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Detroit Mountain hosts monthly 'Women Take the Mountain' gathering

The staff at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area began hosting a monthly gathering in December, for female entrepreneurs in the lakes area. Since then, the Women Take the Mountain event has evolved into a once-a-month opportunity for women to relax, socialize and try out some activities like yoga, crafts, wine and beer tasting and more.

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Instructor Leigh Edwards, left, leads a group of Women Take the Mountain guests in a yoga session at the summit of Detroit Mountain at last month's Women Take the Mountain event on June 16, 2022. The women-only event takes place at DMRA on the third Thursday of every month, from 5 to 9 p.m.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES — When a group of female reporters with the Detroit Lakes Tribune happened upon last month's listing in the local Chamber calendar about a Women Take the Mountain event at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, they saw a one-night-only opportunity for a little pampering, with the bonus of some bonding over wine and cheese.

That wasn't quite what happened.

"We do this every month," said Meghan Eastman, the Mountain's inside operations manager, as the group entered and paid the $10 admission fee.

Since December of last year, she explained, DMRA has been hosting a Women Take the Mountain event on the third Thursday of every month, from 5 to 9 p.m.

At first, the event was intended as a gathering of women entrepreneurs and business owners, Eastman added.


But while some do still use the monthly event as an opportunity for networking and marketing their products, it has been expanded to be more inclusive, with wellness activities like skiing and mountain biking, yoga, piyo (a hybrid of yoga and pilates) and massage, not to mention a chance to have a little fun.

Making gourmet s'mores, wine tasting, scenic lift rides, planting succulents and even making a bug repellent spray out of essential oils were all on the menu for the June 16 event.

Olivia Ullrey, who facilitated the gourmet s'mores-making, said that she actually made the marshmallows she used herself.

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Women Take the Mountain participants roast some gourmet marshmallows for s'mores during one of the more popular activities at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

"S'mores are my jam," she said. "They're the only thing I'm high maintenance about."

Justin Utecht, the somelier who taught the wine tasting class, introduced the participants to a half-dozen red and white wines from Spain, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy — and the Columbia Valley in the state of Washington.

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Sommelier Justin Utecht, left, pours a glass of Riesling for Women Take the Mountain participant Jena Ollila during a wine tasting class on Thursday, June 16, 2022.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

He painstakingly explained some of the terms used, such as Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Gruner Veltliner, which are based on the type of grapes used, as well as D.O.C.G., which a term used in Italy to designate a wine that has followed the highest standards in its creation.

Each of the wines introduced in his class was available locally, he said.

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Women Take the Mountain yoga instructor Leigh Edwards, left, demonstrates a move for a couple of students on Thursday, June 16, 2022 at Detroit Mountain Recreation Area.
Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Leigh Edwards led a Yoga on the Summit session at the top of the main ski mountain, which was accessible on foot or via a scenic lift ride.


Past events have included a painting session with local artist Anna Lassonde and a guided mountain bike tour of DMRA's trails.

Though some activities, like the painting class and a past learn-to-ski session, have involved a small add-on charge for materials and equipment rentals, everything else is included in the admission fee, Eastman said. "It's always $10," she added.

If you go

What: Women Take the Mountain
Where: Detroit Mountain Recreation Area,
When: Thursday, July 21, 2022, 5 to 9 p.m.
How: Admission is $10; purchase tickets online at detroitmountain.com (go to the store section and click on the Events tab) or call 218-844-SNOW.

A reporter at Detroit Lakes Newspapers since relocating to the community in October 2000, Vicki was promoted to Community News Lead for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and Perham Focus on Jan. 1, 2022. She has covered pretty much every "beat" that a reporter can be assigned, from county board and city council to entertainment, crime and even sports. Born and raised in Madelia, Minnesota, she is a graduate of Hamline University, from which she earned a bachelor's degree in English literature (writing concentration). You can reach her at vgerdes@dlnewspapers.com.
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