Updated: 04/23/2014 6:33 PM
Created: 04/23/2014 4:51 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson
At first, the slopes at Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort look quiet, perhaps closed for the season. But then a groomer can be heard high up on the hill, preparing the slopes for a record-late season.
"We've never had the lifts spinning in May for skiing so it's exciting," said marketing director, Jim Vick.
Thanks to the more than 13 feet of snow from Mother Nature, the groomers have been storing all the extra snow they can. The ski resort has plans to stay open until May 4.
"It's actually been an easy winter with all the snow we had to do a lot less pushing and moving of snow than normal years," said Jeff Ylatupa, maintenance supervisor on the slopes.
Now that it is spring they have a lot of work to do.
"Even though we are only open during the weekends there is still some constant work during the week," said Vick.
The slopes closed down during the week on April 6. Now, they are open weekend to weekend.
Vick said every night the snow freezes and then every day the snow melts, so the groomers are constantly at work, turning the snow to get the slopes ready for Saturday.
Over the long winter, the groomers have been creating stock piles of extra snow. The piles aren't literal piles of snow, but rather part of the slope.
"You have no idea that you are skiing on 15 or 20 feet of snow," said Vick.
When they need more snow, they just put the groomer's blade down on the slope, digging a trench from the slope and moving the snow.
They may be celebrating a record-late season, but how is the season shaping up overall at Lutsen?
"On the days we were getting good snow the skiing was awesome this winter but as everyone knows there were plenty of cold days," said Vick.
He said, however, an exceptional March and April are making up for a very cold January and February.
Now going into May, the ski season is overflowing into another North Shore attraction: waterfall season.
"You get two-for-one and actually along the shore the hiking trails are starting to be clear of snow, too," Vick explained.
For the next two weekends, Lutsen will have Eagle Mountain open with one lift running. Skiers can still hit about 15 runs.
US Steel to Partially Idle Minntac, Potentially Affecting 700
Three weeks after announcing plans to temporarily idle Keewatin Taconite, U.S. Steel has announced plans to temporarily idle a portion of the Minntac plant in Mountain Iron. The company did not announce exactly how many employees will be affected, but union officials told Eyewitness News they expected about 700 workers to be impacted.
As Steelworkers Brace for Hundreds of Layoffs, Politicians Call for Change
The past month has been tough for miners on the Iron Range. They got more bad news on Tuesday that U.S. Steel announced plans to temporarily idle a portion of the Minntac Plant in Mountain Iron.
Duluth Loses Bid to Restore Casino Agreement
A federal court has dismissed the City of Duluth's attempt to reinstate an agreement that had provided the city with millions of dollars annually from the Fond-du-Luth Casino. In an opinion Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly upheld a notice of violation issued in 2011, saying the National Indian Gaming Commission was within its rights to issue the violation.
Duluth Superintendent Finalist for Twin Cities Job
After more than three years on the job, a Twin Cities school district announced Duluth Superintendent Bill Gronseth is one of six finalists for their top job.
Is It Enough? Parent, Teachers Talk Music in Duluth Schools
Duluth East High School Senior Dan Richards has had a lot of success as a cellist this year, including getting into Berklee College of Music and making it to the final round of a statewide contest. His father, however, has expressed concerns that students today don't have the same resources that his son did.