Tech to Dedicate Lighted Ski Trails, New Ski Lift Dec. 20

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Dec. 7, 2007--With knee-high snow blanketing the ground well before the winter solstice, you couldn't pick a better time to celebrate the new chair lift at Mont Ripley Ski Hill and new lights along the Michigan Tech Nordic Ski Trails.

Michigan Technological University will hold back-to-back dedication ceremonies for these two major improvements to its outdoor recreation facilities on Thursday, Dec. 20. The ski lift will be dedicated at 4 p.m. at the ski hill in Ripley, followed by a 5 p.m. ceremony at the cross-country ski trails on Sharon Avenue.

Refreshments will be served at both sites, and a bonfire is planned at the ski trails.

The lighted trails are already drawing plenty of skiers. "There are lots of people up there already cross-country skiing in the evening," said Mike Abbott, Michigan Tech's director of sports and recreation. Lights posted along seven kilometers of trails are lit from dusk until 10 p.m. nightly.

“Between trail passes being sold at a record pace and all this snow, I can't stop smiling," Abbott said.

The total cost of the trail-lighting project is approximately $120,000, funded in part by a $25,000 gift from alumnus Richard Robbins of Seattle and his wife, Bonnie Robbins. Portage Health System donated an additional $20,000.

The Robbins family also donated $25,000 to help fund improvements at Mt. Ripley, including the chair lift, a refurbished, second-hand model acquired for the bargain price of $250,000; installation cost an additional $250,000. The ski hill has also added eight new energy-efficient snow machines. "With global warming, we have to make snow whenever we can," Abbott said, "and these use one-quarter the power of older models."

The new lift, called the Copper Hoist, will run up the east side of the mountain and improve access to half a dozen ski runs. "We're pretty excited," said Nick Sirdenis, the ski hill manager. "It's opening up a lot of terrain."

The Copper Hoist brings to three the number of lifts operating at Mt. Ripley. The T-bar runs up the middle of the hill, and the Husky Lift serves the west side.

For more information on Mont Ripley Ski Hill, visit To learn more about the Michigan Tech Trails, visit

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.