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TR Lutsen Mountains, MN - Feb 28 - Mar 2, 2022

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
Thought about doing a separate TR for Lutsen (idle lift ride musings) but realized that my first post would be a link to this one, because @shadoj did such an amazing job.

TL,DR: Highly recommend Lutsen

Couple of notes to add about Lutsen, from the perspective of a less skilled skier, skiing with a wide variety of other skiers.

Me: middle aged mom who was a mediocre skier before a 20 year break that ended last year - I’m a solid intermediate. Barring some sort of panic, I’m a fairly controlled, parallel skier.
DH: husband who has not skied in 30 years before this year
DS: teenage boy - skied most of all of us this year, no fear combined with decent skills - loves speed
DD: tween girl - super cautious, actually prefers to ski slower than me - but can generally keep up with brother(ish) although she does not have the mass to fly

We had two poor visibility days (one icy, one powdery), one bluebird day with groomed buttery powder in the am turning to mashed potatoes by afternoon.

For us outside Milwaukee, traveling by air can be a time-consuming challenge, so the idea of a larger ski location with access via car was really appealing.

For intermediates and beginners: So many green and blue runs, long runs, short runs, 4 mountains with different characteristics for each summit. There are also some CLEARLY challenging runs. I looked at those from the lift. LOL. One cool thing on the “easy“ mountain (Ullr) of which my kids took advantage was a blue mogul run with an easy bailout (Steppes - mentioned in OPs summary)… DD “did two moguls and bailed out” and DS “Just went down it, mom, in a straight line, no turns!” (DD summary)

Plenty of options and runs that could connect. So, for example, I am a touch more cautious, especially when skiing with a slower loved one, so husband and I would go down one green/blue combo, and kids would go down a longer combo with a long runout to match our time to bottom … I beat them 2x when I skied without my husband, so that was super fun! I definitely had some super runs today on the groomed powder… unreal conditions. Could not have been better.

I don’t think I can do any of the runs more justice than in the original posts.

I highly recommend staying ski in/ski out. It’s easy to get to either Eagle Ridge or Caribou Highlands off the Bridge run (or the far side of Eagle Ridge off of Brule) … We stayed in an executive single and it slept all of us comfortably. Today is quite warm (45 Deg), so DD and I walked to the hot tub/pool in our swimwear. We stayed in Bldg B, I would prefer either A - closer to run, or F - closer to pool. Also, if you are booking, book mountain view.

OTOH, if you’re looking for a more “resort” feel - more services, more reliable ski school, variety of restaurants/bars/apres scene - this is NOT the place for you. I had a lesson reserved for myself on our first day - which was challenging to book, and then was cancelled that morning due to instructor injury. They tried rebooking my lesson to today at 12:30 at 8:30 this morning, but knowing that it would be warm, mashed potatoes and I’d be tired and then not skiing until next season, I didn’t accept it - i prefer lessons to be applied to practice.

What Lutsen is: a spectacular midwest ski destination with a wealth of fun and different runs.
What Lutsen is not: a higher end Rockies resort
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
I agree w your summary. I'd add that my sole detraction (outside of ski school issue you mentioned) is that lift tix are priced like it's out West, imo. View of Lake Superior on a clear day is fantastic.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
Yup… for us, kids lift tickets were included with ours, so it wasn’t terrible.
Taking 4 skiers anywhere is $$$$
Today was spectacular.
DS took this one.
 

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shadoj

Angel Diva
@Iwannaski - Great to hear your perspective and report on different conditions!

Yep, "Out west luxury" it is not, but it's one of the best local midwest places where you can have fun for multiple days in a row, no matter your skill level. Driving vs. flying certainly has a huge appeal, as does consistent March snow :smile:

Let's keep the excitement going for next year...
Maybe some of the non-midwesterners will even give us a chance and visit, too?!
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
@shadoj - agreed. We’re definitely coming back. Not a hard drive, and well worth 3 days of skiing.

