Review: Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area

I know our little ski hills in Minnesota are a far cry from the mountains, but we’re pretty fortunate that so many communities have developed a place for us to ski or snowboard during our loooong, cold winter season.

I’ve been to Afton Alps, Hyland, Trollhaugen, Wild Mountain, Spirit Mountain, and the “grand-daddy of them all,” Lutsen Mountains, but had yet to try Welch Village until last Sunday.

In under an hour, my husband Aaron and I went from locking our front door to strapping on our boards.

The sun was shining, the temp was close to 30 (it felt like a regular heat wave after our record-breaking school-closing frigid temps early in the week), and people were out in full force making the most of it.

The first thing I noticed was how compact Welch is (although I later learned there’s a Back Bowl that you can’t see from the lot); the second thing I noticed was how many families were out. It would be pretty hard to get lost at Welch, which may appeal to families, that and the number of green (easy) runs.

After spending an afternoon on the slopes, I liked the number of chairlifts (we never had to wait too long in line), the well-groomed snow, and the variety of terrain (I didn’t try the double black diamond run, but our friend Jeremy—a talented snowboarder—said he thought the black diamonds were some of the best in the state). There’s also a mini terrain park for those who like to ride rails, boxes, and rollers—no jumps, though.

Two friends who took ski lessons also had a good experience with the patient instructor, the easy terrain, and the rental process. There’s a magic carpet lift for the little ones who are new to the sport, and plenty of other beginners learning in order to ease jittery nerves. (Strength in numbers, right?).

Rather than eat and drink in the crowded chalet, we drove to nearby Red Wing and had pizza and beer at the Red Wing Brewery (check this blog next week for the full review). There’s also a supper club in Hastings, Wiederholt’s, that features American fare and live music if that’s more your style, and Kings Bar and Grill in Miesville known for great burgers.

While we were in Red Wing, I wished we had more time to explore. I’ve always loved the small-town vibe and friendly people in Red Wing. It feels like small-town life at its best—they’ve kept up with the times while staying true to their roots. The next time we go to Welch, I’d like to make a full day of it and either stop at Treasure Island Casino, see a performance at the Sheldon Theatre, or shop at Red Wing Pottery, Pottery Place Antiques, or Red Wing Shoes before heading home.

Lift tickets to Welch can be expensive, so plan ahead to get your money’s worth. All Day Flex lift tickets are $49 for adults 11-61 and $44 for youth 5-10 and seniors 62 and over. Tickets drop to $43 for adults and $38 for youth and seniors after 1 p.m., and $37 for adults and $32 for youth and seniors after 4 p.m. Turn in your All Day Flex ticket within four hours and get a $10 gift card. Turn in your Afternoon Flex ticket within four hours and get a $5 gift card. Gift cards can be used for any future purchase of lift tickets, season passes, rentals, lessons, or ski/tune shop.  Use of any type of discount or voucher invalidates this early return option. Discounted tickets are available for families, college students, and military personnel. General hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.