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Spirit Mountain 20/21


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Earlier this week the Duluth City Council voted unanimously to support Spirit Mountain operations for the coming winter to the tune of $300,000. Few details available (and all subject to change) but to my way of thinking it’s time to refresh the thread for the new season!
Russ

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3/3/2021 A thin layer of groom over the hard base, but the bright sun attracted the usual crew..    Khoward Jolson Bigwavedave Rwmaron  

Out for an hour this morning. 4pipe (the only new run added today) was an open expanse of frozen groom with death cookies and flat light. Bindle Stiff had better groom, but still sprinkled with ice ch

-25F this morning at the river, -5 at the top of the hill at the noon opening. Upper midwest packed pow-crete? I'll just call it typical Minnesota firm. 1-1½" deep trenches. A more consistent groom th

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On 10/1/2020 at 7:45 PM, rwmaron said:

Earlier this week the Duluth City Council voted unanimously to support Spirit Mountain operations for the coming winter to the tune of $300,000. Few details available (and all subject to change) but to my way of thinking it’s time to refresh the thread for the new season!
Russ

have they come out with a covid policy? bottom of 4-pipe will be insane.

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  • 3 weeks later...
6 hours ago, bigwavedave said:

They will not operate on Mondays and Tuesdays this winter (except holiday Mondays).

so many questions... reason? there's no mention of reduced hours on their web page.

gonna be tough if you rent out those villas at the top of spirit and they don't open.

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https://www.spiritmt.com/hours

I suspect they're trying to reduce operating costs. It's encouraging to see them getting a jump on snowmaking during this cold spell.

If there's fresh snow on a M or T, I'll hike up. Otherwise drive to Indianhead or Giant's. Glad I picked up a discounted BigSnow pass last spring. 

 

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1 hour ago, bigwavedave said:

https://www.spiritmt.com/hours

I suspect they're trying to reduce operating costs. It's encouraging to see them getting a jump on snowmaking during this cold spell.

If there's fresh snow on a M or T, I'll hike up. Otherwise drive to Indianhead or Giant's. Glad I picked up a discounted BigSnow pass last spring. 

 

what's your record for hikes up? to you go all the way up?

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I don't hike to the top of the Express lift, but stop at the flat area below. On the Gandy side, I'll drive to the top and ride down as far as the flats at the bottom and hike back up. I like the solitude on the hike up and as you know, it's worth the effort when you get tracks through untouched snow. But, it sure makes you appreciate the decadence of riding a lift to the top in a fraction of the time and effort. During the season mt-ops are often driving around in snowmobiles, although one offered me a ride up last year!

It's looking wintery here lately. They're still blowing snow as I write this. We have several nights of good snowmaking weather ahead. Maybe they will open before Thanksgiving.

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4 hours ago, bigwavedave said:

I don't hike to the top of the Express lift, but stop at the flat area below. On the Gandy side, I'll drive to the top and ride down as far as the flats at the bottom and hike back up. I like the solitude on the hike up and as you know, it's worth the effort when you get tracks through untouched snow. But, it sure makes you appreciate the decadence of riding a lift to the top in a fraction of the time and effort. During the season mt-ops are often driving around in snowmobiles, although one offered me a ride up last year!

It's looking wintery here lately. They're still blowing snow as I write this. We have several nights of good snowmaking weather ahead. Maybe they will open before Thanksgiving.

i think my personal best walking up buck is 5 runs. it takes 12-15 minutes to get back to the top. 

i think Spirit might be kinder to my heart but i don't think i could do more than 3 trips up Four-Pipe. that's a long walk up the run. i'd have wear a camelback. it would be a long day.

at least you have lovely scenery. we just have 35W and Crystal Lake to gaze.

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42 minutes ago, bobble said:

i think my personal best walking up buck is 5 runs. it takes 12-15 minutes to get back to the top. 

i think Spirit might be kinder to my heart but i don't think i could do more than 3 trips up Four-Pipe. that's a long walk up the run. i'd have wear a camelback. it would be a long day.

at least you have lovely scenery. we just have 35W and Crystal Lake to gaze.

Yeah, about 2 or 3 trips up for me. Takes about 20-30 min from the bottom of 4pipe and maybe 20 min on the Gandy side. It's a good workout.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Picked up my pass today. Spirit had been making snow on one run (BindleStiff) for several days before this recent warm-up. Most of the natural snow has melted off the slopes. I won't be surprised to see opening day postponed. Looks like BlackJack (BigSnow) has postponed their opening day TBA. :mad:

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if its any consolation, snow at buck is garbage. i suppose if you were desperate. they just have teachers pet partially open. how do you like your atv tracks? large, medium or small?

i cannot believe they are open when its this warm. watching the web cam and the terrain park is crowded. i dunno man... statistically one of those kids is covid positive. i guess these are desperate times.

i look forward to riding at spirit and Indian head (my happy place) this season providing covid is in check.

 

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1½" of wet snow today. Spirit was still blowing snow on BindleStiff yesterday. If they open on Friday, it will likely be one run open. Hopefully in a couple of weeks the weather will shift.

A year ago today we were off and running and had 3 runs open full width...

