A Very Strong Spring, Chairs Are Flying off the Shelves, & Midwest Skiing in “Almost June”



What a Spring for the Midwest!

Well, I have to say, wow. This spring has been one for the record books. A couple of weeks ago, both Mount Bohemia and Lutsen Mountains stopped their lifts on Sunday, May 1st - marking a fantastic run, but the season wasn't over just yet.


A day later, I posted a wrap-up and congratulated both Lutsen and Boho on being the last in the Midwest to close, to which Lutsen messaged us with the cryptic message… "or has it. ;)"


Then just a few days later, they announced they would be spinning the lifts for one last day - Saturday, May 7th - marking the latest closure date in their history and likely one of the latest in the Midwest ever.


Congratulations to the crew over at Lutsen and Mother Nature, who, despite having some let's call it early season temper tantrums, came through for the spring season.


Wild Mountain Hosts "Leftovers Jam"

Another hill that came through was Wild Mountain. Immediately after closing on March 20th, their team got hard to work, pushing all of their snow left on Mainstage into a massive pile.


Then after weeks of sitting stagnant, the team got hard to work pushing it out in 60-degree weather for the Leftovers jam that was held on Saturday, May 7th.


We did a vlog video covering the entire process and jam, so be sure to check that out if you haven't already.

One Last Chance To Ski/Ride in "Almost June"

But we still aren't done, as we will have one final chance to be on snow this upcoming weekend, Saturday, May 21st. In what Tyrol is labeling their "Almost June Jam," they will be pushing out a pile they stashed right on Tobel for everyone to enjoy this Saturday.


And for those unaware, a June Jam is an event with a ton of history at Tyrol Basin. In 1993, Don McKay and his team got to work piling snow as high as they could and covered these piles with insolated tarps, courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers. Then in June, the Tyrol crew would move and shape a half-pipe out of the preserved snow.


The event was called the "Summer Snow Frolic," and snowboarders from around the country came to compete in the event. The event was a huge success and drew global attention to a small hillside in Wisconsin. The summer event would become an annual event that stretched through the early 2000s; however, they did skip the 1994 summer.


What a great way to honor some history over at Tyrol, and although it isn't officially June, I gotta them and huge cheers for this effort.


Noah Jackson = Diehard Midwest Snowboarder

This will likely be the last chance to be on snow for the season unless you are Noah Jackson - who also disserves massive cheers as well.


Noah is a diehard snowboarder that has now logged over 115 days and counting. Even though things have gotten a little rocky lately, he has spent the last few weeks hiking and snowboarding Granite Peak with no sign of stopping.


Huge props Noah and if GPs out of snow on Saturday - come on down to Tyrol Basin - I'll have a cold beer waiting for you!


I should also add a quick disclaimer that this is possible because Granite Peak is on state land. Please do not hike at ski hills without prior permission from management, as most in the Midwest are on private property.


NSAA Announced Most Skier Visits In History

And let's keep the toasting going as the industry had a massive reason to do that this past weekend. I was lucky enough to spend last weekend in Nashville for the National Ski Area Association's Nation Converfance, and what a great event it was! During this event, NSAA announced that we saw the highest number of skiers and riders in the sport's history, with 61 Million skier visits.


This number bested the old record by about half a million, which was set back during the 2010/2011 season! This is a great growth rate and is something the entire industry is excited about.


I also want to shout out to Greg Fisher and his team at Granite Peak for taking the NSSA's Marketing Award for Best Use of Video. Always great to see the Midwest represented at the national level.


There were many other data points and takeaways from this conference that we'll be covering in the coming weeks, so be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel so you don't miss any of those videos.


Summer Improvements are in Full Swing

Summer improvements are starting to pop up across the Midwest, including the construction of the seven new lifts we will be seeing this off-season.


Boyne Mountain cleared its lift line and received its towers from Austria this past week for D8, Caberfae began pouring up the footing for their East Peak Triple, and Cascade began dismantling the Mogul Monster Triple for the new unnamed quad.


Skiers/Riders Love Old Chairlifts!

In skiers and riders love to blow lots of money on old chairlift news, Boyne Mountain sold all of their Disciples chairs faster than that skier beelining to the 11 AM bar opening.


Okay, maybe not that fast, but in under four minutes, Boyne was able to sell one hundred and eighty chairs which netted over $100,000 that will be used to establish the Boyne Mountain Fund for Youth. The new fund is a partnership with the Charlevoix Community Foundation and is aimed to support projects and programs for local kids and teens.


And if you are still on the hunt for a chair, don't fret because you still have a few opportunities to pick up some chairlifts this offseason.


Powder Ridge will be auctioning off their Powder Puff double chairs starting on July 11th. And Cascade listed their Mogul Monster triple chairs earlier this week as well. Just hurry, as they will likely not be around for much longer.


Huff Hills Announces Off-Season Improvements

Our friends in North Dakota, Huff Hills, announced a few improvements they will be making over the summer, including re-working the lift line run and expanding their beginner's terrain. This expansion will almost double the size of their beginner's area, giving them much-needed learning terrain for their hill while creating a more safe environment for those beginner skiers and riders.


Whitecap Mountains Announces Off-Season Improvements

Another area upgrading this beginner's area is Whitecap Mountain. A couple of weeks ago, they announced several improvements that they will be making starting this off-season, including the renovation of their hotel rooms, a brand new base lodge, a brand new beginners area, and improvements to their parking facility.


These will be welcomed additions and renovations that come just a few years after a fire took the entire original lodge in January of 2019.

Midwest Ski Hills Hosting Summer Events

Along with improvements, many resorts across the Midwest are hosting various summer events, such as Music on The Mountain at Sundown, The Beer and Brat festival at Crystal Mountain, Brews and Tunes at Little Switz, and many more.


That said, check with your local hill and go out and support them! These events are a great way to spend your dollars to support the industry and are just a lot of fun. Maybe it's just me, but I'll take a beer, brat, and live music at a ski hill any time of the year.


Chesnut Announces Lift Access Mountain Biking

Another thing that is just pure fun is Mountain Biking, and Chestnut announced earlier last month that they would be adding lift access mountain biking starting later this summer.


They have teamed up with Path-find Trail Building and are currently working on the first phase of what will hopefully be a three-phase trial build. They expect to have the first phase completed later this summer but have not given an exact date.


Chestnut will join the likes of Spirit Mountain, Crystal Mountain, Giants Ridge, Boyne Highlands, Marquette Mountain, Little Switzerland, & Detroit Mountain - who all currently offer lift access Mountain biking.

IPOS II Hype!

And I want to wrap up just some per hype. A couple of days ago, I watched the first cut of the trailer for In Pursuit of Soul II, and I have to say - I was blown away… and this was just a minute and a half trailer.


As we edge a bit closer, we have a ton of content about the film, including behind-the-scenes stories, interviews with some of our team, and much more.


So although the season is wrapping up, Midwest skiers and riders have a ton to look forward to this off-season!


But there you have it, your fix of Midwest ski news from the past few weeks. If you want to check out our last episode, I will drop a link below. But until next time, I hope all of you have a great week, pray for snow, and I'll see you guys out there!


-Matthew