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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    On your tic list
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    346

    MN mags: school me on Lutsen

    Have to be in Bismarck, ND, sometime around Xmas and in Iowa City, IA, sometime around or just after New Year. Wife and I will need a week or partial week away from relatives and work--in the snow. Figured since we're already damn north, why not go Duluth? We're driving.

    Questions:

    1. Am I retarded to think we'll be able to stay anywhere near Lutsen during Xmas week? Is it a shitshow up there? We used to go to Taos during that week to avoid Colorado Xmas shitshow and never had any probs. What's the north coast like, people-wise, and cost-wise, that time off year?

    2. Also on the lodging front, do the mom and pop cabin joints stay open in winter? Interested in staying somewhere indoors but don't want to break the bank.

    3. Am I even thinking correctly? Duluth isn't exactly on the way from ND to IA, but it's at least the right direction (east) without overshooting. Is there someplace better in MN I'm missing? We want to have access to nordic in-track or BC touring (don't care which) and a lift-served day or three. From what I've read about MN, you can't swing a bag of dicks without hitting a guy in a Swix jumpsuit named Olie, so I figure the nordic side's pretty sewn up anywhere between Fargo and the Cities. Just thinking about those other days.

    4. What else am I not asking "abooot" that I should?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Moose, Iowa
    Posts
    6,937
    Tons of x-country on the North Shore and beautiful. If you're creative you might be able to scrape up some backcountry runs on a good year but its going to be flat and something you do just for kicks and giggles. Back in the day we skied powder outside the boundaries at Lutsen and some hills off the highway just south of there but it was more in the name of winter camping and exploring somewhere to down chilled beers than anything else.

    I live just north of Iowa City in CR and my wife works in Iowa City. We ski at Chestnut which is as good or better than anything within five hours of here. Lutsen is around a ten hour drive from here and not worth the drive imo since you can be in Summit County skiing A-Basin in twelve hours. When I lived in Minneapolis I quite liked Lutsen though and if you're up for the roadtrip I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

    Terry Peak in the black hills blows it all away.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    37ft above the hood
    Posts
    16,397
    ya skip lutsen and hit abasin- lutsen has no BC shit, pretty tame overall- if you are jsut going to xcross then it may be ok but downhilling is far from what is seen in CO
    Zone Controller

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    For now Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    12
    ya sur u betcha, Sven n Olie will be at Lutsen, in da bar fur sur.

    You'd be wise to bring every ounce of cold weather gear you own. Lutsen in winter ain't for sissies. Lodging reservations would be wise, too.

    Bring a swim suit cause most every place has a hot tub and sauna, you'll need it!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    339
    Quote Originally Posted by mtkaxtreme View Post
    You'd be wise to bring every ounce of cold weather gear you own. Lutsen in winter ain't for sissies.
    What this guy said. I went up there for a spring ski trip with my gf (from MN) and in December to see some family. Even in the spring, I froze my ass off. In December, well... lets just say I didnt leave the hot tub much.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Big Sky, MT
    Posts
    241
    Lutsen is easily the best place to ski in MN...but still doesn't compare to anything in Rockies especially when considering the drive time. If I read correctly and you're going to be in Bismarck...Red Lodge, MT would be your closest - and better snow. For xc though, the views from the North Shore and Lake Superior are hard to beat.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    393
    If you're going to be in Duluth, you might want to check out Spirit Mountain. It's a 700' vertical ski hill on the south end of town. It will be a lot easier to get to than Lutsen, which is about an hour north of town. I went to college in Duluth for a couple years and had season tickets to Spirit Mtn. I remember it being not that bad. The snow there is usually pretty good because it's so cold and sometimes it dumps big time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Moose, Iowa
    Posts
    6,937
    Spirit is flat though and not worth driving to from anywhere. Lutsen has some neat tree shots, some bumps, some good long rolling cruisers, lots of good lodging options. It's a nice little destination.

    The ski areas in Minneapolis aren't worth driving to either imo and only worth skiing if you live there.

    I forgot about the Red Lodge option. Paging mnflyfish.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    People's Republic of MN
    Posts
    5,461
    Quote Originally Posted by uglymoney View Post
    The ski areas in Minneapolis aren't worth driving to either imo and only worth skiing if you live there.
    ^^^This. Only if you are going to be there. It's certainly nothing to seek out. Terry Peak is a possible option, but snow cover there is hit & miss. Red Lodge has a high season, but I think it's late in the winter -- seems like they don't get a lot of early snow, but since I've never been there, I'm probably talking outta my ass.

    Lutsen is...okay. The runs are pretty good by midwest standards. Slowest, oldest, and worst lifts ON THE PLANET. Probably some of the first made. Add in the gaper quotient that stops the lift about every 5 chairs, and it usually just ends up pissing me off. They also charge like they're someone special - no f'in way it's worth $70+ dollars...
    Gravity. It's the law.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    2,182
    Quote Originally Posted by uglymoney View Post
    Spirit is flat though and not worth driving to from anywhere. Lutsen has some neat tree shots, some bumps, some good long rolling cruisers, lots of good lodging options. It's a nice little destination.

    The ski areas in Minneapolis aren't worth driving to either imo and only worth skiing if you live there.

    I forgot about the Red Lodge option. Paging mnflyfish.
    I was just about to post when I saw this. You can drive 5 hours to Lutsen and pay $50+ a day, stay in a condo for $250 a night, and ski solid ice, or...drive 13 hours to Red Lodge, stay in the Chatau Rouge for $100 a night, buy your tix at Costco in Billings for $32, and assuming a decent snow year get to ski Non-ice. Maybe even a little powder. Oh yeah and have a hell of a lot more fun!

    Or you can drive the opposite direction and hit the UP. I still think for your money Red Lodge is your best bet. Or PM me and I'll get you some comps in the Cities...it sucks but it's free.
    Five minutes into the drive and you're already driving me crazy...

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