Bearskin’s detailed Covid-19 plans — everything you wish you knew, and more

Bearskin Lodge Covid-19 Plans

Our fall and winter of 2020/2021 will be a little different, like most of life seems to be these days. We are striving to plan a safe year that offers all your expected services, but still follows guidelines for providing a safe vacation experience in the Northwoods. Bearskin cabins offer the perfect way to self-isolate in a natural setting, but there will be times when you’ll need our assistance. Here’s what you need to know in order to keep us all healthy and happy while you’re here.

What we’re doing to keep you (and us) safer:

  • The Main Lodge building will be completely closed to guests, except for a Guest Services window in the front of the building. (Of course, the Lodge Units are still open.) Everything from the Main Lodge will still be available to you.
  • The front entry way has been rebuilt as a service window. All the assistance that you usually get from our helpful front desk staff will still be available at that window, with just a little more space in between us and our visitors.
  • Every cabin and lodge will have its own medical grade air filter (starting in December) that will be running when you arrive to filter the air from the previous guests.  We will ask you to turn this on again on the morning when you check-out.  It helps keep our staff safer and protects our next visitors.
  • What about internet, since the lodge is closed? We are installing internet in the cabins. So far, it seems to be working fairly well, but we will see what winter does to this arrangement. It’s a tricky, northwoods installation.
  • You will come to the front entryway to pick up remote check-in materials before you go to your cabin. Please do not enter your cabin before coming to the lodge, even if you are a long-time guest.
  • No early arrivals. No exceptions, please. The new disinfecting protocols will require the full day to accomplish all the necessary tasks. We will be miracle-workers if we can get it all done by 4 PM!
  • Our staff and our family will be observing strict social-distancing protocols. We will expect guests and visitors to do the same. Bearskin will be forced to close if our small staff gets sick, so please understand that we aren’t being rude if we keep some distance from you—we want to be here for everyone, all winter.
  • What’s a group? For social-distancing purposes, a group at Bearskin consists of people who choose to be with each other. Please don’t make a group with others unless a mutual decision has been made.
  • Bearskin cabins have always been well-sanitized. Clean cabins are what we are known for. However, disinfection is now also part of the plan. We will be following CDC guidelines for disinfecting your cabin thoroughly. We will also leave you extra disinfectants in your cabin for your use.
  • We will be disinfecting every object at the resort. Our staff will be wearing masks and we will ask you to do so also if you will be coming in contact with our staff or other guests.
  • Dealing with guest bedding and towels could be a somewhat risky task for our housekeeping staff. If your cabin is a “turn-over” (someone coming in later on the same day), we will ask you to put the towels, bedding blankets, and bedspreads into bags that we provide before you leave. We also ask you to turn on the air filter and turn on your ceiling fans.  With your help, our staff will be exposed to fewer microbes .
  • You don’t need to bring your own bedding! Many resorts are doing this, but Bearskin will continue to provide what you need. However, we’re switching to lighter bedspreads that can be washed faster, and fewer blankets on the beds. If you love a heavy mass of blankets, then you may want to bring extras for this year.
  • Is the hot tub haus open? At this time the hot tub and the sauna remain closed. This is a decision that could change.
  • Cabin dishes and pots and pans: Before you come we will wash all your cabin dishes and utensils (as we always have), and then we’re adding an extra disinfecting rinse. We have removed a few seldom-used items from the cabins. If you need a dish or a kitchen tool that is missing, we will have every conceivable item at the lodge guest services window, sanitized and ready for you to take to the cabin.
  • Lodge unit info: if you will be staying in the attached lodge townhouse units, you can avoid other people by using the lakeside doors as your main access to your lodge. We suggest that you use the hall doors to bring items in and out, but use the lakeside doors at most other times. Those of you with kids generally do this anyway, so it won’t be much of a change. Guests have asked if lodge units share any ventilation: they do not. They are completely independent of each other, in spite of the shared walls.
  • Need to buy gifts? There will be a gift shop list included in your welcome envelope and an online store is available here to help you shop.

