Archive for the ‘Skiing’ Category.

Spring Banadad Bulletin

Greetings from your BTA President!
Ski season ended early this year—but despite a disappointing season for cross country skiers, we saw a lot of activity on the Banadad Trail this year and conditions were pretty good. I hope you were able to get out to the trail for a ski this year. I skied it several times and the conditions were good and the scenery beautiful as always! Ted and Jim did a great job of grooming in tricky conditions—thanks for the great work!
As spring begins, we look to summer and maintenance and planning work.  This issue of the Banadad Bulletin includes information on this year’s grooming report, our upcoming tree planting efforts to offset our carbon footprint from grooming with the snowmobile, an update from our membership committee, and more. Of course the big project we are taking on this year is the relocation of the trail’s western trailhead.
Our organization continues to grow—with the help of many of you! We continue to build our organization capacity and membership base, and will conduct strategic planning this year to ensure our organization has clear goals to ensure we have the capacity to continue stewardship of this wonderful resource, the Banadad Ski Trail.
To all of you who love the Banadad and support our work, a heartfelt THANK YOU!! Please consider getting more involved—we will need volunteers to help with trail maintenance this year, tree planting in May, and are open to your ideas on how to continue to preserve and maintain the Banadad.
Linda Bosma
The 2012 Winter on the Banadad
This past winter the skiing on the trail got off to a slower than usual start. In past years some portions of the trail were skiable by the Thanksgiving holidays. This year serious skiing did get underway by late December.  While ten kilometers of the trail’s eastern end was tracked there was not enough snow on the trail to track the remainder of the Banadad. Then twelve inches of snow fell just before New Year’s followed by another three inches the next night. Following the storm groomers were out and the entire trail was tracked for the first time this season.
On January 6 the first skiers completed the entire trail.  Nicole and Mathew, from Little Falls had that honor. Starting on January 6 from the west end trailhead, the pair skied the 12 kilometers to the Bedew Lake Yurts. After spending two nights at the yurt camp they skied 18 kilometers to the East End trailhead.  After completing the trip they stated that the trail was in good shape and they had a great time.
Unlike most of the state, the ski trails on the Gunflint had great snow and skiing through the winter. Then the week of March 1l came and it all ended! The temperature went-up into the 50’s seemingly over night. On March 18 the last two skiers, clad in t-shirts and shorts were spotted near the eastern trailhead. When ask how the skiing was they stated that, “they were able to ski about 3 km to the first Beaver Pond, but encountered many bare spots.” By the next day with temperatures hovering in the sixties there was little snow left.
This was the first year within the twenty nine year history of the Banadad that there was not enough snow on the Trail to ski into April.  With the Trail’s late opening this makes this year’s season one of,  if not the shortest ski season ever.
Even with the shortened season groomers, Jim Raml, and Ted Young still put-in 124 ½ hours and traveled some 486 miles grooming and tracking the trail this past season.
Trail Highlights- the Midtrail Junction
This is the first of a series of “trail highlights” on interesting features you will find along the trail. Additional trail highlights will be featured in future Banadad Bulletins and we hope to incorporate into future trail maps.
The Mid Trail Junction is located at the northern end of the old logging road that connected the Birch Cliff and Tucker Lake Logging Roads with Finn Lake Logging Road.  The Mid-Trail Junction is the spot were these old logging road came together. The site is located approximately midway along the Banadad.
Members of the Minnehaha Academy Ski Team at the trail’s Mid-Trail Junction- first week in March 2012
Some additional history – Following the 1964 Wilderness Act and 1978 Boundary Waters Act, logging within the Wilderness where these roads were located was prohibited. Beginning in 1982 these road were reopened as a Nordic Ski trail. The purpose of the new 28 kilometer wilderness trail was to link the Gunflint’s Central and Upper Nordic Ski Trails.
The first skiers through this new trail were in 1983. They skied from Borderland Lodge (now Cross River Lodge) to Windigo Lodge. First called the Ski Thru Trail, Artery Trail or Tucker Lake Trail, depending to whom you asked, the trail was officially named, by the Gunflint ski resorts, the Banadad in l984.
More then an Average Number of Skiers on the Trail this Season
With a lack of ski-able snow on most other ski trails in the state and even with the ski season’s slow start it appeared that the Banadad was off to a recorded number of skiers for the Season Then came the mid-March thaw and the season was over. The final total number of skier days for this year was 908. This compared to a past seven year average of 856 skier days.
The number of skier days is tabulated from the BWCA Permits filled out during the season. However, many people do not bother to fill out this permit, particularly “locals.”  To compensate for skiers not filling out permits the number of skiers that fill out permits is multiplied by 10% and this is then added to come out with the yearly estimated total number of skier days.
Banadad Trail Green-Up May 5 and 12
For the past four years the carbon produced by the equipment used to maintain and groom the Banadad Ski Trail has been sequestered in tree planting.  According to the Linda Bosma, BTA President; “tree planting is our way to insure that the maintenance and grooming of the trail remains carbon neutral”.
This year’s Banadad Tree Planting is scheduled for 10:00 AM, Saturday, May 5 and May 12. Planting will last about four to five hours. Meet at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse, 11 Poplar Creek Drive. Tools, tree seedlings and supervision provided.
For those needing lodging for the Tree Planting, Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B and Cabins is offering a special rate of $89/person plus taxes for two nights lodging, Barbara’s famous breakfasts each morning and a trail lunch. If you need overnight accommodations or would like more information, go to lodging or call 800-388-4487 or if in Cook County call 388-4487.
This Year’s Major Project- the Re-route of the Trail’s Eastern Trailhead
Assisted by a Minnesota DNR grant the Banadad Trail Association is working on obtaining easement and relocating a quarter- mile of the trail’s western end. Easement is required on this portion of the trail since it will travel across private land. The current owners of the property are interest in facilitating the easement and trail re-route.
This May Tom Rice, Andy Jenks and Ted Young plan to work on laying out the new trail route. The new route is  expect to be move east of the old trail. As part of the project the parking area will be enlarged and moved off the Gunflint Trail. We hope to have the project completed by next year’s ski season.

