Skip the Mountain Crowds: Discover the Finest Skier in Minnesota This Winter

The 18 ski resorts in Minnesota have exactly what you need, whether you’re an expert or just starting out. Here we highlight the various ski resorts around the North Star State for its remarkable slopes, activities, and accommodations.

Skiers and snowboarders can tackle a variety of terrains across Minnesota. from backcountry trails to technical parks. Many of the state’s scenic slopes are just a short drive from various Minnesota cities, and offer additional adventure for anyone planning to explore the state this winter.

Find your true northern adventure on the Minnesota slopes

Skiers in the Afton Alps

As with most travel plans this year, it’s best to double-check all of them COVID-related updates before driving to a ski area. Explore Minnesota also has a summary of information too Indoor and outdoor guidelines and safe travel practices.

CO Bobcat CliffBobcat Cliff in the Lutsen Mountains

Ski Minnesota: Where To?

Next mountain experience: Lutsen

Lutsen is as close to a Rocky Mountain atmosphere as you can get in the area. The resort has four mountains, 95 runs, and an elevation gain of 825 feet.

From above you have a wonderful view of the Upper Lake, which extends over the horizon. There is terrain for skiers and snowboarders with a range of experience, from simple cruisers to real shredders. It has two mountain chalets and a gondola. Additionally, the Log Drops, Halfpipes, and Multiple Skills Parks are a great place to test your skills.

Most beginner friendly: Buck Hill

Buck Hill ski area at night BurnsvilleBuck Hill at night

Buck Hill is legendary as a small area that has developed (with coaching) a number of Olympic skiers, particularly Lindsey Vonn. It’s a shining example of how skiing in the Midwest means getting the most out of what you have.

And Buck Hill really rolls out the carpet for beginners – in the truest sense of the word. It has the longest magic carpet in the country and six green slopes. It offers lessons for adults and children as well as ski teams and skill development programs. There are also six intermediate runs and two expert runs, so it is not uncommon for three generations to hit the slopes together.

Other ski areas with plenty of green slopes to check out are available What a village, Wild mountain, Assemble Kato, Detroit Mountain, Afton Alps, Giants Ridge, and Lutsen.

Hyland Hills ParkHyland Hills Skills Park

Great all-round snow activities: Hyland Hills and Spirit Mountain

There are more ways to play in the snow than just skiing or snowboarding. Cross-country skiing is a close relative, but some ski resorts have special trails for snowmobiles or fat bikes. And we hear that snow tubing is a great way to get in touch with your inner child.

Hyland Hills has a reputation for its snowmaking, maintenance and tricky terrain park. But that’s not all. The 1,000 hectare park provided space for cross-country ski trails, snowshoe trails and a Nordic ski jumping complex.

Meanwhile, Ghost Mountain has miles of cross-country skiing and snow tubing on weekends.

Mount Itasca offers ski jumping as well as a full biathlon complex if you want to take things to the next level.

Taking a break is part of the fun. Relax in the Riverside Bar and Grill or Moosehead Saloon.

Other ski areas with more play options are Mount Ski Gull and Elm Creek.

Great for kids and families: Andes Tower Hills, Mount Kato and Powder Ridge

Snowboarding in MinnesotaSnowboarders in Buck Hill

One way to grow a family of skiers is to help them have fun in a ski resort, even if it means something other than skiing. They can get tired quickly, so some fallback activities can help them stay engaged.

By avoiding the crowds, beginners can focus on what they are doing. Even some of the better known ski resorts have some isolated runs. But you might want to consider something off the beaten path as a way to develop your skills.

Andes Tower Hills has 15 slopes and two terrain parks. And the whole family can get ready in their pro shop, rental shop and ski school. Or get off your skis and take part in one of the four snow tube runs.

Also along the Minnesota River Valley, Mount Kato The ski area has space for 19 trails and eight chair lifts. It’s a good choice for a family with a different skiing experience and to get away from the crowds. When the runs are over, have a bite to eat in the chalet or in the lift bar.

Powder Ridge has five lifts and runs for different levels of difficulty. Its longest run falls 290 feet over 2,650 feet. There are also three terrain parks, one of which has smaller features. And of course there is the snow tube area with various bumps and descents on controlled lanes.

Detroit Mountain; Photo credit: Paul Vincent

Great on-site accommodations and amenities: Giants Ridge and Lutsen Mountains

Sometimes you want skiing to be part of a full day of fun. With upscale restaurants and accommodations on-site, you can extend the pleasure of a ski vacation by enjoying the resort amenities and discovering new cuisines or popular comfort foods.

Yes, Giants Ridge has 35 runs and some off-road parks, but we want to focus on the indoor options. The lodge is an all-suite hotel with different room sizes, some of which have a fireplace or jacuzzi to relax after a long day on the slopes. For more secluded stays there are the villas and the more rustic Green Gate Guest Houses. Most rooms have views of the slopes or the Superior National Forest.

Lutsen deserves another mention here for its Hillside accommodation Options. Eagle Ridge offers ski-in-ski-out access and room options such as a fireplace, sauna or hot tub – as do some of the suites and lodge rooms on Lake Superior.

There is no shortage of ways to relax after the activity. The Strand Waterfront Dining Room or Papa Charlie’s with indoor and outdoor seating offer views of the slopes and the lake.

Papa-Charlie's-Apres-ToastPapa Charlie is in the Lutsen Mountains

Most Unique: Coffee Grinder, Buena Vista, and Chester Bowl

These ski resorts provide the same services for skiers, snowboarders, and tubers as other areas listed above, but offer unique experiences that the others don’t.

coffee grinder is known for ski slopes in long gorges thanks to the unique topography of the region, which has never been glaciated. There is space for the family to ride together in high-performance chairs and then tackle the long, wide slopes through thick rows of trees.

Of its 16 runs, Good viewThe longest stretch of 2,000 feet includes an elevation gain of 230 feet. The area also has a three story chalet with fireplaces and a cafe. During your stay, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride or stroll the Lumberjack Hall of Fame.

Chester Bowl Covers 119 acres in Duluth and can move nearly 1,000 skiers and snowboarders in an hour. Other outstanding features are ski and board races for children as well as a 3 km long cross-country ski run for experienced skiers with a view of the city and the Upper Lake.

Find your true northern adventure on the Minnesota slopes

Night shot-full moon-Lutsen-MNLutsen Mountains at night

This article is sponsored by Discover Minnesota and the Minnesota Ski Areas Association.

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