Lutsen, MN, Mar. 21--Ten years ago only 9% of Lutsen Mountains' skier visits occurred between March 15 and the end of the season. Last year, over 25% of Lutsen's skier visits occurred during this same period. No wonder the resort takes spring skiing seriously.
"Nearly every school district in Minnesota and Wisconsin has a one week vacation between March 20 and April 9," explains Jim Vick, Marketing Director at Lutsen. "The Spring Break season is just beginning, and this period is as strong as our Christmas/New Year's holiday."
With this in mind, Lutsen Mountains actually began planning for spring during January and February, making snow around the clock for seven weeks. That effort drove the snowbase totals up to an average of 3-5 feet, with some areas stockpiled at 20 feet deep. Although the Midwest experienced record warm temperatures during the first week of March, Lutsen officials didn't panic. And when the temps cooled during the second week of March, snowmaking resumed.
"Right now all 50 of our main runs are in mid-winter shape," says Vick. "We could endure two weeks of 65-degree weather and still be fine."
"We refer to this process as 'snow farming," adds Tom Rider, Lutsen's manager of mountain operations. "We groom daily and distribute our stockpiles to keep a consistent base. We also use a Renovator, a piece of equipment that breaks up an icy base caused by frequent freezing and thawing. The Renovator combined with daily power tilling allows us to provide a smooth surface for every day of skiing."
To show skiers its level of commitment, Lutsen is offering a "Snow Guarantee" from now until the end of the season. At least 80% of all major runs (the 50 runs covered by snowmaking) are guaranteed to be open or guests may cancel their reservations without any penalty or obligation.
"When the mercury hits 60 degrees in our guests' home towns, it's hard for them to imagine they can go skiing," says Vick. "When a family plans their ski vacation, they want to know they can count on us. Our snow guarantee instills confidence that we can deliver."
Lutsen Mountains is scheduled to be open daily through April 9, and then reopens for the April 15-16 Customer Appreciation Weekend. The lift tickets are free on April 16 and if you're staying at a local lodge lift tickets are free for both days of the weekend.
Minnesota Snow Report
Check out ski conditions at Lutsen and at other Minnesota ski areas.