26 Feb Skiing in a Snowstorm at Lutsen Mountains
The snow was pelting my eyes. Shielding my face, I struggled to see and attempted to make it down the hill upright. I wasn’t crying, but that didn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face and creating a thin layer of ice on my rosy cheeks.
“What happened to you?” Micah laughed as I puttered to the bottom of the hill—thankfully, I was still standing on two skis and didn’t roll in like tumbleweed.
We were on a ski trip at Lutsen Mountains, and the weather had just turned from dull grey skies to a full-blown snowstorm. I didn’t have goggles, and after that last run, it was quite clear that a purchase must be made if we wanted to continue our day on the slopes.
Luckily, we were right by the chalet, so inside we went and several minutes later we were back at it—this time with full on eyesight.
The weather kept the slopes a ghost town for the majority of the day. After a chat with one of the chairlift operators, we learned that there were only a couple dozen people braving the whiteout conditions.
That meant, with four mountains and 95 runs to pick from, we barely ran into anyone the entire day. Not that it would have mattered anyways…at times the snow was so heavy that we could hardly see each other!
Lutsen Mountains is the largest ski resort in the Midwest, and it just so happens to be located around 4 hours north of our apartment in St. Paul, Minnesota. Since we had never visited the resort in the winter before, we knew the situation had to be rectified, and we planned a midweek trip to check it out.
We love staying at the Eagle Ridge Resort right at Lutsen Mountains (we’ve stayed a couple of times in the summer), but visiting in the winter and having a ski-in, ski-out room was an entirely different experience. Being able to hop on the slopes practically right out your door is a perk I could get used to. Oh, and the fireplace is infinitely more attractive in the winter than it is in the summer!
With so many runs to choose from and near blizzard conditions to deal with, we didn’t even come close to skiing every run. We decided to focus on two of the mountains and save the other two for our next visit because we knew hopping around too much would waste more time than we had. With only a quick stop for lunch and a coffee break, we spent almost the entire day on the slopes.
When we realized we didn’t have enough time to ride the gondola and ski back down, we decided we had to at least hop on for a scenic ride to the top of Moose Mountain before it closed for the day. Because of the snowstorm, the views were definitely lacking, but it was entertaining to go for a ride in the brand new gondolas that were just installed this season.
The only aspect of our trip that we were frustrated about was that the runs are only open until 4:00 p.m. I can understand they need to close at sunset as the hills don’t have lights, but we just didn’t want to be done skiing for the day!
After it was time to return our skis, we made our way back to the lodge to peel off the layers and layers of thermal clothing that we were wearing. Long johns and layers are necessary when skiing in temperatures that fall on the negative side of the Fahrenheit scale. Since it was too early to grab dinner, we relaxed in our room, and I may have taken the opportunity to sneak in a little catnap.
We knew it was time for food when our bellies started grumbling and the sun was long gone. While the entire resort is pretty dead during the week, Wednesday night is singer/songwriter night at Papa Charlie’s, an onsite restaurant/bar. With it being a quick 5-minute walk from our room, we made our way there and settled in to have some grub and listen to live music.
The music was impressive, but we were too exhausted to stay for the entire show; plus, the fireplace back in our cabin was calling our name loud and clear. So, instead we made our way back through the frigid cold temperatures and snuggled up for the night.
When we woke up the next morning, we couldn’t help but laugh. The skies were blue, the sun was shining and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful day. As we packed our bags, we both silently wished that we had booked our trip one day into the future. That is, until we stepped outside and got whipped with a wind so cold it took our breath away. It may have been a blizzard the day before, but at least it wasn’t -25ºF with bone chilling winds!
Have you ever been skiing? Where’s your favorite place to hit the slopes?