^Blackjack Mountain, now known as Black River Basin
Charles Skinner was already the proud owner of the largest ski areas in both Wisconsin (Granite Peak) and Minnesota (Lutsen Mountains), and has now of one the largest in Michigan.
Skinner has completed his purchase of Big Snow Resort in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The resort is comprised of two separate ski areas- Blackjack Mountain and Indianhead Mountain.
^Formally known as Blackjack and Indianhead Mountains, the two ski areas are within a short drive from one another. Lift ticket holders can ski both mountains with one pass.
Skinner’s purchase of Big Snow is coming with name changes.
The resort will now be known collectively as ‘Snowriver Mountain Resort’ with Blackjack being called ‘Black River Basin’ and Indianhead being called ‘Jackson Creek Summit’.
Here’s more on the reasoning for the name change:
““There are two motivating factors for the coming name changes”, stated Skinner. “The first is a sensitivity to Native American culture. And the second is to eliminate confusion as the name Big Snow is used by another ski operation. We also feel the name changes help signal a new era of capital investment at Snowriver.”
Skinner and his daughter Charlotte Skinner have created a company to manage the three properties. Called Midwest Family Ski Resorts, the team will be comprised of upper-level management from Lutsen Mountains, Granite Peak, and Snowriver.
This might not seem like huge news for skiers and snowboarders not familiar with the Midwestern ski scene, but I can assure you that hundreds of thousands of skiers in the region are paying attention.
Skinner has amassed three of the top five ski properties in the Midwest under his umbrella. I’ve personally had very positive experiences at Granite Peak Ski area over the last few seasons, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Skinner can do now that Snowriver is under his umbrella.
Important to note that the press release hints that a future lift will be constructed to join the ski areas together. I’m excited to see that play out.
Important to note that both Lutsen Mountains and Granite Peak Ski Area are partner resorts on The Indy Pass. Will Skinner’s acquisition mean that Snowriver will join the pass?
Stay tuned here at Unofficial Networks. We’ll keep you posted on what we hear.
Full press release below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE SKINNER FAMILY CLOSES ON ACQUISITION OF BIG SNOW RESORT, MICHIGAN
Big Snow Resort, Indianhead & Blackjack Names to be Phased Out
Duluth, Minnesota (August 29, 2022) – Charles Skinner, Jr. has completed the acquisition of the ski resort from Art Dumke. The purchase includes the two historic UP ski areas of Indianhead and Blackjack, plus restaurants, a hotel, and numerous guest service buildings.
The resort name will transition to a new resort brand of Snowriver Mountain Resort, and the Blackjack and Indianhead base areas will be named after the two rivers flowing through the resort, Black River Basin (Blackjack) and Jackson Creek Summit (Indianhead).
“There are two motivating factors for the coming name changes”, stated Skinner. “The first is a sensitivity to Native American culture. And the second is to eliminate confusion as the name Big Snow is used by
another ski operation. We also feel the name changes help signal a new era of capital investment at Snowriver.
“Our mission is to provide healthy, outdoor recreation of the highest quality to the Midwest, especially families,” added Skinner. “Indianhead was the first ski area in the Upper Peninsula. The staff and previous ownership did a great job combining two ski areas into one and improving operations. Our team is excited to welcome the resort staff to our family of resorts.”
Snowriver will continue to offer a single lift ticket for the entire resort, and to provide shuttle transportation until a connecting lift is constructed.
With the acquisition, Skinner and his daughter Charlotte Skinner have created a cross-company team of mangers called Midwest Family Ski Resorts, which will manage the properties under their ownership. Charlotte, with an MBA from Columbia University and finance experience at public technology companies, will take on the Chief of Staff and Chief Financial Officer role and report to her father, the President, and CEO (Chief Executive Officer).
Jim Vick, current GM & Marketing Director at Lutsen, will take on the Chief of Ski Terrain role. Vick will ensure excellence in grooming, snow quality, and varied terrain across the resorts. Greg Fisher, current GM & Marketing Director at Granite Peak, has been named Chief Marketing Officer. Fisher will direct all marketing, communications, and advertising for the properties. Vick and Fisher will maintain their General Manager roles and be based at Lutsen Mountains and Granite Peak, respectively.
In addition, Amanda Plummer has been named Chief Data Officer (based at Lutsen), and Caitlin Eisch, has been promoted to the Chief Employee Experience Officer. Several other key managers have been
named to cross-company roles as well.
“By adding the Michigan resort to our team, we identified programming, policy, and direction efficiencies. In addition, elevating veterans from each property will help our company perform better for our customers
and employees,” stated Chief of Staff Charlotte Skinner.
One of the first tasks of the new multi-mountain team will be to transition the new property to a new point of sales system as well as pass structure. The Midwest Family Ski Resorts’ Legendary Pass, that includes unlimited skiing and riding to Granite Peak and Lutsen Mountains will now include Snowriver Mountain Resort for the 22-23 season. Sales of the product have been paused across all properties while the resorts transition to this new product. Legendary Pass sales are slated to resume on September 9th with the opportunity to upgrade to the Legendary Pass prior to the end the fall pre-season pass sale.
All images credit: Midwest Family Ski Resorts