Councilor Emily Larson talked about how much she and her children loved the Grand Avenue chalet. Learn More. When is the city going to wake up and sell the place? the ride “is expected to pay for itself quickly.” None of the city officials Spirit Mountain is considered some of the Best Skiing in Minnesota! employees have earned that’s going to have to be paid out. and replacement” account, which was to be used to maintain and upgrade existing If closed who is responsible for the bonding for the last 40 plus years? At the Duluth City Council’s The bailout—which She’s looking for the recreation area to earn more than $300,000 during fiscal year 2010-11. Council President Linda Krug said, “I’m always amazed at what you’re able to do at Spirit Mountain, and since I’ve gotten on the council, I have found myself to be one of your biggest cheerleaders … You do an admirable job, and it’s really wonderful.”. that are currently on the books that we’re responsible for.”. clear violation of the terms under which the city gave the ski area its $378,000 below the previous year. story short, the golf course project was eventually scrapped. legislation and handed it all to the DNT on a platter. support of Mayor Gary Doty, but was fiercely opposed by many in the community, Be sure to stop by our front desk for help with check in/out. Throwing more money into a sinking hole will not solve anything. Thompson Hill Information Center #8 of 71 things to do in Duluth 132 reviews. You’re delusional or insane! © 2019 Duluth Monitor. $100,000 snow gun subsidy was granted only seven weeks ago, on Oct. 14. She was also Today, however, Spirit Mountain is unable to cover the Spirit Mountain has been sinking granting an emergency bailout to Spirit Mountain. The hill did not qualify for federal coronavirus funding and members of the Duluth City Council felt this was their way of helping out. They never tried to verify any numbers. Best nearby. Renee fired me, because I told Renee and she fired me to keep this undercover. Instead, they City cuts tourism tax support for most, gives Spirit Mountain raise, City leaders fast-track Visit Duluth-DECC merger, County commissioners, employees allegedly self-screen for COVID, Better Futures Minnesota and St. Louis County offer house parts for sale, Electric bus pilot project reveals problems, City employees forbidden to speak with reporters at public meetings, City considers 87 percent stormwater utility rate increase over 6 years. “Bring on the slide.”. The good news is that we only have 13 more years of bond payments to In a unanimous vote Monday night the Duluth City Council decided to allocate funds towards helping Spirit Mountain open up come wintertime. Instagram Feed: Contact US. Need a great place to enjoy Duluth? Instead of hitting the stores on Black Friday, some chose to hit the slopes at Spirit Mountain on opening day. Mattson’s In reviewing the financial statements of that time, I found This includes operational support Troy Melhus is a nationally certified snowboard instructor and writer. It was founded by the City of Duluth and was built in 1974. Have you ever heard a hotel/motel complain about Spirit Mountain? Duluth Spirit Mountain Inn- Americas Best Value Inn. Politicians love to build things, and they generally That’s right: the News Tribune had the story because I gave it to them. including environmentalists and Native American groups. Today, we are beginning to sense an answer to this A bottom-of-the-hill chalet makes so much bottom-line sense: Why wasn’t it built forever ago? So my question is: Are we always going to approve them, no matter the amount, indefinitely? “Spirit Poor weather and a still-shaky economy double-teamed Spirit Mountain this year, said Renee Mattson …. project, wrote Myers, “already [had] the blessing of city officials and the Not so fast, says local blogger and Duluth taxi driver John Ramos. In Duluth, all you have to do is say something is true, and it is true. Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad #3 of 16 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Duluth Duluth.”. When was the last time Duluth had a new bona fide reason for visitors to scream, “We gotta go back there!” or “We gotta check that out!”? Spending two dollars and then having to spend two more. The next day, Oct. 9, 2009, the News Tribune published an editorial: The alpine coaster opened, and did quite well Adventure Park (alpine coaster, zipline, mini-golf) for four days a week; The project had the Spirit Mountain is known for having a large terrain park. The city and Spirit Mountain have attempted to address this problem, not by economizing and cutting back, but by expanding without restraint, in the belief that more attractions will draw more people. On June 18, 2008, Ms. Mattson and a bevy of The City of Duluth is spending millions each year on running golf courses and a ski hill. They had come out to try and save Spirit Mountain ski area from possible closure. Life of a Patroller by Epic Mountian Productions. looked at the books, she found that she had stepped into a financial nightmare: The Americas Best Value Inn Duluth Spirit Mountain Inn offers the most value for your money when staying for business, pleasure, or just passing through. Clyde Iron Works - Restaurant & Bar (184) Duluth has an international airport and it is only 14 miles away from the ski area. There will be more bailout requests, and probably sooner rather than later. cancel most of their three-day Snocross event, losing projected revenue. At all.”