Eager ice climbers will gather for the 15th annual Sandstone Ice Festival on Jan. 3-5 at Robinson Park. Attendees can watch or enjoy ice climbing, attend winter camping clinics and check out the latest trends in outdoor gear. On Sat. at 7 p.m., Raphael Slawinski, an elite ice climber from Canada, will be the guest speaker. Climbing experience required. $40-$100, register at sandstoneicefest.com.
Cyclists from around the country and Canada will test their skills Jan. 11 during the fourth annual Norpine Fat Bike Classic race. Riders will race on the Norpine cross-country trails for top honors on the 26-mile course (starts at 10 a.m.) and the shorter 15-mile race (10:05 a.m.), $50. Visitors can watch the start and finish of the race from the Cascade Lodge. Get more information at norpinefatbikeclassic.com.
Grand Marais, Minn.
Also on the North Shore, join excited onlookers for the annual Gunflint Mail Run Sled Dog Race, Jan. 11-12, along the historic Gunflint Trail. The 100-mile race for 12-dog teams will start around 8 a.m. and the 65-mile race for eight-dog teams will begin at 9 a.m. The race will start and end at Trail Center Lodge. Visitors can also check out teams at the Old Blankenberg Pit (turnaround point for 12-dog teams), Big Bear Lodge and Rockwood Lodge (gunflintmailrun.com). Visitors looking for more winter fun can sign up in advance for guided dog sled treks, fat tire cycling and more during the festival and other times (tinyurl.com/smexuea).
Colleen A. Coles