During a pandemic, are Minnesotans still hitting the slopes?

A drone shot of a ski hill.
Spirit Mountain just before sunset on Jan. 12, as seen from above the Norton Park neighborhood in Duluth, Minn.
Derek Montgomery for MPR News file

A fall report showed that coronavirus had leveled a $5 billion hit to Minnesota’s tourism industry so far. So how are winter tourism and outdoor sports in northern Minnesota faring?

Minnesotans are known for their love of outdoor activities, and their enthusiasm for cold weather sports like skiing and snowshoeing — pandemic or not. Friday, Host Angela Davis talked with the executive director of Cook County’s convention and visitor’s bureau and an expert who studies tourism for the University of Minnesota about how the pandemic has affected popular winter travel and recreation destinations in the state.


  • Linda Jurek is the executive director of Visit Cook County, a collaboration of tourism associations in Cook County, Minn. It advocates for the tourism industries in Lutsen, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail, Grand Portage and other locations.

  • Lisa Qian is a tourism specialist and extension educator at the University of Minnesota Tourism Center, where she studies the tourism industry.

  • Dan Kraker is a MPR News correspondent based in Duluth, Minn.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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