The Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race, Norpine Fat Bike Classic & More Return to Cook County in January

Families seeking the ultimate winter adventure destination are invited to Grand Marais and Lutsen, Minnesota from  Saturday, January 6 – Sunday, January 7, 2018, to see world-class dog sledding at the Gunflint Mail Run, watch cyclists gearing up at the second annual Norpine Fat Tire Classic, and try a dog sledding adventure of their own.

The Gunflint Mail Run marks the start of the dog sled racing season in the Midwest on Saturday, January 6 – Sunday, January 7. The race will start and finish at Trail Center Lodge, 7611 Gunflint Trail, on Poplar Lake, Grand Marais, Minnesota (Trail Center Lodge is approximately 30 miles up the Gunflint Trail).

Train Center Lodge

The two-day event consists of two legs of equal distance, separated by a mandatory layover, and two race classes: a 12-dog, 100-mile race, and an eight-dog, 65-mile race. The minimum purse for the 2018 race is $10,000 and will be divided among the winners of both races. For more race details, see Anyone who’d like to volunteer for the race can contact Cathy Quinn at

Trail Center Lodge is a great place to watch the race, according to Sarah Hamilton, co-owner of Trail Center and race director. “It’s fun to see the dogs as they arrive back. If you want to see the dogs on the trail, check out the north end of the trail: we have a spectator area at the Old Blankenberg Pit, where the 12-dog teams turn around,” she says. Great viewing is also available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at Big Bear Lodge and Rockwood Lodge and early Sunday morning when many racers are coming in.

Try dog sledding with an expert guide

Visitors who want to try a dog sledding adventure of their own should check out Points Unknown. Proprietress Linda Newman offers 1.5 to 3-hour rides — some at night, so visitors can see the area’s starry skies and possibly some Northern Lights. To find out about local events involving sled dogs and learn about other dog sledding outfitter and guides, click here.

Norpine Fat Bike Classic, January 6

The second annual Norpine Fat Bike Classic in Lutsen, takes place on Saturday, January 6, 2018 and showcases cycling fanatics from across the United States and Canada. They’ll compete for the chance to win a cash prize in the 24-mile long-course or a top finisher award in the 16-mile short-course. The course will take place on cross-country ski trails, requiring riders to be on 3.7-inch or wider tires.

The inaugural Norpine Fat Bike Classic, 2017

About 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series

The Norpine is part of the 45NRTH Great Lakes Fat Bike Series showcasing the best fat bike races in the Great Lakes Region. The events include seven mass-start fat bike tire races that take place in three states – Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Riders compete to earn points in each event and establish standing in the overall 45NRTH Great Lake Fat Bike Series.

About Visit Cook County

Cook County encompasses the northeastern Minnesota communities of Lutsen, Tofte, Schroeder, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail and Grand Portage, commonly referred to as “the Arrowhead” and the “North Shore of Lake Superior.” Grand Marais has earned several national accolades—most recently it was named USA Today’s Best Midwestern Small Town, Outside Magazine’s The 16 Best Places to Live in the U.S. 2016, and Budget Travel’s 2015 Coolest Small Town in America. Rekindle your sense of adventure by exploring the Superior National Forest or paddling through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Discover what makes the communities of Cook County “Naturally Unforgettable.” Connect on social media using #visitcc, Twitter @CookCoVisitors, Facebook, or Instagram @donorthmn.