About us

Lutsen Ski Area has been family-owned and operated since it was founded in 1948 by George Nelson. The ski area was purchased by ski area pioneer Charlie Skinner in the 1980s. In the 1990s, his son and son-in-law, Charles Skinner and Tom Rider, purchased the ski area. That's 74 years of family ownership and operation: 32 years by the Nelson family and (as of 2022) 42 years by the Skinner/Rider family.

Today, Lutsen Mountains is solely owned and operated by Charles Skinner.

Management Team


Owner & President, Lutsen Mountains Corporation

Charles has been integral to several important county-wide economic projects including the Cook County Economic Analysis Council, the Cook County Events Bureau, the Cook County Visitors Bureau, Cook County Chamber of Commerce, and has served as chairman of each organization. His newest endeavor is a state-wide ski areas association - Minnesota Ski Areas Association - for which he is the board chair. Prior to this, he spearheaded a local environmental initiative, the Poplar River Management Board, to address water quality concerns of the Poplar River. Additionally, he has recently helped form the Lake Superior-Poplar River Water District to address water usage concerns to residents and business within the Poplar River Watershed. He has also been a Marshall School Board trustee and was appointed by the governor to the Minnesota Tourism Council.

Currently residing in Cook County and Duluth, Charles is married with two daughters. He grew up and worked at the Sugar Hills ski area which his father founded in 1962 in Grand Rapids, MN. He attended high school and college in Oregon, and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon and J.D. in law from Columbia University. After college, he went on to practice corporate, finance, and securities law in New York, Boston, and Delaware, before moving to Lutsen in 1992. Charles has been a lifelong skier, was on the varsity ski team in both high school and college, and coached the junior ski team at Lutsen. Charles has also been president and owner of Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau, WI since 2000.

Charles Skinner