. It was founded by the City of Duluth and was built in 1974. The city has never been able to run anything. for the job, including William Junnilla, former president and co-owner of the Spirit Mountain in 2005. up numbers, you might as well make up good ones. During Renee Mattson’s tenure, the line of credit extended to Spirit Mountain grew from zero in 2005 to $1.2 million in 2014, where it remains today. That [West Duluth] corridor is going to open up like you wouldn’t My Dad was a wise man! 9500 Spirit Mountain Pl, Duluth, MN 55810-2098. Undoubtedly, all the councilors who approve this bailout will wholeheartedly believe that this is the magic payment which will solve all their problems, at last. Follow us on Instagram! the $2 million was going to come from, merely quoting Mattson as saying that answers no questions, interviews no people and borrows its pictures from Spirit Mountain is a ski area in Duluth, Minnesota. Check In â / â / â. The park includes jumps ranging from 15 feet (4.6 m) to over 60 feet (18 m), and numerous rails, boxes, and other "jibs". 9315 Westgate Blvd, Proctor, MN 55810-2127. Local businessman Manley Goldfine served as Chairman of the Spirit Mountain Authority during its development. Email. To reiterate: Spirit Mountain needs $235,000, or they’re closing next week. It was built to capture the stunning vistas of the grounds, St. Louis River and city of Duluth. If the city is always standing by with a safety net, Spirit Mountain is free to expand without consequence.  The idea was proposed by former Olympian George Hovland, who laid out the cross country trails, with support from then Mayor of Duluth Ben Boo. repair-and-replacement fund for operational expenses, and they also wanted to Has any investigation looked into this claim? Spirit Mountain is a ski area in Duluth, Minnesota. 52 Restaurants within 5 miles. alpine coaster loan payment. short, both in length and on facts. My concern, after following Spirit Mountain closely for a decade, is that there seems to be no upper limit to what the city will contribute. The magic of Spirit Mountain comes from the breathtaking views of Lake Superior combined with a dedicated team whose mission is to make weddings and special events exceptional. Best nearby. Three weeks earlier, Read Reviews of Spirit Mountain. Learn More. Renee and one or two others also got 5% of sales from the coaster added to their salary. that seemed to involve actual reportage? Neither the mayor nor any There’s no public money—a.k.a. price/night: $62 7.7 Good 529 reviews The inn is easy to access from any location in Duluth. On June 20, 2010, the News Tribune published another editorial: “Alpine Coaster is Spirit Mountain will build a 12,000-square-foot, nearly $7 million chalet at the bottom of the mountain, along Grand Avenue … [The] existing chalet is at the top of the mountain, with access from the Proctor area and Skyline Parkway. As of 11/17/20 smoking is not allowed indoors or within 20 feet of any entrance. into a financial hole for a long time. She has never been a reckless expansionist like Mattson, preferring to focus on marketing and maintenance more than the creation of new goodies. âŚ less.” The monthly loan payment was $17,767, which Mattson assured the board To my knowledge, no data exists to pinpoint the exact amount of tourism tax that is generated that way, but yes: Proponents of Spirit Mountain identify that as a primary reason for subsidizing Spirit Mountain. NEW SELLING PROCEDURE -See Below. Campground; Campground Map A thousand dollars in the red? picture of a guy in shorts and sunglasses sailing through a forest in a plastic city councilors were asked for comment. In 2011, when the Alpine Coaster begins year-round operations, 65,000 rides are projected …. Duluth’s latest tourist attraction to keep ‘em coming back.”, Our latest attraction is unlike any of its predecessors, making it even more gotta-check-it-out desirable to tourists and to Twin Ports-area residents alike … Hotels are scarfing up 10-packs to resell or to give to guests. If you can watch the “press conference” and view Ms. Ream telling her pitch, I love the subtle tossing of sand-in-everyone-in-Duluth’s-faces how they are all wearing custom embroidered Spirit Mountain logo jackets so they really look like a winning team. We offer clean spacious rooms with in-room Wi-Fi, free deluxe continental breakfast, complimentary coffee in our lobby, fitness center, and game room. The Moosehead sits on the top level of the Spirit Mountain Upper Chalet high above the ceremony site and hillside. further into the financial abyss, the media asked no hard questions. On Jan. 21, 2010, the Spirit Mountain board approved about a half-million-dollar deficit being erased so quickly? It doesn’t matter what seat you’re sitting in on the Titanic. Ream said, “That means we are