Spirit Mountain prepares for scaled-up summer

WDIO
Updated: April 16, 2021 09:36 PM
Created: April 16, 2021 09:15 PM

Even if a little snow is lingering on the runs, Spirit Mountain is turning its attention to summer. 

Interim Executive Director Ann Glumac said the Grand Avenue Chalet will become a "hiking hub." 

"People coming into Duluth who want to learn about hiking, whether it's on our property or nearby, can pick up maps, they can rent hiking poles or binoculars if you want to do some birding," she said. 

There will also be a small convenience store, and the restaurant will be open five days a week. 

"I don't think Spirit has done as good a job as it has needed to do to encourage that broader involvement," Glumac said, "and I think that that's part of our job is to figure out how can we get more people here because it's so spectacular."

The recreation area had a good winter and will turn a profit, although the final numbers aren't in yet. Glumac attributed that to mostly warm weather and the pandemic. 

"The pandemic I think did a couple things that benefited us," she said. "Most kids were not in classes for a large part of the winter, and so we saw a lot of young people throughout the week at Spirit Mountain, not just on the weekends."

She said people also didn't travel out-of-state as much. This winter, Spirit plans to open a free community skating rink by the Grand Avenue chalet. 

A task force report about future investment and operation recommendations is in Mayor Emily Larson's hands. But Glumac said she thinks Spirit Mountain is worth investing in. 

"Far more than half of the zip codes that we track for our sales came from out of town," she said about the 2020-21 numbers. "So there are people coming to Duluth in the winter, in a pandemic, to take advantage of Spirit Mountain. And we know that that's a time when our partners in the hospitality industry could use the extra boost."

A spokesperson for the City of Duluth said the mayor hopes to narrow down some specific plans yet this spring. 

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