Cold temperatures mean downhill year for Northland ski resort

By KBJR News 1

March 18, 2014 Updated Mar 18, 2014 at 6:35 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- The start of winter brought plenty of snow, with indications of a promising ski season. But winter turned nasty in a hurry bringing 65 days of below zero temperatures...keeping even the most intrepid skiers and snowboarders from hitting the slopes

"There's been just too many days that were too cold for people to be out here. We ended up having about seven days that we had to close for the day due to cold temperatures," said Briana Johnson, Director of Marketing for Spirit Mountain.

Spirit Mountain reports revenue down about 15 to 20 percent because of the polar vortex. As soon as temperatures hit above zero, the resort was busy again, but Johnson says the damage had already been done.

"unfortunately there's not enough window left to make up the lost ground for the ski season," said Johnson.

And the pain of that loss runs downhill. What hurts Spirit Mountain hurts the tourism economy.

"Spirit Mountain has a huge economic impact for the winter tourism market for Duluth," said Gene Shaw, Director of Public Relations for Visit Duluth.

Gene Shaw of Visit Duluth says Duluth worked hard to compensate for its unusually cold winter.

"There's a lot of other things to do, convention, hockey and everything else that goes on in Duluth. It's just part of the overall picture," said Shaw.

Spirit Mountain spokespeople say they know the resort has a significant impact on the regional economy and don't take decision to shut down lightly.

"We do have to keep an eye out for the safety of our guests,"said Johnson.

They're also keeping an eye out for a better winter next year.

Spirit Mountain says its summer adventure park makes up a large part of annual revenue and they're looking forward to a brisk summer business when the snow melts.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati
rmarnati@kbjr.com

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