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Spirit Mountain will use water from the St. Louis River to make snow

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Duluth's Spirit Mountain will use water from the St. Louis River to make its snow, instead of drawing it from the city.

This ski hill's new $6.2 million water system will help cover the slopes with man-made snow faster and also help Spirit Mountain's bottom line, the Duluth News Tribune says.

This is good news for the ski hill, which has been struggling financially as of late – earlier this year it asked for $300,000 from Duluth so it could make payroll.

Spirit Mountain had been paying roughly $150,000 a year to use the city's filtered water to cover the hill with snow, KBJR 6 reports, but now the new system will use untreated water from the St. Louis River – a move that's expected to save $200,000 a year, the Duluth News Tribune notes.

"The city had a problem in terms of supply. Spirit had a problem in terms of the bill. And meanwhile, we were putting chlorinated, fluorinated, treated water on the hill that then would melt and run off, and end up in the St. Louis River,” Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, told KBJR 6.

Not only will the new water system be cheaper and better for the environment, but it's also expected to cut the snowmaking time in half, WDIO notes, and increase sales of season pass holders because they'll be able to make more snow, KBJR 6 says.

"It's going to serve this mountain when the weather doesn't fully cooperate or it otherwise would be a slow start," Dave Montgomery, Duluth's Chief Administrative Officer, said, according to WDIO. "This will allow this ski hill to continue to operate and thrive and pull in visitors early on in the process."

The new water system is among various investments at the mountain in recent years. In 2012, it spent $7 million on a new chalet and other upgrades, the Business Journal reported.

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