Club Honors Donors as Fundraising for West Duluth Ski Trails Continues

December 21, 2016 09:25 PM

The Duluth Cross-Country Ski Club gathered Wednesday to honor several businesses that have donated funding for a new ski trail system in West Duluth, as fundraising for the project continues.

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The Grand Avenue Nordic Center will include 3.3 kilometers of trails near the new Grand Avenue Chalet at the base of Spirit Mountain. The trail system will also connect to an existing network of trails at the top of the hill.

"Before Duluth was a hockey town, it was a ski town," said DXC capital campaign chair Cory Salmela at Wednesday's announcement. However, people who live in neighborhoods along the St. Louis River currently have to drive to the top of Spirit Mountain to go cross-country skiing.

Salmela said the new ski center will include a flat area for learning and a progressive trail that will require enhanced skills as you get farther out. He said the center will be a tourist draw, will add six to eight weeks to the local nordic skiing season, and will be the center for several club activities.

"This facility, which the foresight of putting this facility down here, having this really world-class ski trail that can add to that, is going to be a big benefit," said Greg Benson of Loll Designs, which donated $20,000 for the project.

The ski club also thanked Continental Bike and Ski, Skihut, Lakewalk Surgery Center, Energy Plus, and Salomon for $10,000 donations.

The club has vowed to raise $500,000 for the project and says on its website that it is nearly halfway towards that goal. Donations can be made at

The City of Duluth is providing $1 million for the project. Andrew Slade, the assistant manager of Duluth Parks and Recreation, said the project is one of the biggest of the 28 St. Louis River Corridor projects and virtually encompasses all of the initiative's goals.

"The DXC is one of our top two or three community partner organizations, they're doing an amazing job on this fundraising campaign, reaching out to the community, and really framing this project as the public good and public benefit that it is," Slade said.

The Grand Avenue Nordic Center is expected to open in the fall of 2017.


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