With all this extra snow, will ski resort extend their operation hours?
All of the Northland’s big winter resorts can make their own snow, but Mother Nature brought an extra snowy winter and that makes a big difference for skiers and snowboarding.
“Any time we get natural snow, we have over 30 off-piste runs there in the trees, in the glades, just rely on natural snow. They’ve been in remarkable shape this year, and even our groomed runs while the grooming machines do a great job with the man-made base. Having that natural snow mix in on a regular basis just always improves snow conditions,” said Jim Vick General Manager and Marketing Director at Lutsen Mountain.
One local all-season recreation area business shared with WDIO that once their ski and snowing season ends, there is a list of events that they’ll be getting set up for.
“We’re just backed up against the Easter holiday season, then the large snowmobile race right after that. So, we’re getting ready for those items. Some years we’re just it’s difficult to even get towards that first week in April because the weather has been sunny and warm and nice or whatever it is,” General Manager of Giants Ridge Recreation Area Fred Seymour shared.
After record breaking snowfall ski resorts in the western part of the U.S. Like California, Utah, and Colorado are extending their seasons according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine.
Even with a recent snow melt, there is still more than four feet of snow stacked at area recreation resorts, but will that mean local ski resorts will extend their operation hours?
“Typically we open up the day after Thanksgiving, that’s the date we always shoot for the day after Thanksgiving, Seymour mentioned. Then we run through the season and usually closed the first weekend in April, and typically that’s when business starts to drop off. Then, of course, we have the golf season, which we need to roll over into and mountain biking and so forth. So we have a lot of things to accomplish.”
With Lusten, their plans for this year are different than the year before as Vick reflected back on their snow operations from the previous year. “Last year we did extend, but that was into the second weekend of May because we had so much snow all the way till the end this year. I’m not able to do that because the lift we use for our late-season skiing needs to be removed by May 2nd. We have a new lift installation happening this summer and part of that construction process is taking out the old lift. So we will have great conditions up until our closing day on April 16th.”
WDIO reached out to Mont du Lac and Spirit Mountain and haven’t heard if they would be extending their season.
(Updated story to correct spelling of Mont du Lac.)