Classic Ski Weekend at Flathorn Gegoka
By Rudi Hargesheimer, Outdoor Writer/Photographer
I thought I had graduated to the perfection of the North Shore’s best cross-country ski trails long time ago.
Beautiful ski trails are everywhere in the Arrowhead’s big snow belt with twelve feet wide, skate lane on the left, classic track on the right. Guaranteed grooming creates a fast and firm deck for super fun skiing.
An abrupt stop to that awaited our group of ten on a trip to the Flathorn Gegoka Ski Area. We re-discovered old style classic single-track skiing, tight woods yet nicely groomed trails. Our group shared two simple cabins, at a rustic but very nice resort. I felt we stepped back in time.
The skiing started right outside the door. The groomer had just set a new track into seven inches of fresh fluff. Down the hill to Gegoka Lake, past the sauna building and the hole in the ice, around the lake and onward for 20 to 30 kilometers we skied.
The Arrowhead is Minnesota’s most reliable place for deep snow. We reveled in it. We skied beneath towering pines bedecked with four feet of snow. We gilded through tunnels of overhanging birch and poplar, all totally immersed in white magic. Smiles were everywhere. The terrain here is skier friendly. There are no “expert only” trails, but there are plenty of fine runs, with twists and turns to thrill one and all.
After the morning ski we came back to the main lodge for lunch. Then back to the trails til past dusk. Fantastic!
That’s when the tough decision had to be made. Do we sauna first? Or do we do the hot tub? Or do we eat dinner and then bask in the tub and sauna? And somewhere in there we had to keep open some time to groove on the local music in Finland, Minnesota.
Our group did a combination of the above. The sauna was stoked past 200 degrees. The jump into the lake felt oh so good. At least that’s what they told me. I opted for the somewhat less invigorating roll in snow. The hot tub was full of jovial rapport and the lasagna dinner was great followed by some bluesy steel guitar talent.
The next day repeated the first. The sky was perfectly blue, the air incredibly brisk and the skiing was just as perfect.
It was good. No it was great! It was truly classic skiing weekend in classic ski heaven.