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.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Banadad Trails Awaiting More Snow

Maintenance Crews  have cleared most of the Banadad Trail System with only about 1/2 mile remaining to be cleared on the east end near the site of the Ham Lake Fire. The Minnesota Conservation Corp camped four nights on the west end of the trail clearing some 14 kilometer during their stay. Meanwhile thanks to the Northstar Ski Tour Club, the Minneahaha Academy Ski Team, 

Volunteers at Weekend Trail Clearing in October
and other volunteers who thus far have contributed 351 volunteer hours of labor clearing  the trails other 26 kilometers. When a bit more snow fall we should be able to get onto the trail with out trail groomer for a final packing and clearing run before we set trails. 

 Minnehaha Academy Ski Team- the Banadad Beavers

Currently there is about four or five inches of snow. Unfortunately the ground has not frozen yet and there is lots of water on the trail. There is colder weather on the way which should freeze up the water. Then we need snow.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Volunteer Trail Crew Work to Open Banadad

Volunteer Trail Clearers - October 22, 2016
Maintenance organized by the Banadad Trail Assocation (BTA) got into high gear this past weekend. On Friday, 8 members of the Northstars Ski Touring Club spent 56 hours clearing the remaining one mile of the
North Stars Ski Touring Club
Winchell Lake Fire Trail. This trail, most of which is within the BWCA, serves as a maintenance assess trail to the Banadad. Then on Saturday twenty three volunteers including the “Northstars” contributed another one-hundred sixty one hours cleared 4.3 miles of Banadad’s west end all within the BWCA. One crew entered the Banadad’s east end  through the Winchell Lake Fire Trail, another at the Mead’s Lake Portage and the third crew through the Moose trail at the mid trail junction.  The crews removed not only the brush and down trees from this past summer but also what remaining debris from last December’s storm.
In addition to these crews another crew hiked in 1 ½ miles from the west end trailhead to cut back a beaver house blocking the trail’s west end.

Early this summer a seven person crew from Minnesota Conservation Corp, camping on the trail, spent six days clearing the entire west end of the Banadad and an another ½ mile of the eastern to the Banadad Bridge. Conservation Corp’s efforts resulted in the clearing 9 miles of trail. Another crew of 9 boy scouts from Texas spent one half of day brushing about a ¾ mile west from the eastern trail head. The 4 ½ miles of trail outside the BWCA was also cleared earlier in the summer by BTA contractor Boundary CountryTrekking.

As a result of all these efforts- of the Banadad’s 25 miles of trail 24 ¼ have now been cleared. With all the work that has now been completed we hoping that all are work is not ruined by another freak storm, like last year’s.

Annual Meeting and Potluck Dinner

The Annual Meeting of the Banadad Trail Association (BTA) was called to order by President Andy Jenks on Friday, August 21. Committee reports and Trail clearing results were discussed along action to start setting up a Capital Fund for the construction of garage for the associations grooming equipment. Following the meet the thirty-two people present feasted on a great potluck dinner.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Last Skier on the Banadad for the Season

For the second year in a row the person to close-off the ski season on the Banadad this winter season has a cabin on Little Ollie Lake. This year's honors goes to Joanne Nichols and her dog. She skied several days getting out as far as the Lizz Lake Portage a round trip distance of eight kilometer. Her last day on the trail was April 16. According to Joanne "you can't beat 60 degrees and nice snow on the Banadad. Making my own tracks was just fine!"

Last year on April 8 Judy Ross closed off the trail. Judy also has a cabin on Little Ollie Lake. Both Joanne and Judy and their husbands hail from White Bear Lake..

