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The Wisconsin DNR Seeks Input on Non-Ski Activities within RMSP

Posted: Jun 9, 2022

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has made a draft document available for public comment on the future of the Rib Mountain State Park. This time around, as opposed to last year’s study, the written draft is 100% the efforts of Wisconsin from the DNR staff.

My goal is to present the highlights and offer direct links to what I found to be the most compelling and informative parts of the draft. What I am sharing is influenced by my point of view, and to fully understand the draft, I encourage you to read the whole thing. I had the luxury of being on a family vacation to Ohio when this came out. Thanks to Grandma, I enjoyed sever al peaceful mornings over coffee as I read it.  😉  (more…)

Welcome to the Family – Big Snow Resort

Posted: May 25, 2022

Owner of Granite Peak & Lutsen Mountains to Purchase Michigan’s Big Snow Resort

Charles Skinner, agrees to acquire the largest ski area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  

Lutsen, MN, and Wausau, WI (May 25, 2022) – Charles Skinner, the owner of Minnesota’s Lutsen Mountains Ski Area and Wisconsin’s Granite Peak Ski Area, has a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Big Snow Resort, which consists of Indianhead and Blackjack ski areas, from Art Dumke. Skinner’s family has owned and operated vacation destination ski areas catering to Midwest families for 60 years.   (more…)

Celebrating the Season

Posted: May 19, 2022

National Ski Areas Association & Granite Peak celebrate amazing seasons!

Last week the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) celebrated its 60th season with a convention in one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to – Nashville, TN. After a three-year break from in-person conventions, more than 800 industry leaders descended upon the world’s country music capital for four days packed with education, networking, and celebratory events.

I can tell you the industry was ready to rejoice and reconnect after two very challenging yet rewarding years across the country. In the opening remarks, NSAA President Kelly Pawlak announced that the industry recorded 61.1 million skier visits beating the previous 60 million visitors set over a decade ago in 2010/2011. So it would seem that this nagging pandemic and the refreshing idea of outdoor recreation have launched skiing to new plateaus.

Kelly is a close friend of mine and someone that I owe a great deal of gratitude, as she was my first boss at Mount Snow back from 2000-to 2010. Kelly leads by example with transparency and encouragement, showing us that even our harshest critics can understand that sometimes things just don’t go as we all had planned.

Segway…..

While down in Nashville, you may have heard we had a little fire on the slopes. At the junction of Miracle and Birch into Lower Duskey, we have a building that houses electrical circuits, our ski patrol repeater, and light switches for our night lighting, with a transformer feeding the entire area. Thankfully we have a killer team here, and our crew quickly identified that something was amiss. By the time our staff arrived to investigate, there was already smoke and small flames from the building and transformer.

The Fire Marshall is still investigating the incident, but I can tell you that our team did a great job containing hot spots on the ground as that was our #1 concern.  They concentrated on the ground & hotspots with pressurized tanks while our snowmaking manager fired up the pumps to extinguish the flames with snowmaking hoses.

SAFER Fire arrived and took over by using our snowmaking hoses to extinguish the flames. We will rebuild our electrical building. Believe it or not, just three days after the fire, the grass in the area where the burn occurred is coming back stronger than ever.

Wildfires are no joking matter and sadly have been cropping up in the news more and more. Last year Tahoe was devastated by fire, and the industry is closely monitoring a fire in New Mexico that potentially could impact several resorts.

Back to Nashville

Granite Peak & Lutsen Mountains were present in Nashville, as well as our owners, Charles & Charlotte Skinner. We had great conversations and shared knowledge/stories while getting to know one another even more so than ever.

Over the next few years, thanks to the collaborative nature of our mountains, you’ll enjoy fun things coming out of our two properties. I’m thankful to have a guy like Jim Vick (GM & Marketing Director at Lutsen) as a counterpart to create dynamic opportunities for our guests and the industry. The man has been there for years and knows his stuff. (He’s also very, very knowledgable about music!) We saw an amazing Grateful Dead Tribute – The Grateful Shred while in town –>

Winner Winner – Moonshine Dinner

NSAA awards resorts and industry leaders in sustainability, safety, marketing, and conversion achievements each year. Granite Peak was nominated for Best Use of Video in a marketing campaign along with fellow nominees Trollhaugen, WI & Alta, CO. I have tremendous respect for both. Trollhaugen was a brand we watched closely during my time back east for its incredibly unique storytelling. Who doesn’t love the Troll on Instagram? And I mean ALTA. Do I need to say more? We were honored to win for our Legendary Series.

