Almost time for alpine: Spirit Mountain preps for winter season

Spirit Mountain prepares for the season

Spirit Mountain has been waiting for consistently cooler temperatures to arrive before snow-making begins.

This time last year, Duluth had five inches of snow on the ground. So far this fall, there has only been 0.8” of accumulation.

Jon Regenold, the director of resort services at Spirit Mountain, says that despite a cold streak early this fall, the resort decided to wait for consistently cold temperatures to start making snow. 

“We look for temps that go dip well below freezing into the mid twenties, and then we also need a forecast that is sustainable, that is kind of that sustained cold,” said Regenold. To pump the water up and to get each snow gun, it’s a big system.So it’s not something that’s just as easy as flipping a switch on and flipping a switch off the amount of hoses and electrical and everything. It has to be logical for them to turn it on.”

Spirit Mountain has made the most of this warm week and is ready for the cooler weather. 

“ We’ve got a lot of projects preparing for the winter and getting ready for what we all know is coming. And so, that’s been great for our staff to be outside and just really knocking out some things that are needed before the winter,” explained Regenold. “Now we’re looking forward to the temps in the forecast for the next week and how what we know is coming is coming and the temps are going to get cold, and we’re looking forward to turning on the snow guns and making some snow.”

The current plan is to start making snow as soon as late Tuesday night. 

“We look to the weekend after Thanksgiving as our opening weekend, and depending on how everything goes, we are going to be monitoring what our terrain can be,” said Regenold. “It is when we turn the snow guns on, we can start to cover our hill. It’s early season offerings and so just getting people on snow. It’s not going to be opening 100% for quite a while.”

It will take around six weeks for all of the trails to be covered in snow once the snow guns are turned on. 

Jake Torch, a sales manager at Ski Hut and avid skier, is eager for the start of the ski season. 

“The earlier I can get out on the Hill, the better. I mean, I’ve just got several skis sitting in my garage just waiting to be skied on,” said Torch. “There’s nothing like getting into November and getting those warm temperatures. Never good to see. But now that the temperatures are starting to change a little bit, we’re really excited.”

Ski Hut is fully stocked and ready for this season. 

“People are coming in,” said Torch. “We’ve got a ton of kids coming in for our junior lease program and people are just getting set up and geared up with all the different skis that we got.”