Getting the Trail Ready- This Year’s Maintenance Highlights

  • The highlight of this fall’s maintenance occurred on October 17 and 18 when eight volunteers rebuilt the Trail’s old dilapidated thirty-six foot bridge over the Banadad Creek between Banadad and Rush Lakes.  The bridge was in such bad shape that after the crew arrived at the bridge a portion of it collapsed as one of the volunteers walked across. Since the bridge was located in a remote area of the Trail, the construction crew canoed in, spent a night camping  on the trail and canoed out the next day. According to Ted Young, maintenance supervisor, “the old bridge certainly would not have supported the grooming equipment this coming winter.”
The bridge construction crew-Front left to right- Pete Harris (Grand Marais), Len Voit (Gunflint Trail), Lee Wenzel (Eden Prairie), Tom Rice (Shoreview), and Steve Lenius (Woodbury). Back- Ted Young (Gunflint Trail) and Karla Miller (Duluth).
Other maintenance projects this past fall:
  • West end of the Trail Cleared – Again this year five members of the Minnesota Conservation Corps widened one and half miles of the trail’s west end and then walked the entire eight miles of the west end trail clearing down trees as they walked.
  • Half Mile of East end Widened, – BTA’s regular trail maintenance crew member Jim Raml and his dog Blanca “ATVed” up to the BWCA line at the Meads Lake Portage. From there he hiked-in three and one half miles, clearing down trees as he walked. Jim camped on the trail and spent four wet-buggy ten-hour days widening about three-quarters of a mile of the brush-blocked trail. Great job Jim!
  • LaceLake, Tall Pines and Knapp Trails – Located outside the BWCA where mechanical equipment is allowed, chainsaws were used to clear all the summers’ accumulation of down trees. Later the center brush was mowed with a brush hog equipped track Bobcat on the trails outside the BWCA. “The swampier” sections of these trails we plan to clear by hand with a brush saw.
  • Volunteers – working over two weekends twenty-five volunteers from the Banadad Trail Association, Minnehaha Academy Ski Team and North Star Ski Touring Club logged 174 hours clearing  2 ½ miles of brush and down trees at the trail’s two ends. This year volunteers worked exclusively within the BWCA which required that all work be done by hand.
Note from the Membership Committee
If you haven’t become a member, please consider joining to support the trail you love. Annual membership categories range from $15 upwards. Please see the Banadad Trail Association’s website at for more information and to sign up to become a member. We need your support, your muscle, and your pocketbook! The Banadad Trail Association is a 501 (c) (3) organization and your donations are tax deductible.
Support the Banadad Ski Trail by Joining the Banadad Trail Association! Click on membership to join

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Banadad Closes for the Season.

