News

New gondola up and running at Lutsen Mountains

Abby Fincel


Attendees to the Gondola Dedication Ceremony ride the new gondola to the top of Moose Mountain to watch the ribbon cutting and hear remarks from a couple key speakers on December 18. 
Staff photo/Abby Fincel Attendees to the Gondola Dedication Ceremony ride the new gondola to the top of Moose Mountain to watch the ribbon cutting and hear remarks from a couple key speakers on December 18. Staff photo/Abby Fincel A well-timed snowfall on Wednesday, December 16 set the scene for the Gondola Dedication Ceremony that took place two days later on Friday, December 18. Snow and ice, several inches thick, slid by beneath the signature red cars as the crowd of excited visitors enjoyed their first ride on the new gondola. Windows extending around each car’s circumference afforded a great view of snow-covered ski hills and Lake Superior.

The dedication included a ribbon cutting ceremony, welcome and introductions from Linda Kratt, executive director from Visit Cook County, and remarks from several key speakers. A theme throughout the ceremony was the value of Lutsen Mountains to Cook County’s economy and the new gondola’s significance for skiers who will appreciate its increased efficiency as well as for the success of the resort.


Dignitaries, Lutsen Mountains staff and representatives from Visit Cook County gather for the ribbon cutting. (L-R) Katie Willard of Visit Cook County, Howard Hedstrom with the Cook County Chamber, Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux, Senator Tom Bakk, Commissioner Mark Phillips from IRRRB, co-president of Lutsen Mountains Charles Skinner, and executive director Linda Kratt from Visit Cook County gather on the gondola platform on Moose Mountain. 
Staff photos/Abby Fincel Dignitaries, Lutsen Mountains staff and representatives from Visit Cook County gather for the ribbon cutting. (L-R) Katie Willard of Visit Cook County, Howard Hedstrom with the Cook County Chamber, Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux, Senator Tom Bakk, Commissioner Mark Phillips from IRRRB, co-president of Lutsen Mountains Charles Skinner, and executive director Linda Kratt from Visit Cook County gather on the gondola platform on Moose Mountain. Staff photos/Abby Fincel “Lutsen Mountains’ success is critical to the economy of Cook County,” said Kratt. “And we are here today not only to dedicate the most recent investment of the gondola, but to thank owners Charles [Skinner] and Tom [Rider] for their leadership, and their investments.”

Charles Skinner, co-president of Lutsen Mountains, spoke next, thanking several key contributors and outlining both the iconic and economic value of the previous, 25-year-old gondola and that of the new one.


Riding the new gondola for the first time, the group enjoys the great view as the car makes its way to the top of Moose Mountain. Riding the new gondola for the first time, the group enjoys the great view as the car makes its way to the top of Moose Mountain. “It was the first and only gondola in the Midwest,” Skinner said of the first gondola. “25 years later today, we are replacing that icon with a new gondola as vastly faster and supremely comfortable.”

Skinner also noted that the new technology, including the six-person chairlift on Moose Mountain, new snowmaking machines, and more, means better service for skiers and other Cook County visitors and will continue to draw in business for the community.

“Like the gondola 25 years ago, these improvements are once again transforming the ski experience of Lutsen. This means thousands of new visitors to Cook County. It means more spending at local resorts, retailers and it means more high paying jobs for residents.”

Senator Tom Bakk and his wife Laura Bakk followed Skinner and presented a proclamation from Governor Mark Dayton marking December 18, 2015 as Lutsen Gondola Grand Opening Day.

“Now therefore, I Mark Dayton, governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim Friday, December 18, 2015 as Lutsen Gondola Grand Opening Day, and in witness whereof I have here unto . . . caused the great seal of Minnesota to be affixed at the capitol this 17th day of December,” Mrs. Bakk read from the proclamation.

Mark Phillips, Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) commissioner also said a few words, thanking several key contributors to the gondola, including co-presidents Skinner and Tom Rider and their families. Afterward, both Senator Bakk and Commissioner Phillips were presented with miniature gondola cars.

Upon the ceremony’s conclusion, guests, cold but clearly excited about Lutsen Mountains’ latest addition, rushed into Summit Chalet to warm up, get some coffee, and personally congratulate Skinner, Lutsen Mountains’ staff and other contributors on the latest addition to Lutsen Mountains.


Click here for digital edition
2015-12-26 digital edition


Special sections:


Meet the Class of 2018


Spring Home Improvement

SPECIAL SECTION ARCHIVE



Copyright 2009-2018 Cook County News Herald, All Rights Reserved