Updates on Bearskin Lodge Covid-19 plans

 

Poster available from https://www.mcbrunopress.com/

 

Winter thoughts for our Bearskin Guests:

First of all, we hope you are all safe, healthy, and doing the right things to help us all get through these unprecedented times.

Cook County, at this writing, has the lowest Covid case total in Minnesota, and one of the lowest in the US.  That’s not because we’re isolated — we get thousands of tourists through the area.  It’s because our county is very careful. Cook County still expects social distancing and masks as much as possible. Our tiny Cook County Hospital has very limited facilities and our nearest major hospital is 2.5 hours away in Duluth. We live and work on a small enough scale up here that everyone understands that we rise and fall together.

Bearskin had some very strict Covid precautions over the summer — will the Covid protocols at Bearskin loosen up this winter? Short answer: no. Like all of you, we were sure hoping everything would be better by winter, but we monitor the statistics closely and at the moment we still need to be very cautious. Bearskin is run by a small staff and unlike the big resorts, if one staff or family member here gets Covid then the resort will have to close. Our strict protocols brought us through summer and fall safely, in spite of some close calls. We will continue what we are doing until we see there is a good reason not to go to this extra trouble.

A thank you to our guests!  Our guests have mostly been absolutely wonderful. Everyone seems to completely understand that if one of us gets sick, vacations are ruined for many families for the next 2 – 3 weeks. We are so grateful for your help with this. Our family and our staff are missing the long conversations and the regular fun interactions we usually have with all of you, but because of this, so far we are all still healthy and Bearskin is open.

 What’s different this winter?

  • The Main Lodge building is closed to visitors, but services are being offered at a new guest services area at the front door. This arrangement separates  our staff from guests by about 12 feet, making it a little safer for all of us. We will ask you to use our hand sanitizer before touching the desk and masks are required for service.
  • No food service.  We won’t be serving lunches, dinners, or snacks. Our indoor dining space is too tiny to offer safe dining.
  • Internet is being installed in all cabins (which our guests never wanted us to do).  Without access to the main lodge, we knew our guests would need a way to contact the outside world.  We are guessing this internet service will be excellent for web browsing and email, but might not be great for streaming. Since internet service was only available in the Main Lodge before this, there wasn’t a lot of streaming happening here anyway so it’s never been part of the guest expectations.
  • Every cabin and lodge will have a medical grade air filter so that you can feel safer about breathing the air from the previous guests.
  • There will always be a complete change-out of all bedding, but we will ask you to give us a little help with this. Guests did not seem to mind the procedure over the summer, which involves stuffing your bedding in special bags before you leave. It keeps our wonderful staff much safer. The alternative is to ask you to bring all your own bedding, like many other resorts are doing — and we decided nobody wants to travel with a car stuffed full of blankets and pillows, especially when also carrying skis, snowshoes, and winter gear.
  • The sauna and hot tub will probably continue to be closed. We’re asking medical professionals for more advice on this, but for summer we kept the sauna and hot tub closed to limit our staff exposure and to keep our guests safer. There isn’t a really good way to keep the locker rooms and hot tub room disinfected between guests without exposing our staff and family more. Still deciding.

What will be the same? 

Expect our same top-notch snow conditions and grooming that made us the #3 ranked cross-country ski resort in America on USA Today in 2019/2020 — only we will be even better this year.  Our partner on the ski trail system, Golden Eagle, just purchased a brand new Pisten Bully very similar to the one we’ve been using since 2016. This means there will be two of the best grooming machines in Minnesota working on our trails this winter. Grooming here has always been outstanding, but this year there will be less of a transition between the two sections. You’re going to love skiing through our deep woods!

Our current protocols will be temporarily different for winter 2021. Get more complete details here: Everything you ever wanted to know (and then some!) about our Covid-19 plan.

It is very important that you read through our Covid-19 information before you make a reservation.  We are counting on our guests to help us stay safe and stay open.  If you do not believe that the Covid virus is a concern, and will not abide by social distancing or disinfecting protocols, we think you will be happier going elsewhere this winter. We take it seriously here.  At this point, we know numerous people who had severe cases. We have no patience anymore for the folks who think if it didn’t happen to them yet, it must not be real. There are many resorts that are doing almost nothing for Covid; a non-believer should have no trouble choosing one of those instead of Bearskin.

In addition, we encourage you to read through the Cook County Visitor Pledge. Every business in Cook County is hoping you’ll help them to stay healthy and open, just like we are.  Be a better visitor in Grand Marais than some of the other tourists have been. The shops and stores in Grand Marais had a rough summer with the anti-mask crew, so those folks need a little Bearskin Guest love.

Gift shopping at Bearskin is so awkward this year!  With the lodge closed, you can’t enter the gift shop, so we tried to put almost all our gifts where you can see them from the guest services entry. Quinn came up with an alternative to help you think about what we have.  He’s made an online store, featuring many of our items.  Use this to browse ahead of time or when you are here.  You can place an order online and have it ready (no postage needed if you are here), or just use it to plan your purchases.  We will update the store page to winter items in November, so there will be changes.  https://bearskinlodge.square.site/

Winter season for 2020-2021 is already extraordinarily booked — plan early.

We will all have a story to tell after this era. Your Bearskin memories 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 Covid times.

May you be well,

The McCloughan Family/Bearskin Lodge