members of the Twin Cities-based North Star Ski Touring Club (NSSTC) have joined together to form the Banadad Trail Association (BTA). According to Karen Monsen, the association’s new president and NSSTC member, “the purpose of the association is to maintain and enhance the Banadad Ski Trail, preserve the history of the forest and the trail, and promote the appreciation and care of wilderness lands”.

The new association will manage the 46-kilometer Banadad Ski Trail system that includes the Banadad Trail (the BWCAW’s longest tracked trail), the Lace Lake Trail, the Tim Knopp Trail, and the Tall Pines and Seppala Trails. The trail system is centrally located along the 200-kilometer Gunflint Nordic Trail system.

The organization’s founding meeting was held February 14 on the Gunflint Trail to adopt by-laws and elect a Board of Directors. In addition to President Monsen, the board includes Vice President Linda Bosma of Minneapolis, Treasurer Karla Miller of Duluth, and Secretary Barb Bottger of Hungry Jack Lake. Elected as at-large board members were Jim Morrison of Poplar Lake, Wayne Monsen of Stillwater, Tom Rice of Shoreview, Mel Peterson of St. Paul, Peter Spink of Poplar Lake and Minneapolis, John Bottger of Hungry Jack Lake, and Anne Rykken of St. Paul.

Following the meeting, the board met and selected Ted Young of Boundary Country Trekking to continue to serve as the trail maintenance manager. Board members were also assigned responsibility for incorporating the new association as a non-profit organization.

Until a permanent mailing address and e-mail account are established, the Banadad Trail Association can be reached by e-mail at

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Snow Report for February 15, 2009

Banadad Ski Trail - February 15, 2009
Snow on Ground – 24 inches

Packed Trail Base - 18+"

New Snow last .5 hours - traces

New snow last 7 days - 6

Groomed and Tracked
Banadad –31 km- February 14

Lace Lake –5 km – February 13

Knapp-3 km- February 10

Tall Pines (Westside) 1 km -February 10

Excellent ski conditions; trails in great shape

For lodging along the trail information go to-

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Snow Report for February 11, 2009

Banadad Ski Trail Snow Report

The temperature over the past 24 hours has been in the low 30’s, this along with some rain has dropped the snow on the ground from 27” to 20” a loss of seven inches.

All the Banadad Trail System is tracked but the trails are now icy. As soon as the temperature falls we will attempt to cut-up the ice and re-set the tracks.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Banadad Ski Trail - February 5, 2009

Snow on Ground - 27 inches

Packed Trail Base - 20+"

New Snow last 24 hours - traces

New snow last 7 days - 4"

Groomed and Tracked
Banadad –31 km- February 3

Lace Lake –5 km – February 4

Knapp-3 km- December 30

Tall Pines (Westside) 1 km -February 4

Conditions Rated
Skiing excellent - great snow conditions

For More Information:
Boundary Country Trekking and Poplar Creek Guesthouse

Boundary Country Trekking/Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B
800-322-8327 218-388-4487
11 Poplar Creek Drive 218-388-2253 Fax
Grand Marais MN 55604

Before printing this e-mail, assess if it is really needed

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Banadad Ski Trail

January 28, 2009 Trail Map
Snow on Ground - 25 inches

Packed Trail Base - 16-18”

New Snow last 24 hours- 0

Groomed and Tracked
Banadad –31 km- January 27

Lace Lake –5 km – January 25

Knapp-3 km- January 25

Tall Pines (Westside) 1 km -December 27

Conditions Rated
Skiing continued excellent - great snow conditions

For More Information:
Boundary Country Trekking and Poplar Creek Guesthouse

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Snow and Trail Conditions

Monday, January 021, 2009
Banadad Ski Trail - January 6, 2009

Snow on Ground- 24 inches

Packed Trail Base - 16-18”

New Snow last 24 hours- <1"

New snow last 7 days- 4-5 inches

Groomed and Tracked

Banadad –31 km- January 19.

Lace Lake –5 km – January 20

Knapp-3 km- December 30

Tall Pines (Westside) 1 km -December 29

Conditions Rated
Skiing excellent - great snow conditions continues

For More Information:
Boundary Country Trekking and Poplar Creek Guesthouse

Friday, January 09, 2009

Cook Country Volks Ski Fest

Skiers Unite; attend Cook County's Gunflint Trail and Northshore Volks Ski Fest- January 31, 2009 - Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Volks Ski Fest is a fun, laid back, skiing and snowshoeing festival for the whole family! All week-long, all over the county, there are events and contests designed to help everyone get out and enjoy hundreds of kilometers of beautiful northwoods trails.

You can try to be the person to ski the most km in a week...or enjoy a leisurely ski just one day. You can get your festival booklet stamped to show you've made it to all of the trails...or you can just go to the events that feature food. Whatever you enjoy the most. Check out the list below for the details on the many events planned.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Banadad Ski Trail - January 6, 2009

Snow on Ground- 25 inches

Packed Trail Base - 16-18”

New Snow last 24 hours- traces

New snow last 7 days- 13 inches

Groomed and Tracked
Banadad –31 km- January 5.

Lace Lake –5 km – January 5

Knapp-3 km- December 30

Tall Pines (Westside) 1 km -December 29

Conditions Rated
Skiing excellent - great snow conditions

For More Information:
Boundary Country Trekking and Poplar Creek Guesthouse


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