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ELY, MINNESOTA

Minnesota Winter Sampler: Dog Sleds, Skis, Snowshoes, Saunas, Wildlife

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Winter Sports

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Road Scholar
Program #7933RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.

Itinerary for Feb 9 — Feb 14, 2014

Expand all
Type: Other

Description: Experience an area listed as one of the world's top 50 travel destinations. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, 15 miles north of Ely, is a winter wonderland for those traveling by dogsled, ski, and snowshoe. Explore scenic trails, eat delicious food, and relax in an authentic Finnish log sauna. Group size is small for active sessions. Shuttle from Duluth is available. Stay in beautiful cabins near the shore of Burntside Lake. Camp du Nord, operated by the YMCA of St. Paul, provides a private setting with miles of snowshoe trails, skier-groomed ski trails, brilliant skies, and quiet winter forests. The camp also features an authentic and historic Finnish sauna that will be fired up once during the week. Camp du Nord is a wonderful blend of cozy cabins and wilderness, providing a good setting for learning amidst snow-covered lakes, rocky shores, and evergreen forests. During the week experience a sunrise or sunset over the lake, explore the woods by following a set of animal tracks in the snow, or enjoy a starlit night from the frozen lake.

Contact info:
3606 North Arm Road
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-3681
web: www.dunord.org

Facility amenities: You will be sharing a lakeside cabin with other participants. Cabins are varied, but each has two to six double-occupancy bedrooms, a cozy living room, a kitchen (with stove, refrigerator and dishes), and at least one bathroom. Several cabins also have a woodstove to provide ambiance. In the spirit of the hosteling approach upon which Road Scholar programs were originally based, your accommodations are plain and simple. During your stay, there is no maid service, and you need to bring your own towels, soap, and other toiletries. The rooms do not have telephones or televisions, however there are several phones available for you to use with your calling card (if you have one) or to make collect calls. Note that cell phone coverage in northern Minnesota is very spotty, and depending upon your carrier, may be non-existent. There are no laundry facilities on site (there are two Laundromats in Ely). Group meals are provided in the dining hall, which is a beautiful walk from the lodging. Delicious meals are single entree and are usually served family style to our group, camp staff, and occasionally participants of other programs.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared baths; 1 or 2 full or half-baths in each cabin are shared, with no more than 5 people per bath. Single occupancy sleeping rooms are available at an additional cost. Additional bath facilities are located nearby in a modern bathhouse.

Additional nights before: Please call for current rate.
Check availability and make reservations directly with YMCA Camp du Nord (218-365-3681).

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day One: Sunday, February 09 - Arrival/Check-In/Welcome and Orientation
Afternoon: Plan to arrive to YMCA Camp du Nord, our program site on Burntside Lake, between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM. Check in at the Dining Hall where you will receive your cabin assignment. Your cabin will be available for you to move into after 4:00 PM, which allows staff adequate time to prepare your cabin after the weekend guests depart. If you arrive before your cabin is ready, you are welcome to explore the camp or mingle at the dining hall. After moving in, grab some warm clothes and your flashlight, and join the group in time for a 5:30 PM supper at the beautiful log dining hall.

Dinner: Enjoy a delicious dinner, served family style to our small group of participants.

Evening: Following dinner, an orientation session will give you an overview of the week’s activities and an opportunity to formally meet several of the instructors and the other participants.

Lodging: YMCA Camp du Nord

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Other

Description: Experience an area listed as one of the world's top 50 travel destinations. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, 15 miles north of Ely, is a winter wonderland for those traveling by dogsled, ski, and snowshoe. Explore scenic trails, eat delicious food, and relax in an authentic Finnish log sauna. Group size is small for active sessions. Shuttle from Duluth is available. Stay in beautiful cabins near the shore of Burntside Lake. Camp du Nord, operated by the YMCA of St. Paul, provides a private setting with miles of snowshoe trails, skier-groomed ski trails, brilliant skies, and quiet winter forests. The camp also features an authentic and historic Finnish sauna that will be fired up once during the week. Camp du Nord is a wonderful blend of cozy cabins and wilderness, providing a good setting for learning amidst snow-covered lakes, rocky shores, and evergreen forests. During the week experience a sunrise or sunset over the lake, explore the woods by following a set of animal tracks in the snow, or enjoy a starlit night from the frozen lake.

