Spirit Mountain Excecutive Director and General Manager Resign, Interim Director Named

Spirit Mountain Executive Director Brandy Ream and her husband Jody who is the general manager will complete their employment at the end of the month as the attraction faces one of the most financially challenging times since it opened in 1974.

DULUTH, Minn. – A major leadership shake-up has been announced at the cash-strapped Spirit Mountain Resort in Duluth that’s been shut down since COVID-19 hit.

Spirit Mountain Executive Director Brandy Ream and her husband Jody who is the general manager will complete their employment at the end of the month as the attraction faces one of the most financially challenging times since it opened in 1974.

Spirit Mountain’s Board of Directors released a two-sentence statement Monday.

“On behalf of the board, we would like to thank the Ream’s for their six years of service,” said Superior Mountain Recreation Area Authority Board Chair Aaron Stolp. “We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.”

Ream, herself, was not available for comment.

Meanwhile, Ann Glumac will serve as the interim executive director at Spirit Mountain.

She’s the former president of the Great Lakes Aquarium and has been an interim executive director for seven other non-profits.

The mayor’s office at the city of Duluth issued a statement on Monday regarding the change in leadership:

“The City of Duluth acknowledges the Reams service to Spirit Mountain Recreation Area Authority and welcomes Ann Glumac to her new role. In the months to come, the City of Duluth will continue to work with Ann and the Spirit Mountain board of directors to ensure that they have the resources that they need. We look forward to working alongside this group to determine ways that Spirit Mountain can achieve long-term financial and operational sustainability.”

The change in leadership at the year-round operation comes just weeks after Mayor Emily Larson announced a newly formed task force which includes Duluth Councilor Janet Kennedy to help figure out a more financially stable future for Spirit Mountain.

“It’s time we take a really deep dive and look at the viability of Spirit Mountain for our community and what that looks like in terms of having the sustainability and resiliency that it needs as a business,” said Councilor Janet Kennedy who is a co-chair of the task force.

But the most immediate decision for the task force and councilors is whether to reopen this winter which will cost the city an additional $350,000 to do so until winter cash flow returns.

If the mountain doesn’t open this winter, the city of Duluth would be obligated to pay up to $2.6 million of Spirit Mountain’s outstanding debt, season pass refunds, payroll, and accounts payable that it would not be able to pay.

“But we need to reimagine as far as it being more than a ski hill. There’s’ so many other opportunities for recreation and or do we need to let it go too that’s one of the questions as well,” said Councilor Kennedy.

The Spirit Mountain task force of 13 residents and Councilors Kennedy and Arik Forsman have their first meeting this Friday.

Their overall goal is to have a final report of recommendations done by February for Mayor Larson, city councilors, and Spirit Mountain’s Board of Directors.

 

 

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