Sorry folks, it is all over.  On March 18 the last two skiers of the season skied on the Banadad. They were able to ski about 2 km to the first Beaver Pond, but encountered many bare spots. By the next day with temperatures hovering in the fifties there was little snow left.

This was the first year within the twenty nine year history of the Banadad that there was not enough snow on the Trail to ski well into April.  And with the Trail’s late opening this makes this year’s season one of if not the shortest ski season ever.

Year’s First Thru-Skiers on the Banadad

Two skiers from Little Falls, Minnesota, Nicole and Mathew were the first to ski the entire Banadad this season. The pair started on January 6 from the west end trailhead and skied the 12 kilometers to the Bedew Lake Yurts. After spending two nights at the yurt camp they skied the 18 Kilometers to the east end trailhead.  After completing the trip they stated that the trail was in good shape and they a great time.

New Years Day- Plenty of Snow on the Banadad

Twelve inches of snow now on the Ground after another three inches fell last night. The Gunflint’s Nordic trails are open. Along the Banadad Ski Trail System ten kilometers of trails are tracked on the eastern end. The BWCA longest tracked trail the Banadad has been packed and plans are to track the entire trail early this week  The snow is beautiful!

Banadad Bridge Re-build in the News

The replacing of the Banadad Bridge on September 17 was noted in a recent article on Cook County’s own public radio’s website- click on BWCA Bridge to veiw.  An article on the project  also can be found on the Midwest’s  leading Nordic Ski websites – Skinny Ski.

Great Spring Skiing- April 5

Late Spring Skiing

Eighteen inches of snow, including eight fresh heavy wet snow over past weekend.  East end of the Banadad, Knapp and Lace Lake Trail tracked Monday. The snow is beautiful!  And of course do not forget “crust skiing” – you can travel anywhere.

Yurt Cooking With Chris

While staying at the Tall Pine Yurt three intrepid BTA board members put together this informative video – “Cooking With Chris.”  If you have trouble viewing  video paste into your browser the following-

Not sure of what to prepare for your breakfast at a yurt, this video may help or maybe not!

The three were joined by a four person on a Yurt to Yurt Ski trip last weekend.

Exciting New Ski-Mushing Event Planned at Bearskin

Bearskin Lodge will hold a different kind of ski race and it look like it will be great fun. Here is what it is all about-

On the morning of February 13th, 10:30 a,m.  Bearskin Lodge will host the Bearskin Wilderness Pursuit, Man versus Dog.

Bearskin Lodge, a Gunflint Trail landmark since 1925, specializes in exceptional cross-country skiing as well as outstanding dog sled tours into the neighboring Boundary Waters Wilderness. Bearskin Wilderness Pursuit, Man versus Dog will feature both of these activities. The race will pit mushers against skiers in a unique mass start race. Mushers and skiers will race on separate side-by-side tracks, competing head-to-head, but dog teams will travel a greater distance in consideration of their faster pace. Winning skiers and mushers should cross the finish line at nearly the same time. Prizes will be awarded for fastest skier, fastest musher, and fastest overall time, as well as various other categories. This race, which starts at 10:30 AM, will be a thrilling event for both competitors and spectators. Most of
the race course will follow the shoreline and dip into the bays of East Bearskin Lake. The start, finish, and head-to-head competition will be visible from just in front of the main lodge.

Be part of the excitement. Our mushing teams are already registered, but all levels of skiers are still welcome to join in the competition. For more information or to register for the race go to or call (218) 388 2292 or (800) 388 4170.

New Years Banadad Bulletin

The Association’s latest e-Newsletter is now available. This edition contains information on the trail conditions included background on a few of the people who keep the trail open.