Contact info:
3606 North Arm Road
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-3681
web: www.dunord.org

Facility amenities: You will be sharing a lakeside cabin with other participants. Cabins are varied, but each has two to six double-occupancy bedrooms, a cozy living room, a kitchen (with stove, refrigerator and dishes), and at least one bathroom. Several cabins also have a woodstove to provide ambiance. In the spirit of the hosteling approach upon which Road Scholar programs were originally based, your accommodations are plain and simple. During your stay, there is no maid service, and you need to bring your own towels, soap, and other toiletries. The rooms do not have telephones or televisions, however there are several phones available for you to use with your calling card (if you have one) or to make collect calls. Note that cell phone coverage in northern Minnesota is very spotty, and depending upon your carrier, may be non-existent. There are no laundry facilities on site (there are two Laundromats in Ely). Group meals are provided in the dining hall, which is a beautiful walk from the lodging. Delicious meals are single entree and are usually served family style to our group, camp staff, and occasionally participants of other programs.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared baths; 1 or 2 full or half-baths in each cabin are shared, with no more than 5 people per bath. Single occupancy sleeping rooms are available at an additional cost. Additional bath facilities are located nearby in a modern bathhouse.

Additional nights before: Please call for current rate.
Check availability and make reservations directly with YMCA Camp du Nord (218-365-3681).

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Two: Monday, February 10 - Skiing/Snowshoeing/North Woods Plants and Animals
Breakfast: A hearty breakfast served in the log dining hall is a great way to start your day of activity.

Morning: An indoor introduction to cross-country skiing covers history of the sport as well as aspects of technique and safety. Outdoor lessons on the flat, frozen surface of the lake follow. (Hills can be tackled later in the week!) Typically, there is one instructor for every six to ten participants. Beginning skiers---including those who have never skied previously---as well as intermediate and advanced skiers are all welcome, and lessons are tailored to the abilities of the group’s members. Plan to ski at least a half-mile this first day, but distances will vary, depending upon your ability. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing will be taught by Jacki Fisher, who has taught winter activities to Road Scholar participants for over nine years.

Lunch: Compare notes from the morning’s ski lesson over a hot lunch in the log dining hall.

Afternoon: After lunch, learn about snowshoeing, another traditional method of winter travel. See examples of several types of snowshoes used in different locations and by different people. Gain tips for negotiating snow in this equipment, and then head outdoors with your instructor for some off-the-trail exploration. Snowshoes are great for getting a closer look at things in the winter. Investigate trees, tracks, scat, sculpted snow, and more. This snowshoe hike will be a mile or two in length, depending upon the ability of the group's members, as well as snow and weather conditions.

Dinner: Head to the dining hall for a well deserved, and scrumptious meal.

Evening: With a Vermilion Community College instructor or naturalist, learn about the plants and animals that call northern Minnesota home. Some of what’s found here (and what’s not) might surprise you. Although not common to see the animals of the north woods, evidence of their existence is bountiful. Learn to identify this and use it on the rest of your outdoor sessions.

