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TALKIN WITH DOKKEN: Vacations spots with skiing too

Q. We're looking for a place to stay somewhere in the Park Rapids, Minn., area or nearby over the holidays for a family gathering that could include as many as 30 people. We'd prefer that it's close to cross-country ski trails and large enough to accommodate everybody under one roof. Any suggestions?

A. I ran your question by Jason Durham, a longtime fishing guide in the Park Rapids area who operates Go Fish! Guide Service. Durham's guide clients stay at a variety of resorts and lodges, and he knows the area so I figured he would be a good starting point.

The tough part, Durham said, is that the vast majority of resorts in the Park Rapids area, perhaps 99 percent, are closed for the winter season.

He suggested expanding the search to other communities along state Highway 34, including Walker, Minn., to the northeast and Detroit Lakes, Minn., to the southwest. Finding a place large enough to hold so many people could be a challenge, but Durham suggested contacting the chambers of commerce in each of the three communities to see what what might be available.

Durham said he wasn't sure what Walker and Detroit Lakes offer for cross-country ski trails but said the Soaring Eagle trail in Park Rapids is excellent.

Several Minnesota state parks also offer camper cabins, and both Itasca State Park and the new LaSalle State Recreation Area nearby have larger cabins with several bedrooms available. For more information, check out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' website at and click the State Parks link. The DNR website also has detailed information on cross-country ski trails across the state.

It seems like a ways off now, but snow season will be here before we know it.

If you have a question for Talkin' with Dokken, call (701) 780-1148 or send an email to

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken is a reporter and editor of the Herald's Sunday Northland Outdoors pages. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 

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