For us midwesterners, I actually talked to a family from near us who had to bail on their original Granite Peak at spring break plan and switched to Lutsen b/c of snow availability.

we did SUPER luck out on the timing of our drive and the snow.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I agree w your summary. I'd add that my sole detraction (outside of ski school issue you mentioned) is that lift tix are priced like it's out West, imo. View of Lake Superior on a clear day is fantastic.
For context comparing to another region with small mountains . . . Lutsen has about 1000 ft vertical and 1000 skiable acres on more than one peak. Massanutten has 1100 ft vertical and 95 acres. An adult day ticket is $97 at Lutsen and $89 at Massanutten on weekends. It's possible to get a lower price for Lutsen buying online more than 72 hours in advance. Both Lutsen and Massanutten are on the Indy Pass.

Day tickets at resorts with slopeside lodging in the Rockies are well over $150 these days, especially on weekends.

Like real estate . . . location, location, location when it comes to prices. Being able to drive with kids makes a big difference for a family ski trip that is limited to weekends or holidays.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
For context comparing to another region with small mountains . . . Lutsen has about 1000 ft vertical and 1000 skiable acres on more than one peak. Massanutten has 1100 ft vertical and 95 acres. An adult day ticket is $97 at Lutsen and $89 at Massanutten on weekends. It's possible to get a lower price for Lutsen buying online more than 72 hours in advance. Both Lutsen and Massanutten are on the Indy Pass.
Just realized the lift ticket I balked at available to purchase online was a 2-day at $189. I thought that was a lot for a single day in the Midwest!!
1-day Adult are $97 full day per their website, but they are only selling 2-day online. With limits on capacity, I'd hate to fly in and be sent away at the ticket window(thought doubtful it would happen this late in the season.)

I'm actually considering heading to Lutsen via Duluth next weekend OR Santa Fe, NM (SkiSanta Fe.) TBH it's about the same price in total for either trip for me (flights/rental car/hotel/lift tix/baggage fees.) Looking at resort webcams (assessing crowds & conditions) and weather reports (NM getting small amt of snow next week.)
 
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shadoj

Angel Diva
Just realized the lift ticket I balked at available to purchase online was a 2-day at $189. I thought that was a lot for a single day in the Midwest!!
1-day Adult are $97 full day per their website, but they are only selling 2-day online. With limits on capacity, I'd hate to fly in and be sent away at the ticket window(thought doubtful it would happen this late in the season.)

I'm actually considering heading to Lutsen via Duluth next weekend OR Santa Fe, NM (SkiSanta Fe.) TBH it's about the same price in total for either trip for me (flights/rental car/hotel/lift tix/baggage fees.) Looking at resort webcams (assessing crowds & conditions) and weather reports (NM getting small amt of snow next week.)
@Amie H Please kidnap me?! Do I have to threaten to post a video?! Of course, I won't complain if your next trip report comes from further out west... love your camera setup as you ski for that immersive experience.
20220228_104507c.jpg
Also, my 3-day midweek ski+stay @ Lutsen resulted in 30% off window lift ticket prices. Roughly $67/day, better than the $20 off/day my Welch Village (MN) season pass got me.

Weather up there looks like it will be holding steady and springlike this week!
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Also, my 3-day midweek ski+stay @ Lutsen resulted in 30% off window lift ticket prices. Roughly $67/day, better than the $20 off/day my Welch Village (MN) season pass got me.
You were in Lutsen with a group, right? (Shared lodging expense?) My Lutsen and Whitecap trips, I struggled to find lodging for the price I wanted to spend because most options were condos/whole homes priced for a group/family. I will try to get a buddy to go to Whitecap with me next season and rent something a little more private/secure than a motel w a doorknob lock!

