by: Richard - 20th January 2009

  • 5
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Expert
  • 5All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 5Family Friendly
  • 1Nightlife
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Value
Terrain, terrain, terrain...and snow
Slow lifts, ticket prices

Full review

If you aren't taking time to get to Lutsen and ski this season, you're really missing out. It's completely open, and completely awesome. This season has been kind to all the Midwest resorts, but Lutsen is the only one that can claim "best in the Midwest" overall. If you want the best terrain, the most vertical, and the best snow, it's Lutsen. I skied Lutsen open to close on Martin Luther King day (just as I have done for years), and this hands-down was the best year. There was plenty of fresh snow, up to 4" of fresh, ungroomed snow in some of the glades and on the sides of the runs. We had tons of fun lapping Upper and Lower Bridge runs and dipping into Charlotte's Web and Expert's Cut-off (which is one of three of the best-kept secrets at Lutsen, you're welcome!). It was in here we found some great--although short--powdery turns. It was great skiing, and the hills weren't even that packed! We went up Mystery for the first time all season and skied Dave's Glade & Maple Glade, both were in great shape. There were a few tracks, but it wasn't chewed up in the least bit, and the bottom half was great. Be sure to traverse over to skier's left a little bit under the left to find some nice, powdery stashes that link back up with the main trail. Lutsen had all the chairlifts running,which made for a zero chair waiting line. That helped increase the frequency of our laps. Still, the only problem was how slow most of the chairs move. Caribou chair and the Mystery chair are two of the longest...and two of the slowest. Bridge and Eagle move quicker, but access the same terrain (silly!). The only other complaint about Lutsen is their lift ticket prices. I think they are still a little high, and their pricing policy is kind of screwy. $54 for a day pass should be more like $50 a day. That $4 extra dollars makes a big difference to some peoples' wallet. Also, only deducting a mere $5 for a half-day pass is ridiculous...since it's a half-day of skiing, the price should be closer to half...not just $5 less. I'm sure I've mentioned this tip before, but if you live in the local area (of 558xx or 548xx), you can get discounted lift tickets at http://lutsen.com/local, or if you hold a Spirit Mountain season pass, you can go to http://lutsen.com/spiritmt. Don't pay too much for your lift tix, save now! Other than price and some old, slow lifts, Lutsen still remains the best in the Midwest. Yesterday was a huge indication of that. Now take some much-needed time out of your schedule and go enjoy it! P.S., I gave the "nightlife" a one star, because there is Papa Charlie's and Moguls available on-mountain. However, Papa Charlies is ridiculously priced..$5.50 for a plastic keg cup of beer. And the last time I was in Moguls (it was under the name "Tracks" back then), it was a dump with a tiny bar and partially flooded dining area. Your best bet? Bring a cooler with some beers, some snacks, and a few folding chairs and tailgate in the parking lot. It's way cheaper!
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