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Chestnut, Spirt, Lutsen and Welch

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

While visiting family and friends over the holidays, I squeezed 5 days of skiing in across the upper Midwest.  I don’t get back to the Midwest to ski much anymore and I forgot how much fun these smaller areas can be.  Despite skiing at over 20 Midwest ski areas, I had never been to any of these before.

 

Day 1: Chestnut

Chestnut was 100% open and skied well but I was generally disappointed.  Runs were long which was good for the blues but the blacks were steep for only a short distance.  In the region, I still like Cascade better but Chestnut is clearly better than Alpine or Wilmot. 

 

Overview from 3/4 of the way up

The steepest run Apachie

From near the bottom

 

 

Day 2: Spirit

I was impressed with Spirit.  Runs were pretty long for the Midwest and several were decently steep.  Spirit has big vertical for the Midwest but only the middle 400 of vert is steep, which is still impressive.  The only downside was the freezing fog and the High Speed Quad was closed for unknown reasons.  In the region, Lutsen and the Ironwood, MI ski areas are better but not by as much as you might think.

 

Day 3 & 4: Lutsen

I was very impressed with Lutsen and IMO it’s the best all around ski area in the Midwest.  It’s the biggest, the 2nd tallest, has all run types and has gorgeous views of lake superior and the surrounding wilderness.  Lutsen has the longest groomers (800’ vert) ranging from mellow to steep.  It also has a lot of glade runs and good natural snow to cover them.  There are only a few areas in the UP of MI with more snow and only Bohemia (and maybe whitecap) have better expert skiing.  Lodging is basic and there isn’t a major town nearby but that was fine with me.  It was unusually cold while we were there so I wasn’t able to take many pictures.

 

Great views on the drive up 


Mystery mountain (one of 4 mountains at Lutsen)

The steep groomers on Eagle mountain.  Not as steep as Boyne Mountain but close

Long runs with great views on Moose Mountain

 

Day 5: Welch

Welch is very good urban ski area (much better than those by Chicago or Detroit) but still a clear step down from the best Midwest ski areas.  Lots of runs and several steep ones.  The new “back bowl” area has short and narrow runs which is fun for a little variety

 

post #2 of 11

Beautiful Picture of Mystery Mountain!   Send that one to Lutsen they might use it somehow...

post #3 of 11

Lutsen is the gem of Minnesota skiing.  It was a nasty reputation of being bitterly cold so its not very crowded.  Mouse mountain has some great runs and I could easily spend the entire trip just on that open mountain.  I'm a member at Welch and I think its the best option near the twin cities even if it is over an hour drive for me.  The back bowl is a bit of a joke though.  Steep, narrow and short do not make enjoyable skiing.

post #4 of 11

I was at Chestnut Dec 21 + 22, it being about an hour from my parents house this is where we usually do our pre-holidays family skiing. It dumped 4 inches of powder the night of the 21st, which was a treat.

post #5 of 11

Nice pics!

 

There are some nice steeper runs on Eagle mtn than the ones you show, though, back around to the left as you look up the slope.   And there's really steep stuff off the back of Moose (e.g., "The Plunge"), but from what I'm told the long cat track out from the bottom of them is kind of a downer.

post #6 of 11

Slow,  The rush you get from skiing the Plunge is enough to power the cat track back until around to the face of Moose.   I'm excited to ski the new trials, as they're much closer to the front side of moose and should have less than half the cat track that the Plunge does.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 

Slow,  The rush you get from skiing the Plunge is enough to power the cat track back until around to the face of Moose.   I'm excited to ski the new trials, as they're much closer to the front side of moose and should have less than half the cat track that the Plunge does.


No problem believing that for you it's a rush.   For me it would be a trip to the hospital :eek.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowObstacle View Post
 

Nice pics!

 

There are some nice steeper runs on Eagle mtn than the ones you show, though, back around to the left as you look up the slope.   And there's really steep stuff off the back of Moose (e.g., "The Plunge"), but from what I'm told the long cat track out from the bottom of them is kind of a downer.

Yeah, we did all the runs on Eagle and they're fun but not top level steep IMO.  Plunge haden't opened yet but looked pretty cool.

post #9 of 11

I honestly think I had more fun skiing Eagle than Moose the 1 time I've been to Lutsen.  Some of those runs are just so much fun...   Moose is good as well, but a little more so-so as far as it's run go, but longer.    The high speed 6 pack on Moose is going to be awesome.   They just need a high speed quad on Eagle now and they'll be all set.

post #10 of 11

The eagle chair is fairly recent but it came via Vail.  I liked Moose a lot more with the longer runs and view of the lake.  The black diamonds aren't that steep compared to Eagle but when we were there the snow was better.  Eagle got really icy.  

post #11 of 11

Yeah, Eagle has that fairly nice triple that goes from the base area to the top which is nice for right when you get there or after lunch.   The two lifts at the bottom are ancient center pole doubles that get very crowded on weekend days.   That triple is almost never crowded as most people ski all the way to the bottom each time.

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