Downhill delight: Mountain now open
By Paula Quam / DL Newspapers
iers and snowboarders at Detroit Mountain are busy finding their groove, as Friday morning marked the official opening to the public.
Jake Hein of Detroit Lakes wanted to be on the first lift chair up on the mountain opening day, and his persistence in line paid off.
“First tracks of the day,” he smiled excitedly. “It’s been gone for over 10 years, and to have it back in the community, to have something more to do in Detroit Lakes in the wintertime is going to be a really good experience.”
Hein is one of the many skiers Friday morning who seemed to already have a strong grasp on skiing, but ski instructors donning their green jackets were out in full force ready to help give out free pointers on the first day.
“Basically we’re teaching them control on the mountain until we get our terrain-based instruction ready, and then we can teach people more,” said Luke Payne, ski instructor. “But for right now, it’s pizza and French fries.”
That’s ski lingo for making your skis look like a pizza as the skier learns to stop, and French fries as the skier learns basic control, said Payne.
Trails Boss Tony Schmidt said ski instructors will continue to give free tips and little lessons to skiers who need it until the ski school with formal instruction is up and running, which will be Dec. 13.
Payne says from what he can tell, a lot of adults are grabbing onto the idea of snowboarding, many who have never done it before.
“I think it’s the fear factor of the skis,” said Payne. “Snow boards are easier to control, at least that’s what some people think, so we’ve gotten a lot of adults who want to branch out and try something new.”
Opening morning produced a mix of enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders, from young adults to families and seniors.
“We have some adults who have never been out before (skiing), but it seems like when there is one person in the family who knows how to do it, they want everyone else to learn how to do it as well,” said Sherry Trepp, ski instructor.
Trepp says for those newbies, she is showing them a handful of things that should help keep them upright most of the time.
“You’ll learn how to get along with your skis,” said Trepp. “You’ll learn that you are in control of them, how to keep your tips from crossing, how to make a good stop, how to turn, and how to use the edges to control yourself.”
Right now the tubing area is not yet open, but the “magic carpet” is, which brings little skiers and boarders learning the ropes up on the bunny hill.
When the ski school is up and running, there will also be what mountain employees call the “Detroit Lakes Experience” package, which will include a lift ticket, equipment rental and lesson for $68 for adults and $57 for kids.