In December 2015, the Duluth Cross-Country Ski Club launched a bold, multi-year capital campaign. The goal: to realize the vision of Duluth as a regional and national cross-country ski destination that consistently provides a high-quality ski experience to locals and visitors alike. This is a critical juncture for investing in the future of outdoor recreation in Duluth, including Nordic skiing! DXC’s Board has been strategizing with community members and leaders about how best to preserve and grow the culture of cross-country skiing in Duluth going forward. As a result, three primary initiatives have come into focus:
Advancing the City of Duluth Cross-Country Ski Trails Master Plan
Bringing the Grand Avenue Nordic Center to Life
Restoring the Lester-Amity Chalet
This is an ambitious set of goals, but we believe they are important and achievable! In terms of prioritization, the Grand Avenue Nordic Center hits an impressive ten of the twelve primary goals outlined by the Master Plan, and DXC has committed the first $500,000 that it raises as part of this capital campaign to make that project a reality. Read on for more info on each of these initiatives!
Cross-Country Ski Trails Master Plan
The goal of the City of Duluth Cross-Country Ski Trails Master Plan was “[t]o provide a road map for cross country ski trail improvements and procedures within the Duluth ski trail system which will enhance the skiing experience and enable Duluth to become a regional and national cross country ski destination.” To achieve this, the Master Plan called for some key improvements and additions to cross-country skiing infrastructure and operations in Duluth:
DXC has already begun working to implement some of these suggested improvements, including assuming responsibility for grooming and maintaining the trails at Spirit Mountain Nordic Center, providing on-line grooming updates for Duluth ski trails at . But there is much work that remains to be done and DXC is committed to working with the City to see the Master Plan through, which will be a multi-year project. View the plan by clicking here.
Primary Capital Campaign Project:
GRAND AVENUE NORDIC CENTER
Grand Avenue Nordic Center (GANC) is a transformative new cross-country ski center in Duluth with newly designed trails, Nordic-dedicated snowmaking, lights, daily grooming, and a full-service chalet, located at the base of Spirit Mountain. DXC has been working closely with the City of Duluth to develop this exciting project. The City has committed a large portion of the funding for Grand Avenue Nordic Center – $1 million in “half-and-half Tourism Tax” dollars – and on August 9, 2016, the City unanimously approved the environmental assessment, giving this project a green light. Now it is up to the Duluth ski community to raise the remaining funds to make Grand Avenue Nordic Center a reality: We currently need to raise an additional $217k to meet our goal. We have already had an incredible outpouring of donations, with generous contributors from the ski community and corporate partners getting us within reach of our goal! But we need your help in order to have reliable cross-country skiing starting Fall 2018, and thereafter each year from November through March, once the cold hits.
Grand Avenue Nordic Center will include:
Nordic-dedicated snowmaking for early- and late-season skiing right here in Duluth!
New 3.3 km cross-country ski trail developed by one of the country’s best Nordic trail designers
Connector trail linking the new trail to the 20 km of existing trail at the top of Spirit Mountain
‘Dark sky’ LED trail lighting for early morning and evening skiing
Full-service chalet (Grand Avenue Chalet) at the trailhead, and venue for hosting events & races
Expert grooming for high-quality ski conditions every day
Welcoming atmosphere for new skiers, and a safe place to help young skiers learn and grow
A boost for winter tourism in Duluth
Funding the Future of Nordic Skiing in Duluth
Grand Avenue Nordic Center is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure the future of Nordic skiing in Duluth. And it’s going to take ALL OF US to reach this goal. Consider how amazing it would be to have reliable, early-season skiing right in town, as well as how little most us have had to pay over the years for our Nordic ski trails in Duluth.
Your generosity will be tax deductible and can be structured in whatever way works best for you: monthly payments, one-time payment, recurring credit card deductions, even stock donations. Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or comments by email at , or call the Capital Campaign Committee Chair, Cory Salmela, at (218) 590-4448. It’s great to be a skier from Duluth – let’s seize this opportunity to make it even better. THINK SNOW!
To contribute, you can download the pledge card available by clicking here, or make a donation here on our website by clicking the yellow 'Donate' button at the bottom of the page.
Since late 2013, a group of community volunteers has been working through DXC to preserve the historic Lester-Amity Chalet on Seven Bridges Road. Rather than see it demolished due to non-use, in 2014 the Duluth City Council signed chalet operations over to DXC for an initial 10-year term (with potential to re-up). With community support and Parks & Recreation grants, the Chalet has received several much-needed upgrades since then, including new windows, restored plumbing and restroom fixtures, and a new furnace, water heater and electrical system upgrades.
Future plans include improved water abatement, an upgraded kitchen space, installing an ADA accessible patio and transforming the garage into a wax room. The Chalet will be open again as a warming house this winter 2017-2018. We envision the Chalet being a cozy place to warm up with soup, coffee and hot chocolate, put on boots and take them off, and a place to gather for adventures on the Lester-Amity ski, bike and hiking trails. DXC’s goal is to develop an asset that can be enjoyed by skiers, hikers, bikers and be a home for community events and a center for outdoor recreation for years to come. Read more by clicking here.
Capital Campaign Committee
Cory Salmela, Committee Chair