Terrain, snow conditions, grooming
Lift lines, lack of apres, price
I continued my weekend of Midwest Powder Days on Saturday, the 20th of December at Lutsen. The same lake effect snow storm that had blown through Duluth last night and left 6" of fresh snow on Spirit Mountain was now working it's way up the North Shore to Lutsen. On top of that, there was another storm moving in from the West that was to brig more snow. My friend and I didn't waste any time...we booked a room for Saturday night at Lutsen, jumped in the car early in the morning, and headed up to get at the goods.
We weren't let down. Lutsen only has 41 runs open, but that didn't matter...all the snow on each one of the open runs was phenomenal. Just like the day before, the fresh snow sat on top of the runs and wasn't blown around a bit. You never heard your skis scraping the ice underneath because your ski never bottomed out: all you heard was the woosh of fresh snow underfoot. We lapped mostly Hary Cary on Eagle Mountain which went mostly untouched. Along the sides of Hary Cary we could easily access shin-deep snow for a few turns. It was incredible!
Next, we headed over to Moose Mountain via the gondola to check out the conditions there. Since we arrived it continued to nuke fresh lake effect snow with no wind, and we quickly found that the fresh snow was sticking well on Moose. Although it was a bit tracked up, packed powder conditions existed and Upper and Lower Bull made for some excellent, soft, high-speed turns. We lapped the Bulls until they closed down the lift, at which we took the return cat (skipping the gondola line) back to the Bridge chair to get a few more runs in on Hary Cary until closing time.
Everything is picture-perfect at Lutsen today. The only complaint came in the price of the tickets: $52! For a resort that isn't even fully open! On top of that, if you only want to ski for a half-day, you only save $5 off of full-price. A tip to locals: if you live anywhere in the Arrowhead, go to http://www.lutsen.com/local and buy your tickets before you arrive. You'll save $19!
It continued to snow for the rest of the day, only breaking to let the new snow storm come in. But to see how conditions were the next day, you'll have to read that separate review :)