New lift at Lutsen

The addition of a new six-seat, high-speed lift on Lutsen’s Moose Mountain, costing $4.5 million, is good news for skiers and riders that frequent the Heartland’s biggest snowsports resort. A new quad and triple chair is in store at Ohio's Alpine Valley.

Joining less than a handful of six-seat, high-speed lifts mid-continent the new lift at Lutsen will really make a difference in the uphill dynamics of Moose Mountain, which rises slightly over1,000 feet above the shore of Lake Superior.

It will cut chairlift ride time from 10 minutes to a quick 3.5 minutes for the 800-foot vertical ascent, largest around the Great Lakes.

“The new lift makes a big difference in the slope time a skier or snowboarder will now get,” Lutsen's Jim Vick told “The efficiency of a high-speed chair on Moose will be readily seen. The new Caribou Express will save more than six minutes per ride. The number of runs in a ski day will grow three or four fold.”

If you felt that delicious thigh burn, like out west, after a few runs on Moose, you’ll really feel it now. The new lift is strategically placed to take full advantage of the mountain, accessing 95 percent of the terrain.

Lutsen has made some major improvements in base facilities, terrain expansion, lodging, snowmaking, roads and parking over the past few years. The addition of the new lift is the icing on the cake.

Lift at Lutsen

“The high-speed lift has been the number one guest-requested improvement, but these other investments were a prerequisite to support the addition of the new lift,” said Charles Skinner, co-president of the family owned resort. “We are thrilled to be at a point in our development to deliver on that request.”

Lutsen, sometimes referred to as the “Vail of the Plains,” is spread over 1,000-acres and four mountains with 825 feet of lift served vertical, 95 runs and 10 lifts, including the Midwest's only gondola. The views of Lake Superior are seen from all four peaks. There’s lodging for more than 3,000 guests, numerous restaurants and live music seven days a week. Papa Charlie’s has been called the best night-club scene north of the Twin Cities by the Minneapolis Tribune.

In other expansion news, Peak Resorts is investing $2.5 million in Ohio’s Alpine Valley, which includes a new base-to-summit quad and a shorter triple serving the ski area’s beginner slope. Its part of an effort to revamp the area they purchased last winter, mentioned in a article last February.

They also are widening a couple of trails, relocating the tubing hill, regrading the beginner area, and adding a couple of surface tows to service those areas. The ski area is also adding new state of the art snowmaking system and additional tower-mounted snow guns.

You can preview the new improvements at Alpine’s annual open house, Oct. 25-27.

Peak Resorts also owns and operates other Midwestern ski area; Boston Mills/Brandywine and Mad River Mountain in Ohio, Paoli Peaks in Indiana, and Hidden Valley and Snow Creek in Missouri and five resorts out east.

Photos: New lift installation at Lutsen (Lutsen Resorts)