It was a very white Christmas for the northland, great news for winter recreation. Some fresh snow will be good for the ski and snowmobile trails. People have been getting out on both already, but more snow will make for well groomed trails. Meanwhile, Rainy Lake continues to freeze up and there’s sufficient ice for spearhouse enthusiasts to get out around the mouth of Black Bay. Anglers are taking portable gear on some of the bays where they have been pulling in some walleye and crappie using jigs and minnows. As always, check on the ice conditions and put safety first. The resorts, guide services and bait shops will all have the latest advice.
Following the holidays, our area will begin celebrating the winter weather and recreation. Icebox Days is a nearly week long winter frolic featuring the well-known “Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run” 5 and 10k races. Remember, only the bold run in the cold. There will be other events like Blind Joe appearing at Backus Auditorium. Winter gold on Rainy Lake, a toilet seat toss, turkey bowling and smoosh racing. The photo shows teams smooshing, four people are strapped to two-by-fours and then race. Going straight is easy, turning is not.Those and other events are all listed on our calendar under the events tab at the top of the page. Winter programs at Voyageurs National Park will include a Night Light snowshoe hike that is one of the fun things to do during Icebox Days. The Arrowhead Ultra 135 starts here in International Falls at the end of January. Again, you will find additional information on our calendar.
There’s a lot of winter recreation opportunities in the area, be sure to stop at our offices during your visit. We have maps and other information and just generally like to say welcome to our guests.
Temperatures are starting to settle below freezing consistently and that sets the stage for great recreation in our winter wonderland. Ice is forming on Rainy Lake and that means ice fishing will soon be available. Rainy Lake is an excellent winter fishery with a regular village of ice houses popping up along the private ice road on Sand Bay. There is a fee to use this ice road, but Voyageurs National Park will plow a road of their own along the northwester edge of the Park on Rainy Lake. The VNP Ice Road is open to the public and you can use it to access great potential ice fishing areas. Or, if you prefer, take your skis or snowshoes to do some exploring. The road will provide access to the solitude and stillness of winter in the National Park, truly a winter wonderland.
Snowmobilers will soon be able to ride the trails in borderland and as soon as the lake surface trails are deemed safe, they will be staked and will link all the Gateway communities for Voyageurs National Park. Area cross country ski trails will be groomed. The Tilson Bay and Black Bay trails are quite popular. The Oberholtzer trail at the Rainy Lake Visitor Center is groomed for snowshoes and the Park Service can even provide snowshoes if you don’t have your own.
There will be a number of great events throughout the winter and we try to keep them all posted on the Events section of this website. Just go to the top of the page and click on “events” in the header toolbar. One event you should plan on taking in is Icebox Days, with events scheduled from January 18-22, 2017. The featured event is the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run where only the Bold run the cold.