^Big Snow Trail Map. Indianhead (Left), Blackjack (Right)
Charles Skinner, the owner of Lutsen Mountains, MN and Granite Peak Ski Area, WI, is extending his reach on Midwest ski areas.
Granite Peak GM Greg Fisher just announced via press release that Skinner has purchased Big Snow Resort in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Big Snow consists of two adjacent ski areas- Indianhead and Blackjack ski areas. The ski areas are large by Midwestern standards, and are well-known for their snowfall. They average 200″ per season thanks to lake effect snow from Lake Superior to the north and west.
I’ve heard rumors over the last few months that Big Snow was in need of a new owner, and I’m happy to see it fall into the hands of Charles Skinner.
^Courtesy: Big Snow Resort
I’ve skied Granite Peak numerous times over the last couple of seasons, and I’ve been impressed with the investments made by Skinner and the work GM Greg Fisher have done with it. I’m sure that same attention will be given to Big Snow once the deal is done.
Skinner now has an impressive portfolio in the Midwest. Lutsen is the largest in Minnesota, Granite Peak is the largest in Wisconsin, and Big Snow is effectively the largest ‘traditional’ ski resort in Michigan (Mount Bohemia is bigger).
Lutsen and Granite Peak are both on the Indy Pass. I wouldn’t be surprised if Big Snow joins the ranks for next season, but stay tuned. We’ll provide any updates on that matter as we receive information.
^Indianhead (foreground), Blackjack (background) Courtesy: Big Snow Resort
Big Snow Resort (Michigan) Stats/Info
Indianhead Mountain Stats
Skiable Acreage: 230 acres
Average Snowfall: 200″
Blackjack Mountain Stats
Skiable Acreage: 170 acres
Average Snowfall: 200″
Full press release from Granite Peak General Manager Greg Fisher:
Owner of Lutsen Mountains & Granite Peak to Purchase Michigan’s Big Snow Resort
Charles Skinner to acquire the largest ski area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Lutsen, MN, and Wausau, WI (May 25, 2022) – Charles Skinner, the owner of Minnesota’s Lutsen Mountains Ski Area and Wisconsin’s Granite Peak Ski Area, has a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Big Snow Resort, which consists of Indianhead and Blackjack ski areas, from Art Dumke. Skinner’s family has owned and operated vacation destination ski areas catering to Midwest families for 60 years.
All the resorts in the Skinner ownership portfolio are accessible to Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis/St. Paul markets, offering customers outstanding affordability and the luxury of travel flexibility.
Big Snow Resort in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, known as “Big Snow Country,” so named thanks to the lake effect snowfall of Lake Superior, delivering 200-inch averages annually. Indianhead was the first ski resort built in this region of Michigan, while Blackjack is the most recent ski area built in 1977.
“We are thrilled that these two historical, Upper Michigan ski areas, known for their prodigious powder snow, will be joining our legendary family of resorts in Minnesota and Wisconsin,” stated Charles Skinner. “The current owner and his excellent staff have done a terrific job honoring the legacy of Indianhead and Blackjack and combining them into the largest ski area in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We intend to build upon this work by investing in new lifts, snowmaking and base area infrastructure at Big Snow soon.”
Big Snow will join the tradition of its sister resorts providing Midwest families with diverse and high-quality alpine ski vacations in some of the most picturesque areas in the Midwest.
“I would first like to say how grateful we are to the many awesome employees, skiers, and community members who we’ve had the privilege of serving and working with the past many years,” stated Art Dumke, owner of Big Snow Resorts. “I’m also pleased that the new ownership has so much expertise in operating premium Midwest ski areas and is vested in improving the ski area for skiers, employees, and the community.”
“We’re committed to providing Midwest families with great destinations close to home that offer the best snow, great customer service, and fast, modern ski lifts,” added Charlotte Skinner, VP of Finance and Resource Management. “We are planning major investments at Big Snow that we know everyone will be very excited about when details are announced later this summer.”
The Skinner Family plans to retain all Big Snow Resort’s current employees. “Art has told us great things about the current staff, and we look forward to working with the entire team on this exciting new chapter for this legendary resort,” explained Charlotte Skinner. “The current management team will enjoy support from our management teams at Lutsen and Granite Peak, and our goal is always to be the best employer in the region.”
“This transaction will strengthen all three areas. We will continue our pace of investments at both Lutsen and Granite Peak,” emphasized Charles Skinner. “At Lutsen, we are pleased to announce that we will be installing a new, high-speed, 6-place chairlift from Leitner Poma on Eagle Mountain next summer to replace the ‘Bridge Lift.’ This summer, major investments are also taking place in snowmaking and a host of building improvements at both Lutsen and Granite Peak.”
The transaction includes all of the assets of Big Snow Resort, including over 1,000 acres of private land. The closing, subject to financing and due diligence completion, is expected to occur by the end of July.