Lodging: YMCA Camp du Nord

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: Experience an area listed as one of the world's top 50 travel destinations. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, 15 miles north of Ely, is a winter wonderland for those traveling by dogsled, ski, and snowshoe. Explore scenic trails, eat delicious food, and relax in an authentic Finnish log sauna. Group size is small for active sessions. Shuttle from Duluth is available. Stay in beautiful cabins near the shore of Burntside Lake. Camp du Nord, operated by the YMCA of St. Paul, provides a private setting with miles of snowshoe trails, skier-groomed ski trails, brilliant skies, and quiet winter forests. The camp also features an authentic and historic Finnish sauna that will be fired up once during the week. Camp du Nord is a wonderful blend of cozy cabins and wilderness, providing a good setting for learning amidst snow-covered lakes, rocky shores, and evergreen forests. During the week experience a sunrise or sunset over the lake, explore the woods by following a set of animal tracks in the snow, or enjoy a starlit night from the frozen lake.

Contact info:
3606 North Arm Road
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-3681
web: www.dunord.org

Facility amenities: You will be sharing a lakeside cabin with other participants. Cabins are varied, but each has two to six double-occupancy bedrooms, a cozy living room, a kitchen (with stove, refrigerator and dishes), and at least one bathroom. Several cabins also have a woodstove to provide ambiance. In the spirit of the hosteling approach upon which Road Scholar programs were originally based, your accommodations are plain and simple. During your stay, there is no maid service, and you need to bring your own towels, soap, and other toiletries. The rooms do not have telephones or televisions, however there are several phones available for you to use with your calling card (if you have one) or to make collect calls. Note that cell phone coverage in northern Minnesota is very spotty, and depending upon your carrier, may be non-existent. There are no laundry facilities on site (there are two Laundromats in Ely). Group meals are provided in the dining hall, which is a beautiful walk from the lodging. Delicious meals are single entree and are usually served family style to our group, camp staff, and occasionally participants of other programs.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared baths; 1 or 2 full or half-baths in each cabin are shared, with no more than 5 people per bath. Single occupancy sleeping rooms are available at an additional cost. Additional bath facilities are located nearby in a modern bathhouse.

Additional nights before: Please call for current rate.
Check availability and make reservations directly with YMCA Camp du Nord (218-365-3681).

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, February 11 - Dogsledding/Dogsledding Presentation
Breakfast: Another hearty breakfast in the dining hall starts the day off on the right foot.

Morning: After breakfast, prepare a bag lunch from the nutritious lunch items provided. Pack a small bag with your lunch, a water bottle, an extra layer, and anything else you want to bring on your day of dogsledding. The dogsled portions of the program are taught by Peter McClelland and other staff of White Wilderness Sled Dog Adventures. Peter and his guides lead day and multi-day dogsledding excursions all winter. White Wilderness has taught dogsledding to Road Scholar participants in programs each winter since 1996. The kennel is located just over an hour away, by windy scenic road. At the kennel, meet your instructor guides, who will teach you the basics of steering and navigating your sled. Load up your sled, try the brakes, and get a feel for standing on the runners.Regroup to learn how to harness the dogs. A completely hands-on experience, expect to harness half of the four to six Alaskan huskies on your team (your partner will get the others). Either you or a partner will drive the team, while the other rides (an opportunity to take in scenery or to take photos). Together with the other teams, explore 10 to 15 miles of trails in the Superior National Forest.

Lunch: Depending upon the day and the weather, stop at a sunny spot protected from the wind to eat. Enjoy what you packed plus hot chocolate, a perfect complement to a winter lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, trade places with your partner for the trip back home. Now it’s your turn to stand on the runners and navigate the sled on the snow covered trails, or if not, then it’s your turn to enjoy the scenery and snap a few winter shots from the sled basket as a passenger.

Dinner: Return to camp about an hour before heading to the log dining hall for dinner. Share dogsledding stories over another scrumptious meal.

Evening: Conclude the dogsledding portion of the program, with a presentation on the history of dogsledding, as well as current aspects of the sport of sled dog racing. Gain a glimpse of what it might be like to participate in a race lasting several days. This is also your chance to ask any additional questions you might have about the dogs or this unique sport.