locking the doors. Mountain predicts profit on alpine coaster,” they announced happily. Visitors and locals alike will ride again and again …, This proposal fits. And the Council wants to close 9 holes at Lester Park because between both courses, it lost $100K??? Planning for the next phase of expansion, which will double the size Season Passes, Daily Ticket specials and more are now on sale! ride more than once,” the DNT deliriously reported on opening day. of the Nordic Center, continues even as Spirit Mountain struggles to make He contends the $225,000 fund, fueled with proceeds from the city’s tourism tax, was expressly earmarked to pay for repairs and equipment. Thank you for this article. tax money—in the Alpine Coaster, but that’s unlikely to prevent some naysayers from grumbling about how much it’ll cost them. From the top of the mountain, enjoy the slopes and the view, of the shoreline city lights of Duluth below. building more attractions—a zip line, a tubing hill, mini-golf. The story was accompanied by a large full-color Who won’t be eager to plunk down a measly eight bucks to whisk 750 feet downhill, achieving speeds of up to 26 mph? Nestled in a forest on the western high point of Duluth, Minnesota, Spirit Mountain Campground offers walk-in tenting as well as 73 campsites equipped with fire pits, picnic tables and electricity. sense.” They did not ask a single question about the risks of a $40 million runs. Black Woods Grill & Bar Proctor (258) 1.5 mi $$ - $$$ American. When they  It greatly increased winter revenues in the city. Personally I would love to see an outside audit of the operations and what the mountain brings to Duluth. Great value for the money. This is budget dust in the big picture folks. IMHO it will forever need tourism dollars to survive. In 2011 and 2012, Spirit Mountain charged ahead with failed to ask how the consultants had determined which ideas “made financial All right reserved. asking Duluthians for a penny.”, On Oct. 8, 2009, the News Tribune published a front-page, above-the-fold story But failure doesn’t seem likely—not as long as we and our vacationing visitors keep the phones ringing and the … receptionist hopping at Spirit Mountain. Weirdly, this was not a photo of a Duluth Spirit Mountain Inn - Americas Best Value. was “very do-able.”. Special Offers at Spirit Mountain Villas. With great Perks and on mountain discounts, Spirit Mountain Season Passes are your ticket to Adventure! Didn’t anybody at the News Tribune find anything unusual The News Spirit Mountain is a premiere ski and snowboard destination located in northern Minnesota. Every Spirit Mountain bailout request is rubber-stamped through the Council by overwhelming majorities. The good news is that we only have five more years of People hoped she could heal the wounds wrought by consultants unveiled a master plan for Spirit Mountain. Share. Improvements planned over the next ten years include chalet renovations, chair lift replacement, and a chalet on Grand Avenue, where a Nordic Ski Center is to open in 2017. 1.5 km from Spirit Mountain. Tribune. this. Best Western Plus Spirit Mountain Duluth Opens in new window Duluth Show on map 5.6 miles from center Featuring an indoor pool and a fitness center, the Best Western Plus Spirit Mountain Duluth is 1 mile from skiing at Spirit Mountain. Getting Here. The 2020 Ski Swap ! For a front-page story, the article was curiously Your email address will not be published. with the DNT. Snow job: How Duluth was sold on Spirit Mountain, Officials seek home for harbor dredge material. undertaking. If the City Council approves this money, it should be agreed that it will be the last money that will be given to this project. To reduce expenses, Ream closed the Spirit Mountain that didn’t have any fawning praise in it. Construction could begin as soon as spring, and the new ride could be open by midsummer — but only if the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission and City Council sign off this month. The rooms are clean and comfortable. realistic.” That’s what Renee Mattson said, and Renee Mattson’s word was gold That is the message we are sending. On March 6, 2010, something incredible happened: The News Tribune published a story about $225,000 tourism tax allocation. are not in office long enough to have to answer for the consequences of their These Seems people already forget the multi-million dollar water system that in reality will never be paid off. In the 21st century, Spirit Mountain has been renovating and adding to its infrastructure and attractions. The background was in marketing; she had worked as director of sales and operations on the alpine coaster ($145,700), lease payments on the snowmaking guns Spirit Mountain wanted to dip into its paid back. 2018, an additional $1 million city subsidy helped construct the first phase of 12 Other Attractions within 5 miles. Renee Mattson was hired as executive director of The breakfast buffet is average for such and could use some updating but was certainly sufficient. Back in who supposedly blessed the project were identified. Spirit Mountain achieve a goal, it was absolutely horrible journalism. chalet on Grand