Owner of Lutsen Mountains & Granite Peak to Purchase Michigan's Big Snow Resort (Blackjack & Indianhead)
This afternoon, the Skinner family announced the purchase of Big Snow Resort in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in a press release. Big Snow Resort consists of two resorts, Blackjack and Indianhead, across over 1,000 acres of private land. This news comes just six months after the Skinner family took sole ownership of Lutsen Mountains in January of this year.
The two resorts are located in "Big Snow Country," adequately named as the area typically receives 200-inch averages annually. Indianhead was the first ski resort built in this region of Michigan, while Blackjack is the most recent ski area built in 1977. Unfortunately, as many Midwesterners know, these resorts need a massive reinvestment as most of the infrastructure has not been updated in several decades. And the Skinner family is the perfect fit for the task.
"We are thrilled that these two historical, Upper Michigan ski areas, known for their prodigious powder snow, will be joining our legendary family of resorts in Minnesota and Wisconsin," stated Charles Skinner. "The current owner and his excellent staff have done a terrific job honoring the legacy of Indianhead and Blackjack and combining them into the largest ski area in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We intend to build upon this work by investing in new lifts, snowmaking, and base area infrastructure at Big Snow soon."
As many know, Charles Skinner reinvented Rib Mountain into what we now know as Granite Peak. It's hard to believe that just over 22 years ago, Rib Mountain boasted just 12 runs and a couple of chairlifts. But, Charlies saw what the ski area could be and dedicated the time and money to make it happen. By 2017 he would reinvest over 36 Million dollars and turn Granite Peak into a true destination resort and Wisconsin's largest ski hill.
I think the Skinner family is the perfect match for Blackjack and Indianhead and cannot wait to see what changes they make in the coming years.
The Skinner family is purchasing the ski areas from Art Dumke, who has owned Blackjack since 2009 and bought and merged Indianhead into Big snow in 2014. "I would first like to say how grateful we are to the many awesome employees, skiers, and community members who we've had the privilege of serving and working with the past many years," stated Art Dumke, owner of Big Snow Resorts. "I'm also pleased that the new ownership has so much expertise in operating premium Midwest ski areas and is vested in improving the ski area for skiers, employees, and the community."
The Skinner Family plans to retain all Big Snow Resort's current employees as part of the acquisition. "Art has told us great things about the current staff, and we look forward to working with the entire team on this exciting new chapter for this legendary resort," explained Charlotte Skinner. "The current management team will enjoy support from our management teams at Lutsen and Granite Peak, and our goal is always to be the best employer in the region."
Overall, this is a big step forward for the Upper Peninsula, an area that has been plagued by deferred maintenance and reinvestment. However, given Charles Skinner's record with both Granite Peak and Lutsen, I feel Big Snow is in great hands, and the future is bright. The closing, subject to financing and due diligence completion, is expected to occur by the end of July.
Midwestskiers.com has several videos and additional content surrounding the purchase, so be sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel, so you don't miss any of those videos!
PS: They also announced Lutsen Mountains will be getting a new highspeed six pack next summer (ready for 2023/24 season) to replace their Bridge Chair... more on that later, too much excitement for one day!