It takes a team to deliver things like this, and we have a killer agency in Trampoline Design. I’m stoked to continue the Legendary campaign into its next rendition for the 85th season of 2022/2023.

To be on stage with resorts like Breckenridge, Snowbasin, Jay Peak, and many others is something I’ll never forget. It also makes you realize how many people in the industry are doing amazing things. My goal for future NSAA Shows – win a Golden Eagle Sustainability Award.

I love marketing, but I want to challenge myself and our team to do better at keeping our resort clean, decreasing our carbon footprint, and being aggressively sustainable. The supply chain continues to challenge us, but we are committed to making strides. We plan to work on sustainability programs more this summer, and with your help, we can make an impact. 

What have you been up to?  Have ideas?

We’d love to hear what you have been up to since we closed! Maybe you have ideas on sustainability, or your organization or company does something you can share. I’d love to hear them. If you have questions about summer or would like to say hello, use the comment field below.

Until next time.

Stay safe. Stay awesome.

Greg

Onto the 85th Season!

Posted: Apr 1, 2022

While we still have three more weekends to go I wanted to write and express my gratitude to our guests, passholders, our staff, ski patrol volunteers, GPST program participants and the local community for another fantastic season here at Granite Peak.  (more…)

Spring Operations

Posted: Mar 24, 2022

Spring can be awesome.  It also can be finicky.  It can also be wintery.  The saying goes March comes in like a Lion and out like a lamb.  April showers bring May flowers.  Etc.  It all can happen once we hit that Spring Equinox.  (more…)

Season Passholder Weekend

Posted: Mar 8, 2022

This upcoming weekend is all about our Season Passholders!  All Passes Gold, Silver and Bronze are valid this weekend and we will be rolling out the red carpet.  Not only do we now have Demo Day going on but we’ll have plenty of other options for our passholders to enjoy. (more…)

Marvelous March

Posted: Feb 25, 2022

People have asked me what my favorite time to ski.  It’s undoubtably March.  In my opinion March always seems to deliver conditions across the gambit of fun.  You can get powder days, soft spring days and you can even get days where the snow is fast and fun in the morning followed by soft & buttery in the afternoon.  This year the extended forecast is looking great with temps creeping into the low 30s next week for highs.  Nothing that will change up our conditions but I love a good goggle tan day.  (more…)

Going Above & Beyond

Posted: Feb 11, 2022

A Passholder Expose – Brian Grefe

For a guy that skied more than 100 days last season, you’d think Brian Grefe could fairly be called a ski bum. 

Fanatic, yes. Enthusiast, yes. Bum, not so much.

In fact, when he’s not skiing or helping his wife raise their two children — all of whom also ski — Grefe is the Airport Director of Central Wisconsin Airport, or CWA.

So you might say he views the DNR’s review of the 2005 Master Plan for Rib Mountain — and their consideration of changes to Rib Mountain State Park and Granite Peak ski area — from an elevated position. 

In his capacity as CWA airport director, Grefe explained that the CWA board of directors is on record as supporting Alternative #4 of the proposed changes. 

“For CWA, it’s not necessarily because of incoming skiers using the airport,” he said. “It’s the economic impact of the hill and enhanced year-round use of the hill that bring additional tourism, and incomes for local people — all which supports future airport growth.” 

Taking off his CWA hat and speaking from a personal perspective, Grefe doesn’t hold back. He loves Rib Mountain and Granite Peak — it was actually a major factor in his moving here from Aspen, Colorado.

As mentioned, his wife and kids all ski Granite Peak as well. 

“We have a family season pass to Granite Peak, and a yearly pass to Rib Mountain State Park,” he explained. “We live a few miles from the mountain, and my kids are both heavily involved in Granite Peak’s great youth skiing programs and competitions,” he continued.

“We’re fortunate to be near the biggest and best ski area in the state of Wisconsin,” he concluded.

Grefe is also a steward of the mountain, taking garbage bags with him to pick up trash whenever he finds it and encouraging others to be respectful of the natural wonders and environment.

“Conservation is so important,” said Grefe. “For those of us who support enhancements to this amazing place, we have to acknowledge other interests and recognize their needs and go above and beyond for all stakeholders.”

Given his position at the airport and his love of Rib Mountain and Granite Peak, “above and beyond” would be a fitting motto for this Wausau-based ski bum. Er, enthusiast.

Stay informed! Learn more and sign up for email updates at ElevateRibMountain.com. 

February Fun above 0…

Posted: Feb 3, 2022

Family Festivals, Fireworks, Racing & Boarder X all coming this February

I’ve been in some cold environments before but I can honestly say that I’ve never been through a colder stretch than last year’s 11 day stretch that went from February 5 through President’s Day February 15th.  

