New Runs for North Face of Moose Mountain
LUTSEN, Minnesota - The Plunge has stood alone as mid-America's steepest groomed run for the past 5 years. It now has company with two new runs on the Moose Mountain North Face to open for the 2013-14 season.
The cliff band on Moose Mountain that is prominent from the Lutsen gondola wraps nearly a half mile around the north face of the mountain. Within this distance there are only a few places where a narrow chute breaks the sheer cliff with a 90% grade, a pitch that could hold snow and be navigated by skis or snowboard. The Plunge was the first of these runs developed. Originally opened in 1994, it was maintained by hand grooming. This proved too inconsistent for reliable conditions and the run was closed in 1998. In 2008 a $250,000 groomer, a PB600 Winch Cat, was added to the Lutsen grooming fleet. The winch cat integrates an 4 ton power assist winch to basically yo-yo the groomer up and down a super-steep pitch and keep the cat from tumbling or sliding out of control. With the new technology, The Plunge was reopened, now with the option of regular grooming.
The two new runs are located between The Plunge and the gondola summit. One is very similar to The Plunge, dropping over a near vertical precipice before mellowing slightly in pitch. The other offers a more consistent grade, making it accessible to a wider range of expert skiers and not limited to the adrenaline junkies. Both runs are still classified as double-black-diamond, intended only for experts.
"We are thrilled to add this expert terrain," says Jim Vick, Marketing Director at Lutsen Mountains. "While only about 5% of our visitors will ride these trails, there is a mystique about a mountain that exceeds your ability. This is the stuff of legend. It sets goals for a future trip. And for those who successfully navigate the run, it provides stories for a lifetime."