Spirit Mountain Duluth's ski season begins

IMG_4857Spirit Mountain’s flagship chairlift transported skiers and snowboarders over bare, brown terrain this past weekend.Photo by Devan Burnett

A lone white ribbon of snow now snakes down Duluth’s Spirit Mountain, breaking up the brown late fall landscape. The city owned ski hill ushered in its 39th ski season on Saturday at 9 a.m, marking an unusually early opening date.

Colder-than-average temperatures allowed the hill to get an early start on snowmaking, with lows around 15 degrees seen early last week. By the end of last week, Spirit Mountain confirmed a weekend opening. The early opening date is a contrast to April’s record snowfall, which occurred after the hill had closed for the season.

Snowsports enthusiasts and mountain bikers alike were able to enjoy this weekend’s mild weather at Spirit Mountain, a sight seldom seen. Conditions more closely mirrored those of spring, with temperatures in the mid-40s and scattered periods of rain throughout both days. Despite the gloomy weather, many winter-lovers showed up at opening to make their first tracks of the season.

IMG_4868 Warmer than expected weather is forced to close for this week, but it will open again at 12 p.m. tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 22, and remain in operation through the end of weekend. Temperatures are expected to fall today, creating conditions that are potentially favorable for snowmaking. The push for snow is on, as a large amount is required for the annual Duluth National Snocross, which begins Nov. 29.

IMG_4867Snow guns line the single run open at Spirit Mountain, idle, having successfully accomplished the task of opening a ski hill in mid-November.

All photos by Devan Burnett

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