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Skiing Minnesota

Making tracks up, down, over, and around the Twin Cities

Skiing Minnesota
Photo by Todd Buchanan

(page 1 of 4)

Think you have to head west to get your skiing fix? Think again. Not only do you not have to travel across the country to slalom the slopes or skate the trails, you don’t even have to drive far from the Twin Cities. Some 100 cross-country ski-trail systems lie within an hour’s drive of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as a handful of well-groomed, well-managed hills for downhill enthusiasts.


Afton Alps

Afton Alps, carved out of the bluffs sloping down to the St. Croix River, rates as the largest downhill-ski run within an hour of the Twin Cities. The park covers 300 acres and includes 48 trails, a 350-foot vertical drop, and an impressively long run of 3,000 feet. The slopes are accessible for all levels of skiers, with the majority of them clocking in at beginner or intermediate ratings. Snowboarders and tubers are also welcome, as are first-timers (lessons are available) and racers.

Address: 6600 Peller Ave. S., Hastings
Website: aftonalps.com
Phone: 651-436-5245


Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area

Spread across a steep bluff overlooking the Cannon River valley, Welch Village may be the best hill available to Twin Cities skiers, short of driving to Giants Ridge or the North Shore. There are 60 trails spanning 140 acres, and  the longest run measures 1,300 feet. The park has a nice variety for both beginners and experts, and consistently gets high marks for its well-groomed trails. Snowboarders are welcome, and the Village regularly holds races and offers lessons and family specials.

Address: 26685 County Rd. 7 Blvd., Welch
Website: welchvillage.com
Phone: 651-258-4567


Buck Hill

Buck Hill is a tiny slope—just 50 acres with 15 trails—jammed up against a busy freeway, but two things position it as one of the area’s most popular hills: a convenient location and an aggressive racing program that has produced such skiers as World Cup and Olympic champions Kristina Koznick and Lindsey Vonn. The park has a 310-foot vertical and its longest run measures just over 1,000 feet. Snowboarders and tubers are welcome, and lessons are available.

Address: 15400 Buck Hill Rd., Burnsville
Website: buckhill.com
Phone: 952-435-7174


Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Jan 28, 2013 11:32 am
 Posted by  afrischmon

Dear MN Monthly and Mr. Breining,

I was disappointed after reading your article that you did not mention Wild Mountain in your list of ski areas in MN. Wild Mountain is a great ski area located only 45 - 50 minutes northeast of the Twin Cities. I think that your readership would enjoy skiing and riding at Wild Mountain and will have missed having the opportunity to learn about our area.

We are located right in the St Croix Valley and the drive is beautiful. We are not as busy as say Afton or Buck, but our conditions are typically the best in the Midwest and many of our guests choose to drive past other MN areas to come visit us because of our terrain, customer service and our fabulous conditions.

I hope that in the future you will not forget about us.


Amy Frischmon

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