What to do this winter:

  • Bearskin and the Central Gunflint Trail System offer some of the best cross-country skiing in the Upper Midwest, ranked #3 in USA Today’s Best Cross Country Ski Resorts. We have 76 K of beautifully groomed ski trails through the deep woods of the Superior National Forest. Your ski passes are complimentary with your cabin rental for all registered guests.
  • Snowshoe!  Our snowshoe trail system grows every year. You will love it.
  • Be a virtual ski racer. Ski races aren’t a happening thing this year, but Bearskin has a created a virtual race. More info coming soon.
  • Ski-in cabins.  We hope the first of 3 ski-in, remote wilderness cabins will be ready and open this winter. Located near the Oxcart Trail, the ski-in cabin will be perfect for the skier who wants a winter camping experience, without hauling in a tent and stove.

What do we ask of you?

  • Please observe social distancing guidelines when you visit Bearskin, both with other guests and with our family and employees. Bearskin will not be able to stay open and guests will have to leave if our staff or family members get sick. Help all of us stay healthy!
  • Observe social distancing protocol when you travel around our Cook County community. Cook County does not have hospital services to treat Covid-19 patients; the nearest Covid-19 care is about 3 hours away. All of us in Cook County are being very careful, and we’d be grateful if visitors also did their part. Most Cook County group events have been cancelled for this winter, as you’d expect. Please look at the Cook County Visitor Pledge, which can be found at bearskin.com/VisitorPledge.pdf
  • Be honest about the health of everyone in your group. Please, please do not visit us if anyone in your group shows even minor signs of sickness or a temperature, either before you leave home or after you have started on your trip. There are no hospital services here that can help you, so if somebody gets sick with Covid-19 you are safest if you stay in an area where you can get care if you need it.  We’ll work with you to deal with your reservation if this happens — don’t worry about that part. Just don’t drive up here sick, please.
  • Come prepared to monitor your own family’s health during your visit. We encourage you to pack a thermometer with your belongings, and to bring along necessary medications in case a family becomes ill during your travels.
  • Let us know if a family member is sick, and we will help you make a plan.  If a family member has a cold or allergies, please be kind and bag up all your tissues and waste as if they are bio-hazards.  (We can’t believe we have to tell this to people, in a pandemic year — but you would be shocked at what some people left for our staff to touch this summer.)
  • Take personal responsibility for your own hand-washing and disinfecting. We will do our part to diligently sanitize and disinfect surfaces at Bearskin daily, but we have no way to disinfect every surface in the resort area after every use all day. Just as you do in your daily life at home, you still need to maintain a healthy routine of hand-washing, social distancing, and ensuring that the objects you and your family touch are wiped off and safe.
  • Prepare for an independent visit, a trip where you take care of as many of your own needs as possible. Expect many shops and restaurants to be closed or have altered service. Practice safe traveling on your way up north. Perhaps the most worrisome part of your vacation is the travel. Do it with care and mindfulness.
  • We hope you can be flexible about the changes that are necessary during this unusual era. There will probably be more changes to come as we try to figure out what works in these unprecedented circumstances.

These plans will probably evolve over the winter. Just like you are probably doing in your daily life, we talk about this constantly, always trying to come up with the safest plans for our guests. As we all know now, there is no blueprint for how to deal with our new world. But you can be assured that here at Bearskin, we are taking your health very, very seriously. 

You can help us by doing your part. We ask that you please do not visit Bearskin this year if you do not believe in social distancing and in taking the proper precautions to keep us and all our guests safe. We’re in this together and even if you do not think you are vulnerable, our family, staff, and other guests might be. Thanks for caring!

We will all have a story to tell after this is over.  Your Bearskin memories from this year will be different from past years, but we hope you can make unique memories this year that will be a pleasant part of your own narrative of the summer of 2020 and winter of 2021.