Mushing at Bearskin

New!  2022 schedule for dog sled trips

There is a very limited amount of mushing available anywhere in Cook County in 2022.  We are fortunate that mushers Erin Altemus and Matt Schmidt are returning to Bearskin for a few dates this year.

Erin and Matt are primarily racers (Matt won the Gunflint Mail Run this year), so they have scheduled Bearskin dates around their races. They also have full-time jobs. Because there is so little mushing available this year in Cook County, we are getting many calls, mostly from guests at other resorts, asking for other dates. The answer is no. We are so fortunate that they could do a few dates for us this year, but their dates are their decision. They may choose to add more dates, but the info will appear here if they do. We will email our guests whenever they add dates.

In order to be ensure that our own guests get the first opportunity to book these trips, reservations for dog sled trips from off-site visitors will not be taken until 2 weeks before the dates. Call our front desk (218-388-2292) and leave us your contact information and dates beforehand. At the 2 week deadline date, we will contact you if we have available reservations for dog sled adventures. The other option for mushing in Cook County is Points Unknown in Hovland, a full-time dog sled business. Call 218-370-0283.

Dates & Details

Mushing available on the following dates.

  • December 31, 2021 FULL
  • January 1, 2022 FULL
  • January 22, 2022 A FEW SPOTS LEFT
Time slots for each date: 10:00 AM,  11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM
Prices: $125 adult (age 13+), $75 per child
Number of riders per trip: Our mushers have two sleds.  Both sleds will go out during each time slot.  Your group can book one or both sleds, depending on group size.  Sled #1: 3 riders maximum — accommodates two adults and one child or two children and one adult. Sled #2: 2 riders maximum — one adult and one child, or just one adult, or just two children. 300 lb total weight of riders per sled. Maximum two sleds at a time.

Trip details: Each mushing trip will be an approximately 30-minute ride (depending on trail conditions) with extra time to meet the dogs and learn about mushing.  Expect to be outside for a minimum of 45 minutes.

Weather info:  Our mushers will determine if conditions are unsafe and will contact you if there will need to be a change. They are parents, so they are very cautious. Please be sure that you provide us with contact info that will work while you are up here.

Cancellation policy:  Only book this trip if you truly intend to come. The dog sled trips are not Bearskin’s business, but rather the mushing business is owned by a young couple who are our friends; they receive all the funds. If you do not show up, you deprive them of income for that time slot. If you are an off-site guest, we will take a significant deposit when you book. Should you need to cancel more than 5 days out, we will refund the deposit after keeping a $20 processing fee for each trip. Within 5 days, we will keep the deposit and pay it to the mushers, unless the trip rebooks with another group — then we refund the deposit under the same rules as 5 days out.  It’s a very fair policy.  Bottom line:  do not reserve one of our limited number of trips unless you really plan to come.

Important day-visitor info:  Until things change, we are asking all visitors to wear a mask when you are inside the Main Lodge building. You’ll probably want to go into the lodge to use the restroom, buy some hot chocolate, or just wait for your turn, so plan on bringing a mask for each family member. You need not wear one anywhere else on the premises. Thank you!

Our mushers

Mushers Erin Altemus and Matt Schmidt will be returning to Bearskin this winter to offer a limited schedule of dog sled trips on site at Bearskin. As many of you know, our long-time musher Erik Simula retired. (Guests often ask — Erik is doing great and is now director of a local historical society).  Erik was a hard act to follow, but Erin and Matt, who offer an equally outstanding dog sled experience for Bearskin guests.

Matt and Erin started running sled dogs at YMCA Camp Menogyn on the Gunflint Trail 15 years ago. Several years later they started their own kennel and began racing. Now they have almost 40 dogs in the deep woods off the Gunflint Trail and a preschooler daughter Sylvia, who aspires to run the dogs someday. Matt and Erin take turns racing the dogs in the Gunflint Mail Run and Beargrease every year and often run races in Michigan and Maine as well. This year they bring their guiding experience to Bearskin to offer tours and education about mushing.

Erin and Matt are professional dog sled racers. Watch for them in major Minnesota dog sled races — it’s always fun to have a special musher to follow. When they aren’t racing, they’ll be at Bearskin to give dog sled trips. Everything fills up well ahead of time, so give us a call early if you’re hoping to experience a dog sled trip during your Bearskin stay.