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Terrain & tubing parks now open at Detroit Mountain

st week’s unseasonably warm weather was something of a challenge, and the snow-making equipment has been getting a workout, but the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area is open for business, with ski slopes, terrain park and tubing hill open and ready for action.

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“The terrain park opened (Sunday),” said general manager Jeff Staley. “That was our big ribbon-cutting ceremony. The tubing is open, it’s been pretty popular.”

The dedicated tubing park with a 600-foot slope has brought in a whole different group of visitors, he said.

“It’s a lot of fun, it’s pretty exciting – it feels like you’re going pretty fast,” Staley said. “There are a couple of little rolling hills you go over. You’re going down lanes bermed up on the sides, so it’s pretty safe for any age.”

The tubing hill has a “magic carpet” conveyor system where people can carry their tubes on and enjoy an easy trip back up the hill for another run.

At the bottom of the hill is a chalet-style warming house, 24-foot by 36-foot in size, with a large picture window overlooking the tubing hill, so people can come in, warm up, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa or coffee, and watch their family and friends ride down the hill.

The Scheels Terrain Park is an area of Detroit Mountain that allows both skiers and snow-boarders the chance to perform tricks, jumps, and other aerial feats.

Designed by Geoff Bostwick of Terrain Park Consulting in Boulder, Colo., the terrain park has rails and pipes, jib boxes, table tops and other specially-designed jumps.

A high-speed rope tow pulls skiers and boarders up the hill for as many trips down as they want.

The various features are designed so they can be rotated from one part of the terrain park to another, in order to keep the course challenging for regular users.

The terrain park also has features for all riding and skiing levels, from beginner to expert.

All in all, as far as the Detroit Mountain recreation Area in general, Staley said, “we’re doing quite well.”

As of Monday there were 7,249 total skier visits, with a record 848 visitors on Sunday.

A feasibility report predicted 25,000 visitors per year.

“We’re exceeding any expectations we had,” Staley said. “I think it will probably come in at 35,000 to 40,000 (skier visits) for the season.”

“We’re seeing people from all over,” he added. “Grand Forks, East Grand Forks, Fargo-Moorhead, Sioux Falls, Bemidji, Park Rapids, Fergus Falls, Alexandria, even from the Twin Cities. There’s definitely a wider draw here, without question.”

He said he has not heard any complaints about the terrain, snow conditions or the facility itself.

“People are blown away with it, it’s a pretty unique place,” Staley said. “Fire pits on the curbs and slope side and grilling burgers on-site. If you haven’t been out here on the weekend you should check it out.”

Starting in January, “Monday madness” night will offer attractive tube and ski rental rates on Mondays. “If you’re looking for a great value, Monday night is the way to go,” he said.

The slopes will be open until midnight on New Year’s Eve so people can welcome the new year on the mountain. It will be open all day on New year’s Day.

The Ski Angel scholarship program has also been going well, he added.

“Those kids are out there right now using those passes,” he said. “We just got a number of donations in again today for it. They just keep rolling in. It’s great.”

The Ski Angel program lets people donate a season ski pass to a young person, with the candidates vetted through the Detroit Lakes Boys and Girls Club.

Scholarship donations made to the mountain help young people with lift passes, reduced-cost equipment rentals and group lessons.

“It will let kids do more on the day they come up,” said Barb Ellis, who founded the Ski Angel campaign. “The whole idea is to get kids on the mountain,” she said.

“Ski Angel will be accepting donations all season,” she said. “Donations made off-season will go to the scholarship fund.”

About 40 season passes have so far been made available through the Ski Angel program, said Ellis, who can be reached at rockinspurranch@aol.com.

“This would be a good time for people to buy a pass,” she said. “Kids can ski for the rest of the season.”

The spirit of giving has also been contagious on the mountain, Ellis added. “Some people have been donating to the kids behind them in line (by buying lift passes for them),” she said.

 
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