Lodging: YMCA Camp du Nord

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: Experience an area listed as one of the world's top 50 travel destinations. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, 15 miles north of Ely, is a winter wonderland for those traveling by dogsled, ski, and snowshoe. Explore scenic trails, eat delicious food, and relax in an authentic Finnish log sauna. Group size is small for active sessions. Shuttle from Duluth is available. Stay in beautiful cabins near the shore of Burntside Lake. Camp du Nord, operated by the YMCA of St. Paul, provides a private setting with miles of snowshoe trails, skier-groomed ski trails, brilliant skies, and quiet winter forests. The camp also features an authentic and historic Finnish sauna that will be fired up once during the week. Camp du Nord is a wonderful blend of cozy cabins and wilderness, providing a good setting for learning amidst snow-covered lakes, rocky shores, and evergreen forests. During the week experience a sunrise or sunset over the lake, explore the woods by following a set of animal tracks in the snow, or enjoy a starlit night from the frozen lake.

Contact info:
3606 North Arm Road
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-3681
web: www.dunord.org

Facility amenities: You will be sharing a lakeside cabin with other participants. Cabins are varied, but each has two to six double-occupancy bedrooms, a cozy living room, a kitchen (with stove, refrigerator and dishes), and at least one bathroom. Several cabins also have a woodstove to provide ambiance. In the spirit of the hosteling approach upon which Road Scholar programs were originally based, your accommodations are plain and simple. During your stay, there is no maid service, and you need to bring your own towels, soap, and other toiletries. The rooms do not have telephones or televisions, however there are several phones available for you to use with your calling card (if you have one) or to make collect calls. Note that cell phone coverage in northern Minnesota is very spotty, and depending upon your carrier, may be non-existent. There are no laundry facilities on site (there are two Laundromats in Ely). Group meals are provided in the dining hall, which is a beautiful walk from the lodging. Delicious meals are single entree and are usually served family style to our group, camp staff, and occasionally participants of other programs.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared baths; 1 or 2 full or half-baths in each cabin are shared, with no more than 5 people per bath. Single occupancy sleeping rooms are available at an additional cost. Additional bath facilities are located nearby in a modern bathhouse.

Additional nights before: Please call for current rate.
Check availability and make reservations directly with YMCA Camp du Nord (218-365-3681).

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, February 12 - Snowshoeing/Free Time/ Wolf Communication
Breakfast: Another hearty breakfast in the dining hall provides fuel for the day.

Morning: By snowshoe, explore a new location. With one day of experience behind you, gain additional confidence with this mode of travel. Watch for animal signs and practice identifying the local plants. Depending upon the group, as well as snow and weather conditions, hike one to two miles.

Lunch: Head back to the dining hall for a lunch and camaraderie.

Afternoon: A free afternoon gives you time to relax in your cabin reading, writing, or pursuing other activities, or a chance to work on your skiing or snowshoeing skills on your own. Sometimes participants head to Ely to explore the shops and galleries of this small town.

Dinner: In the beautiful log dining hall, enjoy yet another scrumptious dinner.

Evening: After dinner, settle in for an indoor presentation from a naturalist from the International Wolf Center to learn the interesting facets of wolf communication. Be sure to bring your warm clothes, because the indoor portion is followed by a walk to the lake for a howl to a local pack of wild wolves. Even if no response is heard, it is amazing to experience the silence of night in winter from a frozen lake far from the roads and noises of urban places.

Lodging: YMCA Camp du Nord

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Other

Description: Experience an area listed as one of the world's top 50 travel destinations. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, 15 miles north of Ely, is a winter wonderland for those traveling by dogsled, ski, and snowshoe. Explore scenic trails, eat delicious food, and relax in an authentic Finnish log sauna. Group size is small for active sessions. Shuttle from Duluth is available. Stay in beautiful cabins near the shore of Burntside Lake. Camp du Nord, operated by the YMCA of St. Paul, provides a private setting with miles of snowshoe trails, skier-groomed ski trails, brilliant skies, and quiet winter forests. The camp also features an authentic and historic Finnish sauna that will be fired up once during the week. Camp du Nord is a wonderful blend of cozy cabins and wilderness, providing a good setting for learning amidst snow-covered lakes, rocky shores, and evergreen forests. During the week experience a sunrise or sunset over the lake, explore the woods by following a set of animal tracks in the snow, or enjoy a starlit night from the frozen lake.

