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Winter Resolution: Start Downhill Skiing



My resolution this winter: Get outdoors.

I know, I know… I’m a native Minnesotan—I should be ice skating, snowshoeing, snow tubing, and walking to work without a coat. It’s not cold!

But I’m not. At least, not very often…

Though I’m certainly proud of all this great state has to offer and would defend it ‘til my tongue was on that flagpole, I was born into a basketball family. The gym was our second home, not the slopes.

But the days of true injury worries—don’t break that wrist, your coach will kill you!—are past, and as long as my typing fingers are working, I should be OK. Plus, three years of traveling to visit my brother at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has not gotten me in skiis, so perhaps it's time for baby steps.

Yes, I admit that: We're no Colorado. But for a state with tons of snow, endless winter courage, and no mountains, I think we do pretty well.

downhill skiingWhich makes my resolution pretty easy—to at least attempt.

Seven miles north of Taylors Falls (that’s 65 miles or about 1 hour 20 minutes for those of you traveling from MSP Airport), along the St. Croix River, is Wild Mountain—and they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. With classes every day and night and 26 runs across 100 acres, it's a great place for a beginner like me to start.

Group lessons are only $10/session for adults, offered many times a day. I'll probably take that route, because let's be honest, I'm bound to be better than at least a couple other people, right? You can also schedule a one-on-one though, at $50/person for the first hour, with discounts following for additional time and people. Yes, there are general ticket and rental fees as well (Forget the height, maybe that’s why my parents steered us to basketball?!), but the thrilled faces on the helpful Wild Mountain website tell me it’s worth it.

This weekend, you can even watch the Friday and Sunday ski challenges for inspiration, or start kids (4-12 skiing, 6-12 snowboarding) in their very own eight-week program of lessons with the Wild Cat Club.

FYI to those who aren’t within same-day driving distance—or those who know you’ll be too tired to drive no matter what—there are lots of nearby hotels, motels or B&Bs to turn it into a fun weekend.

Kelly as Lindsey VonnAll in all, it sounds like a commitment I can definitely handle.

If all goes well, maybe 2010’s Lindsey Vonn costume can actually come to life—though I’m comforted to see the Wild Mountain Ski Patrol will come to the rescue if I need it.

Wild Mountain: 37200 Wild Mountain Road, Taylors Falls, MN 55084; ski@wildmountain.com

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