Speaking of travel...I decided on Santa Fe for next weekend. I'm only skiing 1 day at Ski Santa Fe, but it's a place that has been on my radar a few years so I'm excited to check it off my wish list. Was able to use airline miles, so that helped keep things in the range of what I cared to spend.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
@Amie H Please kidnap me?! Do I have to threaten to post a video?! Of course, I won't complain if your next trip report comes from further out west... love your camera setup as you ski for that immersive experience.
Oh, also...something went wrong with my GoPro in Tahoe so I'll hopefully get it fixed before Santa Fe. I started doing those because I watch videos just like that (showing runs/giving resort tours)on YouTube before a ski trip, or when deciding where I'd like to visit. I don't have editing availability on my weakling laptop so I can only do single take vids for now. Someday, I'll learn how to exploit the features of the camera (which I wear on a backpack strap, not a helmet.)
 

shadoj

Angel Diva
You were in Lutsen with a group, right? (Shared lodging expense?) My Lutsen and Whitecap trips, I struggled to find lodging for the price I wanted to spend because most options were condos/whole homes priced for a group/family. I will try to get a buddy to go to Whitecap with me next season and rent something a little more private/secure than a motel w a doorknob lock!

I stayed at Eagle Ridge: I shared a 1-bedroom suite (fireplace/kitchen) with a friend; my 2 other friends shared a fireplace studio room (fridge/microwave). I think the pre-spring-break prices were about $20/night lower per room. The studio room ran ~$327/person for 2 nights for 2 adults, including lift tickets. My friend volunteered to cover the price difference so she could have a private bedroom, which was super awesome :smile: So, ~$500 for 3 days skiing/lodging on-mountain.

I haven't looked into any cheaper off-mountain options near Lutsen, since part of the draw is the ski in/out for me.

I'd love to go back to the Ironwood area and check out Whitecap, too. Happy to share lodging and willing to take the couch/futon/murphy bed. Looking forward to next season!
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Since @shadoj started this thread a few years ago, I thought I'd just add to it to discuss my most recent Lutsen visit, Jan 27, 2024.

I have a good friend who lives in Duluth, so I flew in after work Friday, and my friend picked me up. I unpacked, set out my things for the next morning, and went right to bed. We both bought single day tickets online and she got a rental package.

We thought it was going to be a 2 hour drive, but from her house it was about 1:40. As we set out in the morning, I worried about it being crowded on a Saturday, but based on the lack of traffic driving up 61, things looked promising.

We got one of the first spots in the small lot nearest the ticket windows! That was fantastic, so we got ready, got our tickets, her rental gear, and away we went. For most of the day, we rarely had to wait more than one or two groups ahead of us for a chair. Yay for uncrowded Saturdays!

First run was the "under the bridge" Lower Bridge Run, a steep blue to the Raptor Express 6-pack chair. From there we did some nice warm up runs on Mogen back to the chair, then some of the other blues on Eagle Mountain that were open.


We then took Moose Access over to Moose Mountain, jumped on the Caribou Express chair and skied an assortment of blues in that area. I had a blast hitting some of the little rolling hills.


Took a late morning snack and water break at the Summit Lodge, then rode the gondola back to the base area. Took a ride up the old two seat/center post chair on Ullr Mountain, scooted down some easy greens, and decided that wasn't really for us. Back down the Lower Bridge run to do some more laps on Eagle Mountain, then back over to Moose again. This time, exploring some of the black runs like Moose Drop and Lower Bull Run. TBH, by end of day, the black runs had fewer people and better snow, so it was a lot of fun over there.

We skied first chair to last chair! I brought the Stokli Nela 80s with me and they were terrific and I felt great!

20240127_092806.jpg
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Hopefully the temps don't get too warm and the snow holds. One disappointment was that quite a few runs on Moose were closed and Mystery Mountain was closed. Hopefully you have mild weather like we did.
 

shadoj

Angel Diva
Hopefully the temps don't get too warm and the snow holds. One disappointment was that quite a few runs on Moose were closed and Mystery Mountain was closed. Hopefully you have mild weather like we did.
Yeah, everything's a bit awful weather-wise in MN, but hoping enough snow will hold up. Surprise storms welcome! Won't be like last time with nice tree-run powder coverage, but the increased vertical and views will be a win. Have to check out the new lift. And cruise-y groomers are fun, too :smile:
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
Raptor express is new from when we went. When we went it was a triple fixed. 6 detachable is a nice upgrade!!!
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
I should mention that Moose Return is closed for the SEASON due to a bridge out.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
At some point, do all the fires at Lutsen cause pause?
 

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