This was the stretch of cold weather if you don’t remember: 

  • Feb 5 – High 0
  • Feb 6 – High -3
  • Feb 7 – High -10
  • Feb 8 – High -1
  • Feb 9 – High 6
  • Feb 10 – High 3
  • Feb 11 – High 2
  • Feb 12 – High 3
  • Feb 13 – High 2 
  • Feb 14 – High -5
  • Feb 15 – High 3

Now up until that point the winter was relatively mild so it was hard to complain but that was quite the stretch and it cancelled our Family Festival and put a damper on President’s Day Weekend.   We’ve had some cold weather recently and the Adult Race League in particular has been racing in temps around 0 each week.  In speed suits.  God bless you guys! But Friday – Tuesday once again looks like temperatures will moderate an we’re looking at another weekend of beautiful conditions.  

OpenSnow.com

Speaking of the weather we have a partnership with OpenSnow.com.  I love OpenSnow and I’ve used their app for years not only for the resorts that I’ve been employed at but also for my own personal trips to different destinations.  I know that many of you travel outside of the area to ski and I encourage it!  Every ski area is fun. No matter how big or small a day on the slopes is better than a day on the couch!  

Sign up for OpenSnow with no password, no credit card, and use the following promo code to receive an extended free trial of 30 days (the normal free trial is 2 weeks).

OpenSnow Promo Code: ​​GRANITEPEAK-F63C8

How to Get Started

  1. Go to OpenSnow.com
  2. Click “Start Free Trial”
  3. Enter your email address and click “Next”.
  4. Check your email and click “Confirm Email Address”.
  5. Go to Settings > Subscription
  6. Enter the promo code and click “Apply Code”.

If you choose not to purchase OpenSnow All-Access after the 30-day free trial is over, you will NOT be charged and will still be able to see limited weather and snow information for free.

Questions? 

Send an email to hello@opensnow.com and they’ll respond within 24 hours.

Special 8am Comet Access Sat & Sun.

This weekend Feb 5 & 6th as well as next weekend Feb 12 & 13th we will offer our season passholders early morning lift access for one hour off of the Comet Express Quad.  Coaches will also be setting up race events on Exhibition both weekends so we figured we would open up this lift access to our passholders as well.  Terrain will be limited to the main face of the mountain with access to the East and West closed.  You’ll have access to Elk, Upper Duskey, Miracle, Birch, Aspen, Hot Cocoa, Hawks Ridge, White Lightning, and Upper Timberwolf to Sweet Return.  Everything else will remain closed until 9am.  Exhibition will only be open to registered race athletes & coaches.  

Family Festival Activities

This weekend is also the return of our Family Festival.  Saturday we’ll have a fun day out on the mountain!

Saturday: 

  • Scavenger Hunt for prizes from 10am – 4pm. 
    • (Clues are dropped on our social media stories every hour on the hour). 
  • Snow Art is back and will be creating a snow sculpture near our snowboarder one that is still standing strong!
  • 12pm – 2pm we’ll have Groomer Rides
  • 4pm – 5pm fun carnival style games near the Historic Deck.
  • 5pm – Free S’mores for kids (while supplies last) Historic Deck Area
  • 7pm – Fireworks

Sunday: 

  • 10am – 3pm Granite Grom Jam #2 
    • 12 & under only
    • Register Here
      • Select 2/6/22 in date field.
    • 40 athletes only
  • 12pm – 2pm Groomer Rides

Moguls & Terrain Enhancements 

The grooming team has been working hard at renovating snow and enhancing the overall experience across all of our open terrain.  The Sundance Moguls were redone yesterday and the message from one of my favorite ski instructors (and people in general) Alison was that they are super fun.  We will be also removing the ones on IdleWild as I have heard some grumblings about them and totally get it.  Idlewild will go back to a groomed trail by the weekend & we will look to make a few other mogul areas on the sides of trails.  

 

The Boarder Cross on Aspen is a ton of fun and I personally love to rip down it with my boy Ronan.  We are excited to announce that we’ll have a race event there on February 26th.  We are still working out the details but the tentative plans are to run time trials in the morning followed by a head to head bracketed format in the afternoon!  Stay tuned as we put it all together. 

Thanks for reading our blogs. I hope you find them informative and can join us this February.

Greg

 

Make the Most of It – Safely & Quickly

Posted: Jan 26, 2022

Skiing is a cold weather sport.  Sometimes that means really cold!  Every place I’ve been over my career always goes through a few extreme cool downs and we’re coming out of one of them.  The weather for the extended forecast looks more “seasonable” but it is still quite cold.  (more…)