 

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Making snow last night and all day today. They moved guns over to SissorBill. Website says it will be Bindle Stiff and the rope tow park for opening on the 27th. Season pass holders only. The forecast does not look good for snowmaking over the next few days. Freezing rain and snow tomorrow and then warmer temps.

Might be tempted to go take a few runs if it's not crazy busy. We'll see...

 

 

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Drove to the top of the hill today with boots on :) Had the 1st run to myself about 20 min before opening. The snow is man made ice pellets and chunks making for a soft spring-like slush cone groom and deep trenches. I tipped over 3 times in heelside turns on my first run. Just kind of got stuck and couldn't right myself. Sometimes the first day on snow feels really awkward🤪. I recently moved bindings from another board and the set-up didn't feel right. After making an adjustment, I took another run and only fell once.

With just Bindle Stiff and the tow park open, things got busy real fast, so 2 runs and done for me.

There should be a good stretch of snowmaking weather starting Sunday. Sissor Bill looks almost ready.

Giant's Ridge has 3 runs open and on the webcam it looks like they have more natural snow than Spirit.

Hopefully north winds kick in soon and deliver some lake effect to the U.P.

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1698883893_track11-29-20.jpg.446fcaeade2971b803dc8a89cee51fc7.jpgA 15 min commute to the top of the hill again today for 2½ runs (one run in the rope tow park for fresh tracks without traffic). The groom was much nicer this morning. Can't wait for more terrain to open.

 No falling over today after increasing angles 10° front & back. Never underestimate the value of carpet carving your set-up before hitting the hill after moving bindings.

I noticed snowsticks all along the north side of SissorBill. Are those new?

Oh, they have reserved "covid" parking in the upper lot near the chalet for 65+ year olds.

 

 

 

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Another bike ride, another snow making update.

Guns haved moved from ScissorBill to upper 4pipe. Still going on SkyHooker and the feeder from the top of Gandy. Blowing snow all night and all day! At this rate they should be able to have a few more runs open this weekend!

And Huttner is hinting at a wintery change in the weather pattern in about 10 days.

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Snow making stopped Wed morning when temps neared freezing. They haven't made snow since then, even though it's been cold at night (20° this morning). So, they'll only be adding SkyHooker & ScissorBill for this weekend. Guns are set up on 4pipe from top to bottom and they're pushing a lot of snow around at the bottom of the hill from all the snow they made on the nordic loop.

Lots of activity in the new retail/residential development on the river side of Grand Ave at the bottom of the hill. Rumor has it that Ski Hut plans to open a store in there (the West Duluth shop is closed).

The river is frozen, but not safe for skate sailing yet. I've gone full studded tires (fr & rear) on the fat bike for the icy trails.

I plan to go up 1st thing in the morning on Sat & Sun. Hope to get a few runs in before it gets busy.

 

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Snow making all last night on 4pipe and somewhere over on the Gandy side (maybe the big air park?). 12°F at dawn and shot up to 30° by the time left after a few runs. My secret top-of-the-hill parking spot is no longer a secret. There were several cars and some folks setting up a warming tent when I left.

There was soft fresh groomed snow at the top (adjacent to the rope tow park) and at the bottom of 4pipe. Everywhere else was likely groomed last night and had set up pretty hard. It didn't take long for it to get too crowded for me. I split after ½ hour.

1st tracks on the 162 SF...

IMG_5392.jpg.ef16170e65bd71124c4cd4221f374f59.jpg

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Out for a few runs this morning in flat light. Same 3 runs are open. They are blowing snow all over 4pipe this afternoon and they should be able to keep making snow nonstop for the next several days. Hopefully they'll get better quality snow with the lower temps. Much of the snow on the hill today was nicely groomed crushed ice with chunks. We made 2-3" deep trenches.

Ran into another hardbooter who races with the UMD Alpine SNOWBOARD team. He just got a new Donek 163 FC, his first real carving board...and they just cancelled the races for the season. 

I might go out for a couple more runs this evening if the crowds diminish. Tweaking bindings for the sweet spot on the new board, plus I tried new liners that are too stiff, so it's back to the old ones for a while.

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Another flat light day with a firmer groom and still sprinkled with ice chunks. Took one run this morning then out for a few runs this evening under the lights with new snow coming down (1" so far). I took one run last night, but there were too many crazy straight-lining kids. Tonight was quieter, there were fewer and fewer people each run. It was late day lumpy, bumpy crud and Scissor Bill had been scraped down to ice, but the top and bottom were nice enough to get my carve on. Felt good!  

Made-made snow was drifting over onto ScissorBill and is much better quality than the stuff they were making when it was warmer. Big piles of dry, fluffy snow on 4pipe and several guns blowing over in the big air park. Wonder where the best snow will be next weekend when regular season hours start?

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Biked up to check on the snowmaking progress. They have been blasting snow 24hrs/day since Sunday. Guns are now on BlueRuin. Looks like they gave up on the BigAir Park for now (grass is still visible at the bottom). They're grooming out 4pipe today with guns on DoubleJaw.

So, for certain, 4pipe should be open this weekend and possibly Blue Ruin and DoubleJaw, and everything in between. 

The river has frozen over and I've been seeing coyotes crossing on the ice.

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