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Minnesota Has Most Midwest Ski Areas Open

Lutsen-snowboarder A Lutsen snowboarder carves the last rays of sunlight.

If you want to go skiing in early December in the Midwest, think Minnesota. The Gopher State has the most ski areas open around the Great Lakes, nine open to the public and one currently season pass holders only.

In contrast, Wisconsin currently has just five open, some weekend only, and Upper Michigan has one opening this weekend. Lower Michigan and the lower Midwest ski areas are making snow when possible. Most are looking at a mid-December opening, weather permitting. Snowmaking weather has been absent much of the time.

Most of the Minnesota ski areas open are from around the Twin Cities north.

Lutsen Mountains, currently operating weekends and opening daily December 11, has 24 open runs cascading down three of their four mountains with six lifts operating. They will open more runs as quickly as possible and snowmaking looks good in the near future. Nearby Giants Ridge and Duluth's Spirit Mountain are also open weekends. The Ridge plans on opening daily on December 18.

All three are requiring advance reservations for day visitors and season pass holders alike. A recent article in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine said that the ski resorts anticipate selling out on weekends and holidays. It quoted Lutsen's marketing director Jim Vick, “We're expecting to turn down nearly 1,000 people per day during President's Day weekend. If your schedule is flexible, consider weekday skiing, and make reservations in advance.”

Many resorts around the Midwest have been sounding the alarm that the only guaranteed access to the slopes this season is with a season pass and pre-purchased lift tickets online. It's something that you shouldn't be put off if you want to ski certain dates, or at all.Other Minnesota ski areas currently open, some just weekends, include Andes Tower Hills, Buck Hill, Powder Ridge, Hyland Hills, Wild Mountain, Detroit Mountain and Afton Alps. Welch Village has opened, but only to season pass holders at this time.

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