2003 Number 7 Resort in the Midwest: Lutsen Mountains, Minn.


Lutsen is huge, triple the size of most other Midwest resorts. With 390 acres of skiable terrain, it's probably the best "pure" ski resort in the Great Lakes region. Boasting the finest fall-line skiing between Denver and Albany, it's charming, distinctive and unique for the Midwest. Lutsen's 986-foot vertical drop looms large over other Great Lakes ski resorts, and while most heartland areas ski off a single peak or ridge, Lutsen skis off four. "I could ski all day and not cross my own tracks," says a reader. With 88 runs, seven chairlifts, a surface tow and middle-America's only gondola, no other regional ski area comes close to matching its size. One reader comments: "Lutsen is an all-round great resort with tons of varied terrain. You never know what you'll find next." Lutsen received high marks for Scenery, Terrain and Challenge. From the top of Moose Mountain, Lake Superior fills the top half of the view and the ski runs the bottom half. The variety of rock-ribbed, birch- and aspen-lined trails will suit all skiers-from the steep, narrow chutes on Eagle Mountain to the wide, easy boulevards of Ullr and Mystery mountains to the long blue cruisers (and glades) on Moose. All of this is skiable well into spring. March is Lutsen's busiest month, surpassing even the Christmas season. The spring skiing is so good the resort guarantees 40 runs will be open or you can cancel your reservations with no penalty. Now, that is big.

WHAT'S NEW Expanded glade skiing on Moose Mountain off the Timberwolf lift.

A GOOD DEAL Online booking at www.lutsen.com. Get two nights' lodging and two lift tickets for $99 per adult (quad occupancy) or $119 per adult (double occupancy). Kids 12 and younger stay free, one per adult.

HIGH/LOW MW RANK Scenery (1), Terrain (2), Challenge (2); Grooming (20), Lifts (27), Access (31).

DON'T MISS The live music at Papa Charlie's nightclub at the mountain.

READER REMARKS (+) "Nice assortment of runs and great spring skiing; great views of Lake Superior."
(-) " Colddddddddd! Not much to do during the week."