Duluth approves emergency bailout for Spirit Mountain ski hill

The resort has been struggling to stay afloat.

Duluth City Council has approved an emergency $235,000 funding boost to help financially ailing local ski center Spirit Mountain.

The ski resort has been struggling in recent years with dwindling attendance and a significant drop in season ticket sales.

But it's financial situation became increasingly fraught for an unusual reason, given it's a skiing hill, namely the 22 inches of snow the city received the weekend over Thanksgiving weekend.

This forced Spirit Mountain to close and forced the early cancelation of the 2019 Amsoil Duluth National Snocross event, which left the resort short of the money it needed to pay its staff through the end of the year, ultimately putting it at risk of closure.

On Monday evening, the Duluth City Council approved the emergency funding provision by a vote of 8-1, with the money coming from the city's tourism tax reserves.

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Among those calling on the council to support Spirit Mountain was Visit Duluth president Anna Tanski, who per the Duluth News Tribune noted that winer can be "fickle" in the Northland and present unforeseen challenges.

Council president Noah Hobbs said that while he supported the funding boost, he was not impressed at the issue being brought before the council at so close to the resort running out of money.

Council members also demanded changes at Spirit Mountain, the Star Tribune adds, with the newspaper noting skier numbers in 2018 were about a third what they were four years earlier.

Lift prices at Spirit Mountain currently cost $59 for adults per day, while season prices cost $459.

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