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Skiing in Bayfield: Celebrating 75 Years at Mt. Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area

It’s called the little hill on the big lake.

This year Mt. Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area is celebrating 75 years. Over the years, they’ve provided year-round outdoor activities to the Bayfield and Chequamegon Bay area.

People often ask what there is to do in Bayfield in the winter. The short answer is a lot. But one of the premier features is skiing at Mt. Ashwabay.

For those of you who love the white fluffy stuff, Mt. Ashwabay is a winter paradise for adrenaline junkies wanting to slice down its hills and the silent sports enthusiasts navigating their way through the woods.

From cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and fat biking, the Mt. Ashwabay ski area is located 3 miles south off Bayfield and is a five-minute drive from Seagull Bay Lakeside Motel. It’s an ideal place to spend a wintry weekend skiing in Bayfield.

Bayfield has already received 8 inches of snow. And with the temperatures starting to plummet, the snow guns at Mt. Ashwabay have started to run, getting ready for this winter’s ski season.

In fact, a few adventurous locals have already skied their way to the Sugarbush cabin – a favorite cross-country ski trail.

In this week’s blog, we’re highlighting Mt. Ashwabay’s Ski and Recreation Area as a premier winter destination when visiting Bayfield in the colder months.

Cross Country Skiing in Bayfield’s Pine and Hardwood Forests

Mt. Ashwabay boasts 40 km (24.9 miles) of groomed nordic ski trails. Offering both classic cross-country ski trails and skate trails. We couldn’t think of a better way to spend a weekend than skiing in Bayfield.

With trails rated from beginner to expert, you’re sure to find a path fit to your activity level.

Glide your way back to Nourse’s Sugar Bush cabin. This cabin is located in a large grove of maple trees where the Nourse family collected sap and boiled it down into delicious maple syrup.

Built in the 1920s, this historic log cabin was used to process maple syrup up until the early 2000s. It’s now protected as a historical landmark and is a favorite destination for cross-country skiers of all levels.

The Sugar Bush trail leading to the cabin has relatively flat terrain making it an ideal trail for beginners. And the beauty of the towering pine and maple trees even seduces expert skiers alike.

But don’t worry. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the hills of Mt. Ashwabay and Bayfield County offer cross-country skiers:

  • Rolling topography
  • Trails for interval training
  • Downhills for coasting

And cascading climbs to the summit of Mt. Ashwabay, where you’re greeted with expansive views of Lake Superior and the Apostle Islands.

If you’re looking to engage in a bit of friendly competition, the Mt. Ashwabay Summit Nordic Ski Race in February is a popular event for cross-country skiers in the Chequamegon Bay Area.

This signature event is a 25k pursuit to the top of Mt. Ashwabay. There’s also a 10K classic ski race and a 15K skate ski race. All ages are welcome, and home-baked pies are awarded to the winners of each age group. You don’t get more Midwestern than this when skiing in Bayfield.

Downhill Skiing in Bayfield With Stunning Lake Superior Views

Downhill skiing in Bayfield dates back to the 1940s. Maybe even a little earlier, depending on which local you ask. But no matter the date of its origin, Mt. Ashwabay has been a permanent fixture on the Bayfield hillside and in the hearts of those who ski here.

The little hill overlooking the big lake has stood the test of time. From tow ropes and T- bars to today’s paddle tow and chair lift, reaching the top of one of Bayfield’s highest hills has been a common goal for kids and adults alike.

But perhaps the best part is when you reach the top of the hill and cast your eyes on panoramic views of the Bayfield Shoreline, Lake Superior, and the Apostle Islands.

And, of course, what goes up must come down, and there couldn’t be a better way to slice down the hills of Mt. Ashwabay than on your skis or snowboard.

Mt. Ashwabay features 12 alpine runs spanning over 65 acres. It includes a terrain park for those looking to turn tricks and get big air and Sunday NASTAR races.

To help promote skiing in Bayfield, Mt. Ashwabay offers a variety of winter programs, including:

  • Holiday Mini Camps to help beginner skiers learn to ski or snowboard
  • The MADski youth program to provide instruction for children 6 to 14
  • The 4-H CANski club, organized by The Chequamegon Area Nordic Ski Club, to provide instruction and foster fun on cross-country skis
  • Friday night youth nights with music and lights
  • Other events to help shake off the chill of winter

With cool temperatures around the corner and snow already on the ground, this year’s anticipated opening is December 17th, 2022, weather permitting.

We can’t wait to start skiing in Bayfield.

Snowshoe and Fat Bike Trails at Mt. Ashwabay

For those who prefer to experience winter in the Northwoods at a slower pace or on wheels, Mt. Ashwabay offers snowshoeing and fat biking on designated trails.

Rent a pair of snowshoes and hike your way to the top of Mt. Ashwabay, surrounded by a winter wonderland of towering pine, oak, and maple trees.

Or rent a fat bike from Howl Adventure Center and ride to the top and back on 12k of groomed fat biking trails.

Whether on skis, snowshoes, or wheels, you can fight off the chill in the ski chalet by:

  • Warming yourself by the fire
  • Enjoying a burger hot off the grill
  • Sipping a cold beer
  • Reliving your outdoor winter adventure

Spend a Wintery Weekend Skiing in Bayfield While Staying at Seagull Bay

At the end of the day, stomp the snow from your boots as you enter the warmth of your room at the Seagull Bay Lakeside Motel.

Seagull Bay is located 3 miles north of the Mt. Ashwabay Ski and Recreation Area. It’s right on the edge of the city, making it an ideal place to stay while skiing in Bayfield.

Open year-round, Seagull Bay offers cozy accommodations for:

  • Couples looking to spend a long weekend cross-country skiing Bayfield’s Narnia-like forests
  • Families looking for an affordable place to downhill ski while staying in one of our larger units with multiple bedrooms and kitchens

And don’t worry if skiing in Bayfield doesn’t interest you. There’s plenty of winter hiking, shopping, and relaxing to do when visiting Bayfield during the winter season.

Start planning your winter ski vacation by booking your room with us at Seagull Bay.

We can’t wait to meet you!

The Carrier Family,

Molly, Isaac, Axel, Ridge, and Banks

Quick Links:

Mt. Ashwabay

Howl Adventure Center

December 8, 2022

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