New Years


Heavy Snow Piles-up on Banadad Ski

Here is a New Year’s present for all of you waiting to ski Northeast Minnesota’s Banadad Ski Trails.  On December 21, trail staff finally removed the last of the brush and down trees blocking the 41 Kilometer of the Banadad Ski Trail system.  According to trail staff member, Ted Young, “while we still have a bit more clean-up along some parts of the trail, at least you can get through.” Opening of the trail this year was delayed do to a windstorm in October that dropped many large trees into the trail and a November rain, followed by snow that bent over the side brush into the trail.  It took trail crews considerably more time then usual to clear these downed trees and the side brush.

Now more snow has passed through the area, the first storm dumped four inches of heavy wet snow on the trail, then the temperature dropped and more snow has since fallen. The Lace Lake, Tall Pines, Knopp and 4 kilometers of the east end of the Banadad Trails were tracked again on New Years Eve day.  The eastern end of the trail was tracked yesterday and groomers hope to have the trail completely tracked early this week.

Most of the Banadad Trails are located within the BWCA. The system is centrally located along the 200-kilometer  Gunflint Nordic Trail System.  For the past two seasons, the Banadad Trail Association has taken a leadership role to ensure the Banadad Trail continues into the future. The BTA contracts with  Boundary Country Trekking (BCT) to provide the maintenance and grooming of the Banadad System. Together with BCT’s vast experience and the aid of volunteers, the BTA is committed to continuing the Banadad Trail System for great wilderness skiing.

Your Trail Staff

Barbara and Ted on Island following Blowdown

Ted Young: After a tour with the Marine Corps, Ted attended the University of Minnesota and went on to graduate school at Roosevelt University where he majored in Urban Studies. Ted spent the next eleven years working as an organizer in Chicago, Lake County, Indiana, St. Paul, and northeastern Minnesota. In 1975 Ted and his wife Barbara moved to their family’s rustic log cabin island home on Poplar Lake. The Young family has owned this island since 1952. The couple began a dogsledding touring company in 1976. In 1984 they open the Croft Yurt midway along the Banadad Trail at Bedew Lake. With the opening of the yurt, Ted joined the other Gunflint ski lodges (Bearskin, Golden Eagle, Gunflint, Gunflint Pines, and Borderland) that were maintaining and grooming the Banadad. Two years later this yurt business was incorporated under the name of Boundary Country Trekking.

Sometime during the mid-1990s the other ski lodges working on the Banadad decided that they needed to spend more time working on their own ski trails and could no longer work on the Banadad. With that, sole responsibility for maintaining the Banadad was turned over to Ted.

The Young’s moved to Little Ollie Lake at the end of the Banadad with the construction and opening of the company’s Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B in 2001.  In addition to the B&B the Youngs now operate three Yurts along the trail and two cabins near the B&B.

Two year’s ago when responsibility for the Banadad was taken over by the Banadad Trail Association, Ted was appointed by the Association to serve as the trail’s Maintenance Supervisor.

Jim with dog Blanca

James Raml: James has worked on the Banadad for the past seven years. A 25-year resident of Cook County, he makes his home on an area lake next to the BWCAW where he also works as a guide, conducts forest rehabilitation and enhancement work for private individuals, as well as any other work he may find. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, James is also a self-taught forest ecologist who is well versed in forest ecosystems and reforestation. As an active member of the Gunflint Trail Scenic Byway Committee, he recently researched, wrote and produced the committees’ Vegetation Management Plan for the scenic byway corridor. James’ previous work experience includes 10 seasons as a contractor and wilderness ranger in the BWCA, four seasons as a member of an initial attack helicopter wildfire firefighter crew, and 10 seasons working in Antarctica as a mechanic and field camp manager.

Ted says of Jim that, “On the trail I can always depend on Jim getting the job done and when there is a problem, figuring out what needs to be done to solve the problem. A few years ago while grooming the trail by himself, Jim broke though the ice on a beaver pond. With the snowmobile stuck in three feet of water, Jim unhooked the track setter from the snowmobile, attached a rope and come-a-long and winched out the sled. He then went back for the track setter. Soaking wet and getting colder by the moment, Jim rode the snowmobile twenty miles back to our base at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B. He arrived back safely, though nearly frozen, with the equipment safely in tow.”

