Low spirits? Spirit Mountain sees staffing shortage before ski season
DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - The mountain, created by the Minnesota State Legislature in 1974, will only allow skiers on the slopes only five days a week this season.
Skiers can shred the gnar only Wednesday through Sunday this year, like the 2020-2021 season.
That has left some skiers upset.
“Spirit’s probably one of my favorite hills if not my favorite hill in Minnesota just cause of everything it has to offer,” Sage Sparks, an avid skier, said.
Sparks has skied almost his entire life. He now works with Team Duluth to help the next generation of skiers on the hills. When he heard Spirit Mountain was offering skiing and snowboarding five days a week again this year, he was disappointed.
“It’s tough for us because, you know we have practices Tuesday nights for Team Duluth,” he said.
Ann Glumac, the Interim Executive Director for Spirit Mountain, said the ski hill just does not have enough staff to be open six days a week.
“This year as we started our hiring process it seemed like we might fall short of hiring sufficient people to be able to operate six days a week,” Glumac said.
Glumac said it takes roughly 200 people each season to keep the 22 runs going. They need everything from servers and bartenders in the chalets to other jobs.
“We have people who made snow when we’re making snow, we have people who groom the snow,” she said.
The ski hill and park is owned by the City of Duluth, which has been given millions of dollars in funding to keep it operational. In the past, they have struggled to pay back lines of credit. Glumac, however, mentioned Spirit Mountain is a big economic driver.
“For every dollar we receive, we generate about $18 in economic activity,” she said.
Sage Sparks, however, thinks the city needs to do a better job at making the slopes smooth.
“So I think, you know, it’s a staffing problem but I think it’s also a problem with how it’s kind of ran in general.”
Glumac said normally, Spirit Mountain opens the day after Thanksgiving. She also said they will have enough staffing to stay open five days a week.
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