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T-shirt skiing: Season up north extends into May

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Should we take a bike ride, schedule a round of golf or head up north and go skiing?

MPR News reported Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort will keep its runs overlooking Lake Superior open into May – its latest closing date ever.

This year, the popular North Shore resort counted more than 13 feet of snow; 4 feet more than average. The resort's website has a page that posts updated grooming reports and base totals on the various runs. The Associated Press adds that Lutsen still has 2-4 feet of snow on its runs, which should keep skiers content until the May 4 closing date, and allow them to leave the heavy parkas at home.

"Our spring skiing has done really well," said marketing director Jim Vick. "There's some pent up demand."

Other ski areas in Minnesota closed during the first two weeks of April.

Lutsen's late season may help the Cook County resort make up for the revenue-robbing stretches of extreme cold this winter. Last month, the Star Tribune reported many ski and snowboard resorts across the state had disappointing seasons due to the high number of below-zero days. The story said that at both Duluth's Spirit Mountain and at Lutsen, profits dropped with the temperatures, down as much as 20 percent in bitterly cold weeks.

Minnesota is eighth in the nation for the number of skier visits. Total spending for last year’s season was $401.2 million, including direct spending at Minnesota’s 19 ski areas and ski area businesses.

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