Lutsen Mountains ownership buys Upper Peninsula ski areas

The Skinner family plans to rebrand the Blackjack and Indianhead ski areas under fresh names as part of the newly recast Snowriver Resort.

Big Snow
The Big Snow Resort has been sold and will be renamed the Snowriver Resort, offering guests access to both the former Indianhead and Blackjack ski areas.
Photo courtesy of Midwest Family Ski Resorts
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DULUTH — Charles Skinner Jr. announced Wednesday that his family has extended its reach to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with a recent purchase of the Indianhead and Blackjack ski areas from Art Dumke. The transaction includes restaurants, a hotel and a number of guest service buildings. The financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The Skinners already own Lutsen Mountains ski area on the North Shore and Granite Peak ski area in Wausau, Wisconsin, managing the properties under the name Midwest Family Ski Resorts.

The group announced it will recast the U.P. Big Snow Resort operation as Snowriver Mountain Resort. The names of Blackjack and Indianhead also will be changed to Black River Basin and Jackson Creek Summit, respectively, to reflect the waterways that flow through the properties.

In a statement, Skinner explained, “There are two motivating factors for the coming name changes. The first is a sensitivity to Native American culture. And the second is to eliminate confusion as the name Big Snow is used by another ski operation.”

"We also feel the name changes help signal a new era of capital investment at Snowriver," he went on to say.


Snowriver will offer a single lift ticket valid for the entire U.P. operation and will provide shuttle transportation until a connecting lift is constructed.

In a news release, Skinner said: "Our mission is to provide healthy outdoor recreation of the highest quality to the Midwest, especially families. Indianhead was the first ski area in the Upper Peninsula.The staff and previous ownership did a great job combining two ski areas into one and improving operations. Our team is excited to welcome the resort staff to our family of resorts."

Charlotte Skinner will serve as the business' chief of staff and chief financial officer, reporting to her father, Charles, president and CEO of the company.

Beginning Sept. 9, Midwest Family Ski Resorts plans to begin offering a Legendary Pass that will provide guests unlimited access to the Lutsen, Granite Peak and Snowriver properties.

The quiet, out-and-back Onion River Trail in Tofte offers solitude and stunning views.

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