Avenue, new chair lifts, a new tubing hill, an alpine coaster, In a packed, tension-filled Duluth City Council chambers last December, a handful of city residents came up to the podium to speak. If you’re going to make Thank you. I worked at SMRA and that was the program for managers. She was a tool. starting with a fifteen-year loan that we fully plan to pay off in ten or Work began on downhill mountain bike trails during the summer of 2012. daily newspaper. days a week; and closed the scenic chairlift rides and mountain bike trails for In April 2011 they announced plans to add a zip line, miniature golf, and snow tubing to expand operations and attract more visitors in summer. The stainless steel track ride, the first of its kind in the Midwest, is…an investment that could quickly be recouped via ticket sales. For years, everybody thought Spirit Mountain was doing great, because nobody bothered to check. The News Tribune’s breathless optimism worked its magic on the populace. Save. “This is going to be a great thing for us and for all of initially, as most amusement park attractions do. city leaders are concerned. “Enticing,” “promising,” “sound,” “a thrill”—the DNT I would lose my job after Renee grabbed an employee and that employee came to me to have Renee written up. Duluth Tourism; Duluth Hotels; Duluth Bed and Breakfast; Duluth Holiday Rentals; Duluth Packages; Flights to Duluth; Duluth Restaurants; Duluth Attractions; Duluth Travel Forum; Duluth Photo; Duluth Map; Duluth Guide Of course, doing this meant Spirit Mountain would no Sadly, the tax was made to support tourism and in 1973 when SM started Duluth was dead. Spirit Mountain’s revenues for the year were running $459,000 below budget and turned out to be amazing timing. Stay 7 consecutive nights and one weekend night is FREE! question. Lutsen Mountains ski resort, a successful four-season destination. As late as April 28, 2014, when Renee Mattson spoke before the City Council during Spirit Mountain’s annual budget hearing, she was showered with praise. facilities. Mountain wants to shuffle cash for expenses,” the article pointed out that Last night’s 8-1 vote in favor of the $235,000 was entirely typical. A week later, the inevitable editorial cartwheeled The city has been paying it since 2014, at a rate Spirit Mountain is bigger than it looks â it's a big deal. Mattson left Spirit Mountain in June of 2014, which About Spirit Mountain. In return for this With the current rise in COVID-19 cases, Spirit Mountain Casino is implementing the temporary safety measure of âŚ “We are not in a position to be able to have these They did ask Mattson if the city was going to be asked to the city steps in with $235,000, they will only be able to make payroll for one closed the Grand Avenue Chalet (bar, restaurant, banquet facilities) for four Mattson also had the support of Mayor Herb Bergson, the top of the hill, this was one of the reasons given. Because that is the kind of open-ended promise that leads people to make poor business decisions, such as spending capital maintenance money to build an alpine coaster. 68,433 were here. Reality of life is we could say the same with all subsidized attractions: DECC, zoo, Blue Bridge, Aquarium, golf courses, parks, Grandma’s Marathon, and the list goes on. The money came from the revenue from the ski hill, NOT the bond money which ran dry. onto the scene. According to Spirit Mountain Executive Director Brandy Ream, the recent blizzard had forced the ski hill to cancel most of their three-day Snocross event, losing projected revenue. Duluth Tourism; Duluth Hotels; Bed and Breakfast Duluth; Duluth Holiday Rentals; Flights to Duluth; Duluth Restaurants; Duluth Attractions; Duluth Travel Forum; Duluth Photos; Duluth Map; Duluth Guide; All Duluth Hotels; Duluth Hotel Deals; Last Minute Hotels in Duluth City Councilor (in the March 19 story) to 65,000 three months later. Tribune returned to their public-relations role on March 19, 2010. The Executive Director Brandy Ream, the recent blizzard had forced the ski hill to Ever since the Spirit Mountain Recreation Area was Email. what they wrote? Click here To See if My Stuff Sold . 9500 Spirit Mountain Pl, Duluth, MN 55810-2098. Itâs worth driving across two states to have a great time. project who was quoted was Renee Mattson. entitled “Duluth gets wild ride.” Written by veteran reporter John Myers, the councilors are almost certain to approve—will bring Spirit Mountain’s total 9500 Spirit Mountain Pl, Duluth, MN 55810-2098. Duluthian or anything in Duluth, but a promotional photo lifted from the If you came up with an idea to make money, you got 5%. contribute to the project, and happily reported Mattson’s reply: “We are not Another note, what is the cost to be a Union Shop there? The recreation area and its consultants spent the winter examining which ideas made financial sense, which would increase revenue and what upgrades are needed. This is in addition to the annual tourism tax which Spirit Mountain receives, which increased from $225,000 to $975,700 in the same period (see graph). It’s time this property is sold to a private party. 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