Minnesota’s Lost Ski Area Converted to Campground and Park

“There’s a whole story there: the love, the hate, the birth, the death, the good times and the very dark bad times. It all moved and manifested into a beautiful legacy, cherished by thousands. We are all so happy that the public can enjoy it again. »– Sharon Peterson, daughter of the former owners of the Val Chatel ski area

In terms of repurposing a lost ski area, this is one of the best ideas I’ve seen. The Star Tribune reports that Trust for Public Land has bought the 352-acre property that once housed the Val Chatel ski area in Minnesota. The land was transferred to the Trust for Public Land with the help of an anonymous donor. Hubbard County Land Commissioner Mark “Chip” Lohmeier works with the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission “to designate the property as a regional park, which opens up sources of state funding.” The conservation group hopes to add it to the Paul Bunyon State Forest.

Deep Lake Regional Park hopes to open in 2024 and will include “Camping and trails for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The campground will include separate modules for “larger motorhomes, smaller motorhomes and tents, places near the lake and more primitive packing or canoeing sites scattered around the edge of the lake.” The terrain features an impressive amount of biodiversity, with native plants such as sedge meadows and forests of oak, aspen and red maple, and Deep Lake is part of a geological underground valley.

The ski area was founded by Rodney and Helen Peterson in the mid-1950s. Val Chatel featured a base lodge filled with gingerbread, live yodeling music and goats that roamed the grounds for many years. Rodney and Helen Peterson separated in the 1980s and closed the ski area shortly thereafter. The buildings that were part of the Val Chatel ski area will be demolished. Image credits: Star Tribune, Skimap.org