Matt and Mike Hendrickson: For the past two years when extra hands were needed to clear a storm blocked trail we have, fortunately, been able to hire Matt and Mike. The two cousins are band members from Grand Portage who currently work at Windigo Lodge. Both are experienced woodsmen.

Volunteers: Without the help of volunteers, Ted and Jim would never be able to get the trail opened each year. According to Ted, “For years we have been able to depend on the Twin Cities’ North Start Ski Touring and Minnehaha Academy’s High School Ski Team members to work on the trail each year.”

Anne Rykken, the Academy’s ski coach has said that one reason she brings her team up is that ski team members need to know that ski trails do not magically appear each winter. A lot of hard work goes into getting the trails ready. By bringing her team up to work on the Banadad, they truly learn how much work is required. It was Anne that coined the phase, “the Banadad Beavers” which we now call our work crews.

Also assisting us have been many “locals” and others from all over that have volunteered their labor. Now with the organizing of the Trail Association, the Association Board and members seem to be always willing to lend a hand on the trail when needed. Of course we cannot forget the USFS, which has provided many crews over the years and was responsible for providing two Minnesota Conservation Corps crews the past two years.

Annually these volunteers provide an estimated 300-400 hours of labor removing the down trees and brush along trail.

The Ski Season is Here – If You Have Not Joined the

Association Yet – Join Now!

The Banadad Trail Association was organized two years ago to preserve, maintain, and protect the Banadad Ski Trail, the longest tracked ski trail in the Boundary Waters. The Association’s growing membership is made up of skiers, businesses, and individuals who want to ensure that the Trail continues to be a resource for skiers into the future.

Your Membership benefits include:

  • Regular trail updates through our Newsletter the Banadad Bulletin and current trail condition reports.

  • The right to vote on the Associations officers and board members and participate in charting the direction of the Association and the trail.

  • Priority in organizing and participating in trail maintenance projects.

  • A 5% discount on lodging at the Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B, Cabins and the Banadad Yurts.

  • Free ski trail maps.

  • Free parking at the trail’s eastern and western trailheads.

  • An Invitation to the Association’s Annual Potluck Dinner and Meeting held in October on the Gunflint Trail

And most importantly, you will get the satisfaction that you are helping to protect and preserve the Boundary Waters (BWCA) longest tracked cross country ski trail — the Banadad. Join now!





The Banadad Trail Association (BTA) is a non profit organization made up of skiers dedicated to supporting, protecting and preserving the Boundary Waters longest tracked ski trail- the Banadad. We urge you to join!

Name ________________________________________

Address _________________________________________________

City/State/Zip code _________________________________________

Phone ( ___)________________ E-mail ____________________________________

Membership Levels

____$15   Resident (Cook County, MN only)

____$25   Individual

____$35   Family

____$50   Trail Maintainer

____$100 Trail Builder

____$250 Founding Member (2009/10 only)

____$500 Lifetime Preservationist

$________ Banadad Booster (additional donation)

Total Enclosed $____________

Checks Payable to:

Banadad Trail Association

Mail To:

Banadad Trail Association

P.O. Box 436

Grand Marais, MN 55604

For additional information call:


Hope to see you on the Banadad soon!

Former Minnehaha Acadamy Skier Leads University Group

The second group completing the entire Banadad was a party of four from the University of Minnesota, lead by Elise Schiffman. The group spent Monday night at the Tall Pines Yurt. The following day, they skied the 20 kilometers east end of the Banadad Trail, and then spent the night at the Croft Yurt. They spent next day at the Croft snowshoeing, skiing, and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Thursday, they skied the remaining 12 kilometers west end to their car.

Elise was no stranger to the trail. She has been through a three times as a member of Anne Rykken’s Minnehaha Acadamy ski team.  Additionally, her parents – Karen and Eric – have braved the same trails to the yurt twenty- six years previous.

Joining her this time was  Mary Wangen, James Overton and Julia Winkels – each deepening their love of the quiet trails and silent hills. All participants are from the University of Minnesota, hailing from the Twin Cities; let us hope this jaunt in the wild is far from their last.