New high-speed quad unloading for the first time this season. (Giants Ridge/Facebook)
Minnesota’s Giants Ridge opened two new, much needed, chairlifts this season in an effort to turn around declining numbers of skier visits the past few winters.
Owner of the ski area, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB), approved $5.7 million funding two years ago to improve the aging resort. They added a new 33,900-square-foot chalet housing skier services and new restaurant last season and renovated the old South Chalet that housed the Nordic Center. This season two new quad-chairlifts, one a high-speed, were added.
The resurgent resort is once again on the Heartland’s radar. The aging lifts that were replaced caused backups on busy days and breakdowns were lengthy, according to an article in Business North.
“The new lifts had already created excitement among locals with increased season pass sales,” said Mark Phillips, the IRRRB Commissioner, in the article. “Greater speed and capacity, along with easier loading and unloading, equates in more time on the slopes to ski and have fun.”
The 35 trails that soar off the rocky crest are varied in pitch, a headwall here, a small bowl there. Melbourne, Easy Way and Placid, sequestered among aspen and birch, offer gentle runs off the top of the ski hill, and the North Face runs offer short, steep chutes. Three terrain parks feature boxes, rails and jumps with a skate-park flow; catch big air on 30-foot jumps.
In addition to skiing and boarding over 60-kilometers of Olympic-quality cross-country trails, fat tire biking and snow tubing are available.
Adult weekend full-day lift tickets are $56 this winter, and mid-week lift tickets are $47. You can save 29 to 43 percent by ordering discounted lift tickets online. If you stay at the slopeside Lodge at Giants Ridge you receive $10 off the daily lift ticket price.