Ever heard the old adage “Leave a place better than you found it?” Year round, Rainy Lake welcomes visitors in masses. Winter months bring visitors that pride themselves in hardiness and bravery against the cold. Spring brings fishing opener enthusiasts in troves. Summer months bring families looking to rent houseboats and forge memories not soon forgotten. Fall brings hunters and foliage fans ready to admire the beauty of the changing seasons. There are visitors that know the hard work it takes to keep this place pristine and magical all 365 days of the year. As visitors continue to make Rainy Lake a return destination, the bonds that form become harder to break and full-time residents grow fond of the familiar faces that become forever friends.
The natural landscape and wildlife of this region make this place a sight to behold, but it’s the residents that give their time and devotion to a remote corner of the region to ensure that this place never loses its wonder. For visitors that want to make a difference wherever they go, there’s an upcoming event that allows participants to leave a lasting impact on Rainy Lake while enjoying an activity you already love.
12th Annual Speed Run Against Cancer
Got the need for speed? The 12th Annual Speed Run Against Cancer is a fantastic way to raise money for a great, local cause. Participants race snowmobiles to see who’s fastest for a chance at winning one of five prizes. Get ready for roaring engines, cheering spectators, and record speeds. Come dressed for the weather and be careful of other riders if traveling to the event by snowmobile.
The best part: proceeds from this event go toward a local charity that helps cover gas costs for local residents needing to travel for cancer treatment.
Preparing for the Big Race
Need some practice before your sign up? There is a plethora of well-groomed trails to discover. Visitors have been traveling to Rainy Lake for years to ride the trails and sightsee the beauty of the north under a thick blanket of white snow. Voyageur Trail Society keeps up-to-date trail conditions on their site here throughout the winter months.
If you’d like to find some straight shots or wide open space, check the trail map. We’ve prepared a checklist to review before you get on your sled to ensure you stay safe and are prepared for the conditions.
Where to Stay
The event takes place at Thunderbird Lodge, but reservations can fill up fast. If you’re planning on riding into the event via sled, there are many lodging options near Rainy Lake that you can choose from. Check out our site for alternatives consisting of hotels and motels to resorts, cabins, and bed and breakfasts.
The holidays are over and winter is now in full swing. The bitter cold seems less intense under the mid-day sun and the wind comes and goes leaving moments of stillness in between. The temps are low (or below zero) and daylight is short. But up north, we don’t let this slow us down. In fact, we embrace the cold. Not just because we’ve built up a tolerance to frigid air, but because staying active keeps the winter blues away and gives us a special, rare glimpse into nature’s stark beauty that comes only in the deepest part of winter.
What are the secrets to a perfect winter day? We’re glad you asked. Here’s how we’d spend every precious moment of daylight in our beautiful corner of Voyageurs National Park.
Through the years, suffering the cold has become a sort of challenge that we celebrate. It’s a challenge that many accept excitedly and many more accept begrudgingly. For instance, do you remember the ice bucket challenge where you dump a bucket of ice over a friend (or victim) for charity? Or the various snowball fights you had as a child or maybe still have, because who ever really grows out of wanting to play in the snow? We take stock in knowing that we’ve embraced the cold and we’re always a little rosier and prouder for doing so. It goes beyond our backyard though, with communities around the country celebrating winter’s beauty and coming together to make something magical, memorable, and fulfilling. It’s not just that we’re trying to beat the cold, but find a reason to make something meaningful because of it. In Leavenworth, Washington, they celebrate winter with the Bavarian Icefest which includes outdoor games, treats, and a stroll down a stunning street adorned with holiday lights. In our neighbor state of Wisconsin, they celebrate Winter Fest with art, music, and various family events and friendly competitions.
In International Falls, we have our own winter celebrations and, not to brag, but we’ve become quite famous for them. With several national news stations and big-name writers coming to check out Icebox Days and watch runners shiver through the Freeze Yer Gizzard Blizzard Run, we proudly own the “Icebox of the Nation” nickname. You’ll be hard pressed to find a colder place in the US than International Falls, MN, on any given day in January. But it’s just that challenge that we accept gladly as we prepare to celebrate the 40th Annual Icebox Days Winter Festival.
If you’re ready to celebrate the cold with us, there’s a plethora of activities to choose from in order to stay warm, and most importantly, have fun in January. To help you get organized, here are a few suggestions to make the most out of your festival weekend:
Want to see what Icebox Days from years past looked like? Read on from our blog here.