All and all it was a tough winter season on the Banadad Ski Trail- A heavy wet snowfall in mid-December resulted in dropping much of the side brushed and hundreds of trees into the trail. The Banadad Trail Association made a valiant attempt to clear the brush and trees blocking the trail. Eighteen kilometers of the east end was cleared however as fast as that section of trail was cleared more snow laden trees fell into the trail and the trail became impassable again. This continue throughout the winter.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Ski Trail Report

Great/Excellent Spring Ski

Tracked this morning- Lace Lake Trail (5 km.), Tall Pines Trail (1.6 km ), and Knapp Trail 1.5 km.) opened and tracked. Banadad east end opened and tracked  out  3 km  to the Tim Knapp turn-off

Snow on the Ground- 18"
New snow past three days ago - 10-12 inches
Snow base on trail: 14"

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ski Trail Report

Lace Lake Trail (5 km.), Tall Pines Trail (1.6 km , and Knapp Trail 1.5 km.) opened and tracked.
Banadad east end opened and tracked  out  6.6 km  to the Meads Lake Portage

Snow on the Ground- 22"
New snow past 24 hours- 1-2"
Snow base on trail: 19"

This year due to the December ice/heavy wet snow which littered the trail with brush and trees we have not been able to get the entire Banadad cleared. We cleared the Banadad's east end (19 km.) twice and a portion of the west end  but the trees and tops of conifers kept falling into the trail. Now it is litter with more trees. Don't know when the trees which are load with heavy encrusted snow are going to stop falling.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Twenty-six inches of beautiful snow on the ground-

Tracked: Banadad's eastern end trails tracked yesterday- including the Lace Lake. Tall Pines, Knapp and Banadad to Knapp. - 9 kilometers

Skiing is excellent on the tracked section of the Banadad Trails.

Snow base: 20"

Some low hanging branches along the tracked trails. We have cleared the whole eastern end at least twice and some of the western end of the Banadad but trees and conifer tops are continuing to fall on the more remote sections of the trail system.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Making Progress on the Banadad Trails

Lace Lake, Tall Pine, Knapp and first 3 Kilometers Banadad Opened and tracked.

Snow on the Ground: 18"
Tracked Trails: 8 kilometers

Crews out removing down trees and brush from the Banadad report about 1/4 mile left of the Banadad to clear on the trail's eastern end. USFS crews planned to have been working on west end of the Banadad Thursday and Friday. No report yet on what was accomplished.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mother Nature Creates Difficult Opening of the Banadad

When we last posted here, the Banadad Trail Association had just hosted the annual trail clearing day and membership meeting.  Several volunteers had clipped and sawed their way through miles of alder brush and fallen trees, readying the trail for the winter.  More trail-clearing folks followed in the next couple of weeks, and we all had a good feeling about the upcoming ski season.

How quickly that changed! The much-anticipated snow finally came, but not as the fluffly, fat flakes that we prefer.  Instead, it fell heavy and wet, cloaking every twig and tree in a thick coat.  Mother Nature mixed in a bit of freezing drizzle, and then added more of that same kind of snow.  Someone likened it to wet cement.  That was an apt description, for when it solidly froze, just like dried cement, it weighted those trees until they were bowing down to the ground.  For many miles, the trail was completely impassable.  As beautiful as it was, it created miles of havoc, and a boatload of new clearing to be done.

For the last several weeks, many people, both volunteer and paid, have been working hard to clear the trail so that it is usable this winter.  The good news is that at this point, the Lace Lake Trail (4K) and the Tall Pines Trail (1.7K) are both opened and groomed.  The snow depth is 18".  Snow still covers the trees, making for a uniquely beautiful trail.  Come out and ski it!

The eastern end of the Banadad is once again nearly cleared, with about another day or two of work remaining.  As soon as we get fresh snow, this section will be groomed and tracked.  The trail will extend to the mid-trail junction, near the yurt.  A loop will be possible, utilizing the Moose Trail.  While not what we would have hoped for back in October when we were working, at least we have something here to ski. The distance for this section is 15.5K.

Unfortunately, it is not expected that the western end of the Banadad will be open this season.  Much work remains on the remaining 12K.  As time and funding permit, we will chip away at it, and we welcome your help if you so desire.  To that end, a sign has been posted in the parking lot, and two saws are hanging for anyone who wants to snowshoe in on the trail and cut a few things away. 

We are so grateful to everyone who has stepped in to assist in the herculean effort to re-open the trail.  Mother Nature tossed us some lemons, but we didn't let that stop us.  Join us on the Banadad, the Lace Lake Trail and the Tall Pines Trail, and see how pretty this season has turned out to be. 


Blog Archive