Spirit Mountain, Minn.: Rank 5 West of Lake Michigan, 1998

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For a metropolitan ski area, Spirit Mountain doesn't give anything away in terms of location and scenery. As one reader puts it, "There are beautiful views of Lake Superior, and it's close to Duluth for good dining and lodging." Located 5 minutes from downtown Duluth, this may be the best night skiing view in America. The twinkling lights of the city, the harbor and Superior, Wis., across the bay, are breathtaking. The skiing doesn't take a back seat, either, especially if you enjoy long intermediate cruisers. Spirit's 700-foot vertical drop is big by Midwestern standards, but it lacks steep terrain. You'll find novice skiers and riders all over the mountain. The trails on the advanced side of Spirit are cut through the woods, giving them a New England feel.

What's New A bubble has been added to Minnesota's only high-speed quad.
A Good Deal When two adults stay midweek at participating lodges, they receive two passes for skiing at Spirit.
High/Low Rank Scenery (2), Après-Ski (4); Grooming (19), Lifts (19).
Don't Miss Exploring the historic port city of Duluth. It's built into a steep slope that rises 800 feet above Lake Superior. Check out the Scenic Cafe on Scenic North Shore Highway 61 (immortalized by Minnesota native Bob Dylan).