The 2014 winter season has turned out to have some of the best conditions in recent years. The park experienced good ice conditions early, but a fairly heavy snowfall caused slush to form and delayed trail openings for a couple of weeks. When this slush finally froze or decreased to a point for safe travel and there was sufficient ice, the park began staking trails. With the colder temperatures it did not take long for all trails to be staked and opened.
Trail brushing was completed as soon as crews were able to reach the portages so the trails were ready as sections of the trail were staked. Portage grooming started immediately after trail staking with groomers that are towed with larger snowmobiles. These groomers were acquired by the park a couple of years ago and are used on all portages when the ice does not have the load bearing capacity for the larger groomer. Full grooming operations with the large groomer began in early February and will continue through mid to late March depending on ice conditions.
Ski trails are in good to excellent condition and have been groomed since early January. Echo Bay at Kabetogama has been opened since late December and the Black Bay ski trails on Rainy have been opened since the middle January.
Ice roads are open on Kabetogama Lake and runs from the Kabetogama Lake Visitor Center boat ramp to the Ash River visitor center boat ramp at a total distance of about nine and a half miles. The ice road on Rainy Lake is open from the boat ramp at the Rainy Lake visitor center to the entrance of Dove bay and around Dryweed Island at a total distance of about ten miles. All ice roads are maintained and open through mid to late March depending on ice and snow conditions.