The Grand Rapids area of northern Minnesota offers exceptional opportunities for winter recreation. You have your choice of snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing, not to mention simply walking in a quiet area and enjoying the unique peace of Minnesota’s great north woods and beautiful lakes. Come prepared to have the time of your life, AND prepare so that you stay safe during travel here, as well as when you’re out playing on the trails and the lakes.
Winter in northern Minnesota (or any part of MN!) is nothing to take lightly. Plan ahead for eventualities so that you’re not stranded if an emergency arises.
Pack a survival kit for your car (and your snowmobile or your ski/snowshoe hike)
Your auto survival kit should also plan for every eventuality you can think of. Include water, snacks that store well, warm sleeping bags and clothing (in the event that you become stranded in your car without heat), and a shovel. Your survival “kit” when you recreate will be a similar version of this, depending upon your sport. Pack similar items in case your sled breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Skiers and snowshoers should carry a small backpack with the means to start a small fire if needed, compass, warm clothing, phone, and rain gear.
Make sure you’ll have good cell phone coverage en route to Grand Rapids
As well as in the areas where you’ll be recreating. Will you be far out on snowmobile trails, for example, savoring the beauty and solitude of Minnesota’s northern forests? Make sure you can contact help if you get into trouble. Consider a satellite phone if you don’t want to depend upon cell service being available.
Let others know where you’ll be exploring
This is always a wise idea. If you’re staying in Grand Rapids lodging, for example, let the front desk know which snowmobile trails you intend to ride, how long and far you expect to ride, and when you anticipate returning. The same should go for any exploration into the woods on skis, snowshoes, or on foot. If you’re staying with friends, let someone know of your detailed plans.
Carry a compass or GPS and know how to use them
People often get lost in the woods. It’s easy to get turned around and actually be very close to help, but not know it. Take your compass or GPS, and practice with them BEFORE you head out on the trail, or the lake.
Dress in layers
Hypothermia can set in very quickly, even when it doesn’t seem “that cold” outside. Wear layers that retain heat and stay dry. Sweat, or accidentally getting into cold water, for example, could end in a tragic situation if you’re not prepared.
Pay attention to ice depths and warnings
Don’t go out on the lake to fish if the ice is unsafe! Find out about ice depth BEFORE you drive your vehicle out to an ice house.
Enjoy the beautiful winter sports opportunities in the Grand Rapids, MN, area – and keep yourself safe in the process!