MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Few know skiing and snowboarding in Minnesota better than Amy Reents.

“My father started Afton Alps in 1963,” she said.

Afton Alps has been a family business for the last 50 years. But Reents’ family is marking its silver anniversary with change.

“It’s kind of a perfect mix of doing something I love, but yet giving it that opportunity to grow and letting it be all it can be,” Reents said.

Afton Alps is now under the ownership of Vail Resorts, and the new ownership brings a new look. Vail Resorts invested $10 million into an expansion and upgrade project this past year.

“It’s the biggest improvement and one time influx of improvements that Afton’s ever seen,” said Tracy Graff of Vail Resorts.

The most noticeable change is the new terrain park. The park is three times larger with more rails, jumps and challenges.

It was designed by Snow Park Technologies, the builder and designer of the Winter X Games courses.

“It’s really, really nice. Better than anything we’ve had before this,” said Peyton Baker, a snowboarder.

The updates also include a new lift ticket scanning system, which allows for faster access to the lift. Skiers and snowboarders can also track their vertical feet and earn digital pins for on-slope accomplishments.

Vail Resorts also oversaw a complete overhaul and expansion of the snow making capabilities. The new equipment will allow Afton to make snow faster and allow the hills to stay snow covered longer into the season.

When it’s time for a break, renovated restaurants and updated menus offer a new experience off the hill.

“Just taking it to that next level,” Graff said. “Vail Ski Resorts is known for very impressive ski resorts and we wanted to bring Afton into our resorts.”

Even with new ownership, Reents’ family is still involved in the business. Vail Resorts relied on them for improvement input and the family still works at the ski hill.

“It’s our family gem,” Reents said. “It’s who we are, it’s still who we are.”

Certain season pass holders who buy the Epic Pass will also get to take advantage of the Vail facilities in Colorado, Lake Tahoe and Utah.

For more information, go to AftonAlps.com


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