FAQ — Beargrease Sled Dog Race

Want to watch the race? Not sure what to do? We have you covered.

(Feel free to do what some of us do. Skip this intro and get to the ‘meat’ of the article. Then come back and read the intro.)

As a transplant Duluthian, the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has always seemed like the true Duluthian winter thing to do. But as an ‘outsider’ I thought I was missing out on the inside scoop. So after living in Duluth off and on for 9 years, it was time I went straight to the source. This year I am helping out the Beargrease board as a part of their marketing committee.

I should note that my intentions of helping really are not honorary or professional extra curricular. I am a recovering husky addict. (Sorry, sarcasm runs deep in my veins.)

Growing up I never had a dog. So I turned to an obsession of stuffed animal dogs. What a sad, sorry statement that is right? The reason for the inanimate object obsession is that my mom and brother are allergic to dogs. I had my dad on the edge of a puppy purchase multiple times but never succeeded to making him take the leap with me. Looking back, he was a smart man not to have taken that jump. But the breed of choice for this dog-obsessed little girl was the Siberian Husky. I was in awe of their beauty, strength and historical significance as a working dog. Now as an adult, I feed that childhood addiction through volunteering with the Beargrease. (Don’t worry, I haven’t stolen a dog yet.)

Now here is the reason why you really clicked on this article. Behold… your frequently asked questions answered.

Date and Time?

Sunday, January 29th! 9:00 am — 11:00 am is Meet the Mushers. Race start is at 11:00 am.

Want to know the best part? It is FREE to attend and open to the public.

Where is the start?

Two Harbors. The HWY 2 Gravel Pit, 8.5 miles from HWY 61 on Lake County 2 to be exact. You will know you’re there when you see all the cars.

If you are looking for a little bit more detail, here are more elaborate directions:

  • From Duluth go north on I-35 to London Road
  • Follow London Road (wave to Glensheen) until it turns into Hwy 61, take the expressway all the way to Two Harbors, about 20 miles.
  • Go through Two Harbors (less than a mile) to Hwy 2 (Holiday Station), turn left (west) on Hwy 2.
  • Follow Hwy 2 for about 8.5 miles to the Snowmobile State Trail turnoff.
  • Turn right and the start area is down about 2 blocks on the left.
  • Only dog trucks can enter/park in the start area. There is parking for the public along Hwy 2.

What is there to do if I go?

Meet the Mushers is a big draw for folks. This is your chance to talk to the mushers, learn all about this crazy thing called mushing and pet the stars of the show… the dogs.

***One important note to make is always, always, ask the musher if you can pet a dog. These pups are getting amped up to run in what is the Super Bowl of their racing careers. Sometimes their amped up attitudes don’t lend well to a steady stream of strangers touching them. Thinking about it, I probably wouldn’t do well with that either.

Disclaimer aside… walk around, check out the dogs, talk to the mushers, snap some pictures and have a blast!

There is also a swag table to pick up all your Beargrease merchandise. I have a shell jacket and a pom-ball hat that you will see me sporting on race day.

There is also food and beverages available for purchase. Cedar Coffee will have coffee, cocoa, muffins and other yummy baked goods. What event would be complete without brats, hot dogs and carbonated beverages? You will find those too.

If you are into photography and or love a good social media opportunity, then you are in luck. Beargrease has partnered with MN Community to host Beargrease’s first-ever Instameet. The Instameet starts at 9:30 am and folks will be gathering near the Beargrease merchandise tent.

After you have met the huskies and mushers, stuffed your face and snapped some photos, it is time to find your spot at the starting line and watch the excitement!

Is it family friendly?

Yes. Bring the family! It is a great Sunday morning family outing.

What is the parking situation like?

To be honest, parking is limited. Most cars will park and line up on Lake County 2. BUT! If you are a part of the informed crowd, there is a shuttle.

Spectators are encouraged to hop on a shuttle bus at the Lake County Fairgrounds (See the Google Map location here, https://goo.gl/il2K9Q.) and ride to the race start. Buses will run from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm.

Can I watch the rest of the race?

Yes, you can! iFan will be live streaming the race for you to watch your favorite team and cheer them on from your couch.

There are also some handy-dandy links for following the race on the Beargrease website. http://www.beargrease.com/follow-the-race.htm

Wondering what times the teams are estimated to arrive at each check point? We have you covered here.

There is a mandatory 8 hour layover at Grand Portage Lodge — so there will be bonfires, and what are sure to be some tales from the trails! (Get it???)

Check out this map of the race route too!

Are you spending the weekend up the shore? Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay will have live music on Saturday from noon to 3:00 pm during Vet Checks. Vet Checks are happening Saturday, January 28th from 8:00 am — 1:00 pm in Beaver Bay.

I haven’t heard much about the finish line, where is the finish? Billy’s Bar, just northeast of Duluth. Next Wednesday, February 1st is the anticipated finish day.

What else is there to do in Two Harbors on race day?

The lovely town of Two Harbors will be buzzin’ on race day.

Vanilla Bean is Race Headquarters. What this means is you will see a giant screen of the live race stream and folks who are intently relaying information via ham radio. (Ham radio!!) It is a great spot to grab some insanely tasty food and still be a part of the Beargrease buzz.

A personal favorite stop of mine in Two Harbors is the Castle Danger Brewery. I believe they have some of the best beer in the land. Plus, you can combine their heavenly beer with delivery from Vanilla Bean or two other pizza places. Yes, these restaurants will deliver food to you at the brewery. It’s genius. The other neat thing about Castle Danger is that I’ve seen all walks of life in this place. Families with young children, hippies, businessmen, you name it. Everyone can rally around good beer.

Aside from my personal recommendations there is a flurry of activities going on in the northland. Duluth and the North Shore are not just for July and August!

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Jane Pederson is the marketing manager at Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN. Born in Duluth, raised in the Twin Cities and a UMD graduate. A lover of pups. And as a passionate Duluthian she says… ‘old mansions and giant lakes are my jam.’

Read more from Jane and Glensheen.

Old mansions and giant lakes are my jam.