The Detroit Mountain opened its snow covered slopes on Saturday, Dec. 5, with skiers getting their first tracks on the mountain during an ongoing pandemic.

Lifts started at 9:00 a.m. and were greeted with lines of season pass holders, eager to get their seasons started.

"I was up at 5:00 a.m. today getting ready for the day," said Brian Faris, guest services and events manager at Detroit Mountain. "Overall, opening day has been smooth."

He said the mountain had some processes in place for their season pass holders to get the first tracks on the season. He added there was a line at 9:00 a.m., but, when the park officially opened, it went quickly.

Ethan Cook assists two snowboarders onto a chairlift at Detroit Mountain on opening weekend of the 2020 ski season. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Ethan Cook assists two snowboarders onto a chairlift at Detroit Mountain on opening weekend of the 2020 ski season. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Detroit Mountain has continued to adjust their planned operations due to complying with continually updated health guidelines during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're doing things on the front end to make sure that what we're doing is safe, and efficient, so we'll be able to be open long term," said Farris.

Following Minnesota Department of Health Guidelines, inside dining and bar services are closed at the main chalet, but a snack window is available on the side of the chalet to provide some food and drinks to guests. Potable restrooms are on-site as well to limit the use of the indoor facilities.

The staff are also staggering their skier arrivals by using a reservation system through their website. By limiting how many skiers arrive per hour, the staff has more control over their crowd size.

A skier exits the new setup area outside the main ski chalet at Detroit Mountain on opening weekend of the 2020 ski season. The setup tent is part of some new additions to the mountain during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
A skier exits the new setup area outside the main ski chalet at Detroit Mountain on opening weekend of the 2020 ski season. The setup tent is part of some new additions to the mountain during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

"We have some structures setup...right now we have that boot-up tent on the drive in," said Farris. "There are going to be some additional structures we're going to get out on the slope side with some patio heaters under them."

The mountain was suppose to open last week, he also said, but due to the higher temperatures, they needed to wait in order to ensure they had appropriate snow cover for enough terrain to be covered

The first day of the season was also the first time on skis for Isabelle Thibert, 11, of Glyndon, Minn.

"It's really fun," she said. "I've snowboarded before and it's much easier than that."

Greg Thibert, Isabelle's father, said the outside check-in arrangements the mountain made went smoothly when the family arrived.

"They said, 'get here by 10:00 a.m.,' and we were on the slopes by 10:15 a.m," said Thibert. "It's nice to get some space, this COVID, and get outside. It's been great."