Resort Expansion

Outer Bounds: As resorts expand, the ski community looks for common ground

North of Duluth, MN, near Lake Superior, a group of obsessive backcountry skiers has been planning the Midwest’s first backcountry ski area and a hut-to-hut ski-touring route along the North Shore. Rory Scoles, the founder of Superior Highlands Backcountry, a local nonprofit, says hacking around outside in the winter is core to the culture there. They’re working to get people excited about ski-touring, and to bring Midwesterners into the mountains.  

The Great Lakes region might not seem like an ideal backcountry zone, but the dense hardwood forests of those northern mountains pitch and dip into perfect mini-golf ski lines. The snow stays deep and cold. And to make that terrain even better, the organization hosted its first glading parties for the hut system this fall. The centerpiece of the plan is Moose Mountain, which holds arguably the best backcountry skiing in the Midwest—1,000 vertical feet of sugar maple and rolling terrain.

But the backcountry skiing on Moose Mountain, and the hut-to-hut traverse plans, are at risk because of another ski project in the works…

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