Edit ModuleShow Tags

Life Lessons While Skiing Afton Alps


Young or old, we all experience moments of clarity. It’s that “aha” revelation when a toddler discovers a certain block does fit through that hole, when a student finds the key to finally understanding econ, or in the case of one of my skiing companions last weekend, the first time in his newly married adult life when he realized: My wife is totally right.

For the sake of his marriage, let me clarify: She has been right plenty of times. But this was the first shout-it-from-the-snow-covered-hilltops “I-told-you-so!” moment.

skiing Afton Alps

Photo provided by Afton ALPS

You see, with a little encouragement and lots of ribbing, my sister-in-law and I roped him into tackling my new winter sport, downhill skiing. Cut from the same cloth, my brother is equally competitive and a little stubborn, so naturally hesitant to try a new sport. Would he fall? Would it be freezing cold? Why not just stick to a sport he’s already good at?!

But his wife begged to differ. She learned in her 20s, really enjoys skiing in Minnesota and Colorado, and knew he could too. But it took a trip to Afton Alps to prove her right.

After filling out a couple forms and swinging through the rental rooms to get boots, skis, poles, and an optional helmet (just do it, I’ll prove why later), we were ready to go. Note: Size shouldn’t be an issue because my bro is 6’9” and they fit him just fine.

Afton offers plenty of resources for beginners: a daily, complimentary hour lesson, additional group ($20/hr) and private lessons ($45/hr), plus a “Ski and Ride Simplified” plan where you receive a swipe card valid for three lift tickets after 4:30 p.m. any day, three ski or snowboard rentals, and three one-hour lessons for $99. There’s also a Snow Sports Academy for those really wanting to commit and learn over many weeks.

Maybe I should have invested in one of those options, because soon after my brother took a few trips down the starter hill and came back grinning ear to ear—He could do this! He could love this!—I had a personal revelation of my own: If at first you succeed, try, try again, and you’re bound to mess up!

Ok, that’s not how the saying goes. But it feels appropriate considering my fall-free experience at Trollhaugen and then the out-of-control, barreling-down-the-hill-with-not-enough-skill-or-leg-power-to-stop episode at Afton. (Picture a flash of red, gathering speed, taking the lift of a ridge that's supposed to be your stopping point, and twisting and turning to eventually land in a remarkably safe, pain-free ball!)

snowboarding at Afton Alps

Photo provided by Afton Alps

One day clearly does not an expert skiier/snowboarder make, but it's an exhilarating, great Minnesota sport that flourishes regardless of how many feet of snowfall we get.

And my brother is ready to go back.

Check their site for numerous ongoing specials or events and discount days. The night rate (seven days a week) is from 4:30 p.m. until close (adults 13-61 $29, children 6-12 $23, seniors 62+ $23). Typical rates for weekend lift tickets are $42 (13-61), $31 (6-12 and seniors) and during the week, $31 or $24. Rentals range from $4-$25 typically.

They’re open and producing snow (if needed) from December to March. Go, give it a try or rediscover Minnesota slopes—you can ski, snowboard, tube, and even hang out in Paul’s Pub during live music nights.

Take the risk. Humble pie can be tasty!

Afton Alps
6600 Peller Ave. S., Hastings
1-800-328-1328, aftonalps.com

Winter ski/snowboard hours:
Monday thru Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Friday, Saturday and Holidays 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: April

Sue Z.'s picks for philanthropic food events in April will have you supporting women chefs, sipping crafty cocktails, and celebrating Cookie Cart's 30th birthday

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town

11 Easter Egg Hunts: From Flashlights to Geocaching

Yes, there's an annual adults-only Easter egg hunt in Rochester—and another for dogs, and another with geocaching, and another that drops them out of the sky. Check out more of the best egg hunts around Minnesota.

Rock Climbing in Minnesota

Rock on this spring at climbing gyms and favorite outdoor spots around Minnesota

5 Natural Wonders in Minnesota

Mother Nature takes the best selfies

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month

5 Must-See Minnesota Public Gardens

Visiting these botanical wonders are sure to make your daisy
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags