Black Woods Blizzard Tour begins trek across Northland

The 24th annual Black Woods Blizzard Tour began Thursday morning in Carlton County.
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 12:46 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - The 24th annual Black Woods Blizzard Tour began Thursday morning in Carlton County.

A crew of about 265 snowmobilers left Black Bear Casino Resort for Lake Vermillion, as part of a 400-mile journey to raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, research in the region.

The tour has a waitlist of riders, according to tour organizers, raising close to $20 million since its inception in 1999.

Riders from all over the region join in to raise awareness for the neurological disease.

“You know you’re out there putting a couple hundred miles on every day going through the scenery, it’s amazing,” Darin Lind, a snowmobiler hitting the trails for his 12th year, said.

Before the tour begins, riders have a team breakfast to fuel up before heading out.

“The people that we’re here with are just amazing,” Lind said.

The group of snowmobilers rides from Carlton to Tower on Thursday. After that, they make their grand journey down to Grand Rapids on Friday, finishing back at the casino resort.

The tour originally began 24 years ago, when four riders had an idea to raise awareness for the disease.

“We decided we were gonna ride around Lake Superior, a 2,025-mile trip,” Greg Sorenson, one of the original riders, said. “At the time I did not know what ALS was.”

He soon realized that the disease would hit close to home.

“Five days before we went on the ride in January, my dad came to my house and told me he’d been diagnosed with ALS,” he said.

Now, Sorenson and the 264 other snowmobilers ride for his dad and everyone else affected by the disease.

“Never imagined in ‘99 or even 2000 that we’d be raising a million dollars a year, very heartwarming,” Sorenson said.

Never Surrender, the organizer of the event, has a goal to raise $1.75 million by the end of the tour, currently, they’re about $250,000 short.

To donate to the Black Woods Blizzard Tour, you can visit their website here.