Contact info:
3606 North Arm Road
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-3681
web: www.dunord.org

Facility amenities: You will be sharing a lakeside cabin with other participants. Cabins are varied, but each has two to six double-occupancy bedrooms, a cozy living room, a kitchen (with stove, refrigerator and dishes), and at least one bathroom. Several cabins also have a woodstove to provide ambiance. In the spirit of the hosteling approach upon which Road Scholar programs were originally based, your accommodations are plain and simple. During your stay, there is no maid service, and you need to bring your own towels, soap, and other toiletries. The rooms do not have telephones or televisions, however there are several phones available for you to use with your calling card (if you have one) or to make collect calls. Note that cell phone coverage in northern Minnesota is very spotty, and depending upon your carrier, may be non-existent. There are no laundry facilities on site (there are two Laundromats in Ely). Group meals are provided in the dining hall, which is a beautiful walk from the lodging. Delicious meals are single entree and are usually served family style to our group, camp staff, and occasionally participants of other programs.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Bathroom: Shared baths; 1 or 2 full or half-baths in each cabin are shared, with no more than 5 people per bath. Single occupancy sleeping rooms are available at an additional cost. Additional bath facilities are located nearby in a modern bathhouse.

Additional nights before: Please call for current rate.
Check availability and make reservations directly with YMCA Camp du Nord (218-365-3681).

Check in time: 3:30 PM


Day Five: Thursday, February 13 - Skiing/Closing Ceremonies and Sauna
Breakfast: Nourish your body for a day of activity by eating a hearty breakfast at the dining hall.

Morning: After breakfast, prepare a bag lunch from the nutritious lunch items provided. Pack a small bag with your lunch, a water bottle, an extra layer, and anything else you want to bring on a ski field trip. Gain some more helpful advice in cross-country skiing from your experienced instructors. Depending upon the group, one location for this field trip may be to the Hegman Lake pictographs, in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Regardless of location, look forward to peaceful time on the trail in a spectacular forest of this border lakes country. Plan on skiing three to five miles on user groomed trails.

Lunch: Enjoy your lunch with the group, outdoors along the trail.

Afternoon: A mid-afternoon return from the skiing outing gives you some free time to relax.

Dinner: Enjoy one more scrumptious dinner in the beautiful log dining hall.

Evening: After the Closing Ceremonies (unbelievably, the program is nearly over!), enjoy a free evening or relax in a wood fired Finnish sauna. A hole is prepared in the ice of the frozen lake for those wishing for the authentic dip in the lake experience---optional, of course!

Lodging: YMCA Camp du Nord

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Six: Friday, February 14 - Skiing or Snowshoeing/International Wolf Center/D...
Breakfast: Enjoy one more hearty breakfast in the beautiful log dining hall.

Morning: After packing a lunch, head out for a quick final ski or snowshoe. Then, depart by van for a field trip to the International Wolf Center. Learn additional wolf behavior and physical adaptations from naturalists at the Center and their resident pack of wolves. Take in the award-winning exhibit, exploring at your own pace.

Lunch: Prior to departure from the International Wolf Center, remember to eat your lunch.

Afternoon: Check out from YMCA Camp du Nord is by 12:00 PM.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Free Time Opportunities


Ely, MN
International Wolf CenterThe International Wolf Center is a nonprofit educational organization that advances the survival of wolf populations around the world by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future.
For additional information, visit: www.wolf.org
Ely Chamber of CommerceVisit the website of the Ely Chamber of Commerce for additional information about the small town of Ely.
For additional information, visit: www.ely.org

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
15 meals: 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
3 Field trips
6 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

5
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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