Grassroots effort launched to save Detroit Mountain
Efforts to re-open Detroit Mountain ski area appear to be snowballing, judging by a campaign on email and Facebook.
An email message has been circulating widely, and more than 700 people have become members of a Facebook page called Bring Back the Mountain.
"The county commissioners have been presented with an opportunity to acquire the Detroit Mountain property by trading some tax-forfeited land," Lakeshirts co-owner Mark Fritz said in an email message to friends.
"The way I understand it, there would be little or no cost to the county and there would be zero tax consequences to the taxpayer," he added. "The county would in turn have a great asset and the potential for a super four-season recreational area."
People who like the idea can "vote with their feet" by showing up at an informational meeting set for 5 p.m. Thursday at the Detroit Lakes city council meeting room.
There will be a short presentation by County Administrator Brian Berg, outlining the proposal, a question and answer period, and time for comments.
"Please try to attend to show your support," Fritz said. "The bigger the turnout, the bigger impression we can make."
Fritz envisions a fund-raising campaign to restore the infrastructure at Detroit Mountain -- new towropes and repairs to the lodge -- and then a lease opportunity for a business interested in running the operation. But he says that's just his vision -- others may have other ideas.
"I feel this is a tremendous opportunity and one that the county should act on," Fritz said. "Where would our community be without the beach, the community center, the country club, and our great parks? This is the opportunity to make a great place to live, work and raise our children even better."
Jeff Staley and Tony Schmitz may not have anticipated the avalanche of support created when they set up a Facebook page on Tuesday to promote the idea.
They had 727 members as of Friday.
"Please help bring Detroit Mountain back to the area for use as a ski resort and as a four season recreation area!," the site says.
"Those who grew up there, skiing and snowboarding, can remember how much fun it was. Let's get it back and running so 'our kids' can enjoy it and we can enjoy it with them!"
Here are a few of the comments from the Facebook site:
Shelly Blair Stowman: I absolutely love the idea ... let's make it happen!
Kate Olsen: How sad that I didn't even know this wasn't open anymore! Sheesh ... I remember fondly how a group of us girls would go to the towrope and then when some hotty was behind us we'd pretend that our gloves were slippery! OMG what great memories!
Jeff Staley: Every time I check this group there are 30 more members. This is incredible. Keep spreading the word about the cause and the meeting. The only way this gets done is if we all participate. Unlike elections where candidates get elected whether you vote or not, this will not happen if we all don't step up.
Nathan Vollmers: I'll do some digging, I think I have some old photos somewhere. Those were the most innocent times of my life. That mountain was about the only thing that kept me out of trouble.
Lacey Koby: Learned how to snowboard on the bunny hill there in '96. Skipped school to snowboard there ... it would be amazing to be able to go snowboarding after work ... I hope someone can bring it back.
Tyler Anderson: I think I got in trouble skipping school and going there with you. How sweet would this be? I wish I could go to the meeting.
Kelly Mack Schiffner: Love it! We were just talking about how great it would be to have DM back. Hell, I'd even work there again! Seriously -- I would love to ski again and to teach my friends/family. Let me know if I can help your cause in any way!
Travis Leitheiser: Yes bring it back ... And bring back the snowmobile races also. Everything was such a blast out there ... There are a lot of good people in this town that could make it happen all year round...
Leigh Anne Romaine: LeAnn Utke mentioned snowtubing. That's a great idea! We have one here in Elm Creek Park. Families are lined up by the hundreds waiting to ride the "magic carpet" back to the top.
Kirk Lundmark: The possibilities are endless! Put in a half-pipe for the winter, a couple of towropes and a Poma lift and that's all you need. Get the Nordic trails going and maintained and you have a second source of winter revenue.
In the summer, get a mud pit for 4x4's and an area for ATVs and you got yourself some more fun and tourism.
Robert Adolph Kost: DM was the first place I got hurt skiing -- on the tow rope! Bring it back.
Barry Buhr: I would vow to buy a pass forever, no matter where I'm living at the time. The place shaped lives.
Marie Beckerleg: First time I ever skiied was at DM.
Nancy Woodward: What a GREAT idea!
Mark Lamarr Hanson: I miss the west run and drinks right at the bottom of the towrope!
David C. Opsahl: It's hard to drive into town and see that large ski hill empty.
Bryan Schoenberger: Mellow at full speed was the best!
Ben Greisen: Broke my heart when it closed! Where will my kids learn to rip? Bring it back...
Ann Borman: Some of my best memories are from DM. I can still picture my favorite runs.
Jon Yocom: Fun times. Remember Q98 day?
Emily Smith Buermann: I sent a support email to each representative on the list! I feel so productive for such an early hour! =) Please email and show your support if you can't get to the meeting!
Debbie Disse: Great times were had by all that went there! Bring it back and let's bring people back to our area! I remember the days of busloads of people that came on weekends to ski this mountain -- what beautiful surroundings- bring it back, please:)