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Minnesota's Lutsen Mountains In Final Stage Of Expansion Plan Approval

Lutsen The expansion project will include 324 new skiable acres at Lutsen Mountains.

Lutsen Mountains, the largest ski resort in the Midwest, is in the final stage of a seven-year application and review process seeking approval of a Special Use Permit with Superior National Forest to allow ski area expansion on adjacent Forest Service land. Designed to improve the overall skier experience at Lutsen Mountains, the project will significantly increase the amount of skiable terrain, expand the terrain variety available to skiers and snowboarders of all levels, and offer new and improved experiences for resort guests. 

The proposed terrain expansion and resort improvements span across Eagle and Moose Mountains and include 324 new skiable acres offering beginner and advanced trails on both Eagle and Moose Mountains, eight new chairlifts, two new base facilities, an on-mountain chalet on Moose Mountain, and 1,200 new parking spaces at the resort. The Ski Area Expansion project, once a decision is reached, will be developed in phases over several years.  

“Lutsen has always been a popular destination for Midwest families to enjoy a winter ski experience. This expansion will allow us to better meet our guests’ expectations by offering more beginner and advanced terrain, and on-mountain experiences we previously have not been able to provide,” said Jim Vick, director of operations and marketing at Lutsen Mountains. “This project also has the potential to contribute to the broader economic health of our community, and in partnership with the US Forest Service, will provide a new opportunity for recreational enjoyment and exploration on our public lands.”

Specific details of the expansion include: 

Eagle Mountain 

  • New beginner terrain and an enhanced family experience 
  • Two new chairlifts 
  • Enhanced snowmaking operations
  • Base area redevelopment with new food and bar facilities, as well as new resort administrative and operational space 
  • New access road with additional parking 

Moose Mountain 

  • Six additional chairlifts ranging from four to six-person chairs
  • 143 acres of new trails including advanced and expert terrain
  • 149 acres of gladed terrain for off-piste skiing
  • Enhanced snowmaking operations 
  • Expansion of ski patrol operations.
  • Base area development for food and bar services 
  • New chalet on top of Moose Mountain 
  • New parking and arrival experience at Moose Mountain 

“We are in full support of Lutsen’s plans to expand the ski area. Their investment in our community will help create more year-round recreation that ultimately helps sustain businesses like ours,” said Jim Joynes, owner of Joynes Department Store and Ben Franklin in Grand Marais.

The US Forest Service has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and is seeking public comment until December 9, 2021. The study is the most in-depth look at the Lutsen Master Plan, the opportunities it offers and the impact it will have on the community and the environment. Lutsen Mountains is optimistic that areas of concern have been well addressed in the study and anticipate a decision in early 2022. If approved, initial trail expansion work is expected to begin in summer 2022. 

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