More than One Way to Winter on the North Shore

While the North Shore may be cold and snowy, that doesn’t stop us from enjoying the winter!

Whether you’re looking to venture into the great outdoors and take in the majestic sparkling scenery or you prefer to hunker down in fuzzy socks near a cozy fire, there is an activity for every type of winter enthusiast! No matter the getaway you need most, there is sure to be an event to match. Below are just a few of this season’s upcoming attractions, choose your winter Odyssey and be sure to reserve your room to make the most of it!

Ryan Anderson guides his dogs through the snow on the last few miles of the 370 mile Joh Beargease Sled Dog Marathon. Photo by Dennis O'Hara

John Beargrease Dog Sled Marathon Festival 

January 24-29

Did you know the North Shore is home to the premier sled dog race series in North America? The annual race covers 400 miles and is the longest in the lower 48 United States! This year more than 60 teams of mushers will participate in several different classes. The route for the marathon race starts on the north side of Duluth and then hugs Lake Superior as the racers head toward the U.S.-Canada border. 

In addition to watching a fantastic display of athleticism and endurance by the dogs and mushers, spectators can participate in a host of activities. Some local favorites are the cub run, the mini sled dog races, the vet checks, and the cutest puppy contest. There is also a silent auction and tap takeover featuring beers from local favorites Pent Paddle and Castle Danger.


The Cook County Ridge Riders Snowmobile Drag Race Series

January 25- February 29 

Offering some of the best snowmobiling in the Upper Midwest, the Cook County Ridge Riders host an annual series of snowmobile drag races Saturdays throughout the winter at varying locations. Racers compete in 600cc, 700cc, and 800cc classes for cash prizes. Spectators are invited to watch the races and enjoy live music, food, and fun in the Northwoods. Dogs are welcome. Proceeds from the races benefit the grooming and maintenance of more than 400 miles of snowmobile trails in Cook County. 


Cold Front February 

February 1 

Residents of Duluth know how to lean into winter. Residents of Duluth know how to lean into winter. Celebrate one of the coldest times of the year with Cold Front February festival! It draws thousands of participants to Canal Park for a weekend of great food, drinks, and live music and outdoor activities. Stop by for sledding, yoga in the snow, snow sculpting, and fat-tire biking or warm-up at one of the outdoor firepits! There are events for all ages, and most are free. 


Two Harbors Winter Frolic

February 7-9

The annual Two Harbors Winter Frolic is the event for winter lovers. Local Two Harbors’ business and community members put on a weekend full of activities to remind you that every season has something to offer! Some of the favorites include the curling and boot hockey tournaments, vintage snowmobile ride, photo scavenger hunt, sliding and snow building contest, and the tug of war. There is also a Chili Cook-off, plenty of great food and live music. Bring the whole family and embrace the winter! 


Hygge Festival 

February 7-16

Hygge is a Danish word for embracing the simple pleasures in life and feeling relaxed and cozy with friends, family, and fire, and you don’t have to visit Denmark to experience it! Cook County celebrates this lifestyle with a 10-days of snowshoe hikes, craft, art exhibits, night skiing, foodie menus, and a cozy fireplace tour. Don’t forget to pick up some new socks and warm clothing at one of the local area businesses. 


Pincushion Ski Festival 

February 15

The North Superior Ski and Run Club sponsor’s one of the oldest cross-country ski races in the area on the beautiful Pincushion Mountain Trail System. The Grand Marais race is a celebration of cross-country skiing and a fundraiser for maintaining the trails. There are races of several different lengths as well as kids and family skiing opportunities, with ski rental available!

After you take your skis off, stick around for live music, food, and warm beverages in the warming shack. Then head outside to the bonfire to roast some ‘mallows or take part in human bowling and a game of tug o’ war! Ski pros from Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply will be on-site all day to help out and give insider tips.


Fiber Week 

February 11-17

Calling all Fiber enthusiasts! Join together in Grand Marais for the 10th Annual Fiber Week at the Art Colony & North House Folk School! The event features a series of fun and informative talks and demonstrations, film screenings, open studio, and learning opportunities. There are more than a dozen courses to choose from that focus on community, creativity, and exploration. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about textiles and their history, perfect your craft, and showcase your work!


After a day exploring communities on the North Shore, head back to your resort and warm up with a relaxing break in the pool or sauna, or a warm drink by the fire. Experience the best of winter up and down the North Shore with Odyssey Resorts!

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