Archive for January 2011

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.

First Through-Skier of Winter Does it Both Ways

Hailing from Two harbors and living in Ironwood Michigan, Leif yesterday ski the 30 kilometers Banadad from end to end and then back again. He started late in the morning at the trail’s west end parking area. The first 10 kilometers were untracked and still had snow cover brush blocking the trail in places.

At about noon he met groomers Jim Raml and Mike Hendrickson coming up from the east clearing the brush and tracking as they went. From that point on the trail was tracked, much better skiing,  but he still encountered some over hanging brush. Arriving at Poplar Creek Guesthouse B&B at about 2:30 PM Leif took time to filled his water bottle and then headed back onto trail to complete his round trip.  Leif’s 60-kilometer ski was completed, well after dark, sometime around 7:00 PM.

Good job and congratulation Leif this years first Banadad ski-through!

Added note- the groomers also returned about 7:00 PM. The entire Banadad is tracked- well at least until the next snow when they will be out again.