DULUTH -- The Spirit Mountain ski hill appeared to be on track to have its shortest ski season ever this year, until Monday night, when the Duluth City Council intervened, providing $235,000 in aid to the financially beleaguered ski destination.

By an 8-1 vote councilors approved the subsidy. Without the support, Spirit Mountain Executive Director Brandy Ream warned the ski hill would have had barely enough to meet its payroll later this week and would have been forced to close its doors before even reaching the historically lucrative holiday season.

She blames the shortfall on the heavy Nov. 30 snow that prompted organizers to cut short the 2019 Amsoil Duluth National Snocross races. The expensive but abbreviated pro snowmobile event left Spirit Mountain with a $235,000 loss this year, and Ream said the ski hill lacks sufficient reserves to sustain operations.

However, if Spirit Mountain can make it to the holidays, Ream expressed confidence the recreation area will be able to regain its financial footing. She believes the financial infusion the Duluth City Council approved Monday should get the operation over the hump.

Funding for the subsidy will come from the city of Duluth's tourism tax reserves.