Skip to main content

Bigger gondolas, more ski runs in Lutsen's expansion plan


Minnesota's biggest ski area has big expansion plans. And owners of Lutsen Mountains say roomier gondolas will help get them where they want to be.

The 45-year-old gondola now used at the resort on Lake Superior's north shore will be replaced by a new model next year, WDIO reports. Co-owners Charles Skinner and Tom Rider tell the station the new $7 million gondola represents the largest single investment in upgrading Lutsen.

According to Business North, the owners say today's four-person gondolas will give way to new ones holding eight people, and the new system will bump capacity from 300 visitors per hour to 2,400 an hour.

The new gondolas should be ready for the start of next year's ski season, reports say.

Lutsen's owners also plan to add ski runs. Business North says Skinner and Rider are budgeting $30 million for an expansion that could take several years. The expansion involves acreage that's part of Superior National Forest, so the Forest Service would need to approve a special use permit.

The supervisor of Superior National Forest tells the Duluth News Tribune it's common for forests to provide those permits to ski areas. But Brenda Halter says approval is not automatic, and the process will likely involve an environmental assessment.

The News Tribune says its 95 runs make Lutsen Mountains the biggest ski area in the Upper Midwest. But co-owner Charles Skinner tells the paper expanding is essential to keeping up with competitors. Skinner says more than 300 U.S. ski areas closed in the last 30 years, in most cases because they were too small or failed to keep up their facilities.

In a statement, Lutsen says it has spent $25 million on improvements over the last decade and adds that replacement of the gondolas has been the most-requested change among visitors.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

KAT sets a franchise record, leaves early in loss to Wizards

Towns fell on his back in the final minutes of a loss in Washington.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Man shot by police in Forest Lake dies from injuries

It was one of two police shootings in the Twin Cities on the same day, both of which proved fatal.

Dylan Bundy

Report: Twins agree to deal with Dylan Bundy

The Twins signed the right-hander with a lockout imminent.

Flickr - face masks covid pole - Ivan Radic

'Everyone should really be masking up' in public, Malcolm says

The health commissioner said residents have gotten "a little bit lax" with some protective measures.

Byron Buxton

Byron Buxton believes he's the best player in baseball

"Nobody [does] the things that I do. I know that."

unsplash medical marijuana

Edibles coming to Minnesota's medical marijuana program

MDH also announced it will not add anxiety as qualifying condition.

plow, snowplow, snow

Plowable snow possible this weekend in Minnesota

Up to half a foot of snow could fall within the heaviest band.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

Police reveal new details about 'coordinated' Best Buy thefts

A large group stole thousands of dollars in merchandise from three Twin Cities Best Buy stores.

Seven Points exterior - 2

New tenant revealed for former Libertine spot in Uptown

The space will combine playful art offerings with a restaurant.

white Christmas

What are Minnesota's chances of a white Christmas this year?

The Twin Cities averages a white Christmas about 3 out of every 4 years.

ilhan omar press conference voicemail screengrab 11.30.21

'You will not live much longer b***': Rep. Omar shares threatening voicemail

Omar's office received the call hours after Rep. Boebert posted her video about the MN congresswoman.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 11.24.09 AM

ESPN's 'Booger' makes fun of Wild fans' record cup snake

He's the same guy who thought the "Minneapolis Miracle" was bad for the Vikings.