It’s unbelievable that just a few short weeks ago the entire ski area was covered in a snow depth we hadn’t seen this late in April and now I look out and see green grass sprouting up. Even with the Polar Vortex and some bitter cold days we recorded our second longest season at 81 days of operation, our highest season visit total of over 43,350, and a single day visit record of 2,228 on December 30th. All told, that makes for a lot of happy skiers, snowboarders, tubers, Nordic skiers, snowshoers, and Fat bikers.
Also of note is our developmental race program which grew to over 90 participants in just its’ fourth season. These young skiers are the future of our sport whether pursuing a competitive career in skiing or simply developing a skill and passion for a lifelong recreational sport. Detroit Mountain hosts one race each season and provides opportunity for racers to travel to neighboring ski areas in the state. Next season’s home race is January 11th. Mark your calendar and plan to witness a great event. The coaches, parent volunteers, employees, and sponsors are the secret to the success. And, of course the passion and excitement of our young skiers.
The Ski Angel Scholarship Program continues to grow and open access to our winter activities. Partnering with the Detroit Lakes Boys and Girls Club, Detroit Lakes School District, Becker County Health and Human Services, and the Lakes Crisis and Resource Center to identify children and families, Detroit Mountain matches donor directed funds to provide season passes, daily outings, equipment, lessons, and meals to those who may not have the opportunity or financial means. Through the entire season Detroit Mountain and our generous donors provided over $25,000 in services to over 650 recipients.
Our volunteer Ski Patrol continues to provide the invaluable service of medical aide, risk management, and area support. They arrive before we open to the public and sweep the hill after closing. Each of the 30 plus ski patrol members volunteer well over 100 hours a season with required training and shift coverage. If you know a ski patrol member please offer a sincere thank you for their dedication and service.
We understand that as the weather warms excitement for trails to open increases. Downhill trails, lift service, and bike rentals remain firm for a Memorial Day weekend opening. Please keep an eye on our social media as the cross country trails will likely open before Memorial weekend. Summer trail passes are on sale so purchase now and be ready when the gates open. Also watch for an announcement on weekly family group ride events lead by members of the Lakes Area Mountain Bike Alliance and Trails group.
I hope everyone is well aware of the MN Parks and Trails Legacy Grant that was awarded over a year ago. Planning, preparation, and development have progressed to the point where we will see construction begin this summer and continue into the spring of next year on the parking and landscape improvements in the tubing area, an interactive natural play area, and additional bike trails. We invite you to follow the progress on our website under the DM updates section or stop out for a visit.
Lastly, there are lots of activities going on this summer and fall. Again we are proud to host another MN Mtn Bike Series race on June 2, with categories for all ages and abilities. We were also chosen to host our second high school mountain bike race which will be the first weekend in October and will bring over 1000 racers and their families to town. Our largest fundraiser and signature event, Music on the Mountain with COLE SWINDELL is July 6th. The Subaru Ojibwe Forest Rally will be headquartering at Detroit Mountain August 21st-24th and the Kiwanis Blues, Beer, and BBQ event has moved to September 21st. Other events like craft beer tasting and a fall trail run are in the planning stages.
Again, thank you for a great 5th Anniversary winter season, thank you to our many winter employees, volunteers, donors, passholders, and supporters. It’s a pleasure to continue to care for and grow your mountain!
Jeff Staley, GM