This year Kate and I finally skied the full length of the Banadad Ski Trail. It’s been something we’ve been meaning to do for a long time, and has remained a stain on our resume of Gunflint Trail skiers.
The Banadad trail is a 27 km trail traveling through the BWCA. Unlike Bearskin’s ski trails it is a narrow single track trail, so classic skiing is the only option. The eastern end of the trail connects to the Lace Lake trail, a short 4k loop that then ties into Bearskin’s Poplar Creek trail, allowing us to start at the west end and ski home.
Most of the trail is fairly flat, with a few exciting hills in the middle section. The grooming was in great shape, and the weather was perfect.
Just past the half way point we stopped for a quick snack in a sunny opening at the bottom of one of the larger hills. It was evident from the tracks of other skiers that most of the traffic on the trail was starting at the east side.
A short while after our snack break we entered a clearing and saw a moose staring back at us in the middle of the ski trail. We watched each other for a good while. It became apparent that the moose had no interest in moving. Turning around was not an option for us, so we tried politely reasoning with moose and scooted forward a bit. When we got closer 3 more moose revealed themselves, and we realized that we were simply going to have to wait. After a short wait the congregated moose decided that they had no more business to conduct on that section of trail, and headed on their way.
We finished the trail, and took photos at the trail head. We hadn’t thought to do the same at the western trail head, so you’ll just have to believe us that we started there.
We skied the Lace Lake trail, and were reinvigorated once we hit Poplar Creek, one of our home trails. We made the harrowing descent of the gravel pit hill and were home.
It was a long day of skiing, and it felt good to be finished. The Banadad is certainly one of the most unique ski experiences in the Midwest, and a great adventure.