Varied terrain, great old-school ski atmosphere
Old lifts, congested lift lines, narrow-minded staff
I'm amazed that there haven't been more reviews of Lutsen...probably the greatest ski area in the Midwest (with a few catches). This weekend my eyes were opened even wider to how great Lutsen is.
First off, the terrain. This was the first time ever I had been on the Timberwolf lift, seeing what could arguably be the longest run in the Midwest. Second, I had never gone all the way to the top of the Mystery Mountain lift (I always got off at the top of the park). Here, there was spectacular glade skiing! Lastly, I had never been all the way on top of Eagle Mountain (via the Eagle Chair) and all the way skier's right of Chris' Colouir. I finally got a real appreciation for how much terrain Lutsen has to offer!
Second, there were the conditions...fabulous! The 4" of sloppy, wet snow didn't bode well for Lutsen...it just froze and made the surface hard for the groomer to turn into marbles. But that's only a small problem with the two new outstanding groomers that Lutsen is now using. These groomers really work great, turning the hard ice into terrific, soft corduroy, and when the sun finally hit it, it was the soft, mushy corn snow you'd come to expect for spring skiing. It was terrific!
With all things considered, Lutsen still has great coverage...there isn't any exposed or bare spots on the main runs (the trees, however, are another deal), and to the best of my knowledge, the resort is 100% open (again, except for the trees). Any glades that aren't covered isn't--obviously--the fault of Lutsen, but the lack of snow the last few months of the season.
Third and final in making this trip to Lutsen a great one, was the fact that Lutsen's management ACTUALLY RAN ALL THE CHAIRS. This helped alleviate the lines big time. Thanks for this! I didn't have to wait very long for a chair...except at Mystery Mountain where the liftie was only letting singles up, when he should of been doubling them? What gives there?
All the improvements Lutsen Mountain has done this year (new groomers mostly) are foreshadowing the future of this resort as it moves into the 21st century. Up next to add to the Lutsen stoke? The supposed opening of the old drop-off steep run on the backside of Moose Mountain, additional glading of tree runs between the main runs (such as under the Caribou chair on Moose Mountain), and--this is only a rumor--perhaps the addition of a high-speed quad or even a six-person chair (supposedly where Bridge Chair stands now). All these super-exciting additions to Lutsen are really going to help put this place on track to be the no-doubt king of Midwest skiing. The addition of more tree skiing, some "extreme" terrain, and a high-speed lift in the busiest part of the resort will help every type of skier enjoy this resort even more.
One more compliant (I'm pretty hard on Lutsen): lower the price of beer at Papa Charlie's! $5.10 for a pint of Coors Light? We had one, then went to the liquor store in the town of Lutsen and just sat outside ourselves...puh-leez! You really aren't a true Rocky mountain resort, so stop charging those prices!