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Top Places For Minnesota Skiing And Snowboarding

December 10, 2011 8:00 AM

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When old man winter sets in, sometimes we forget how good we have it in our own backyard, and when it comes to skiing and snowboarding, we’ve got some great spots to get you up and moving this winter. Here’s a list of some of the best slopes near the Twin Cities.

292904 Top Places For Minnesota Skiing And Snowboarding

(credit: Simon Bruty/Getty Images)

Spirit Mountain

9500 Spirit Mountain Place
Duluth, MN 55810

Open late November – March
Sunday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Introductory Seasonal Pass: $139 + tax and processing fee

Twenty-two downhill runs, a 700-foot vertical drop, the Midwest’s largest Terrain Park, 22 km of Nordic Ski Trails and night skiing all make Spirit Mountain a top spot for skiing in the state, many call it the best. It has something for everyone. Take lessons in skiing or snowboarding – trained instructors will show you the way to navigate the slopes as well as tackling the basics. Word of warning, temperatures can be cold! Bundle up and keep moving! And when it’s time to call it a day, there’s plenty of lodging close-by and just minutes from all that Duluth has to offer -– a great spot for sure!

lutsen mountains Top Places For Minnesota Skiing And Snowboarding

(credit: Lutsen Mountains)

Lutsen Mountains

129 Ski Hill Road
Lutsen, MN 55612

Open Daily: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Adults: $61/day + tax, Children ages 6-12: $51/day + tax, Tots under 5: FREE w/paid adult

Often ranked #1 in the state by serious skiers, Lusten Mountain provides a true rush. This bona fide mountain is just under a 900-foot vertical drop, has 90 runs and 1,000 acres of land to cover. Check out the difference in the four peaks that have something for skiers of all levels, take the plunge on the north face of Mouse Mountain, or be challenged on the expert runs. Snowboarding is allowed all over the mountain and lessons are available as well. And the fun doesn’t end there, after a day of skiing Lutsen offers horse drawn sleigh rides, snowshoeing and dog sledding.

giants ridge Top Places For Minnesota Skiing And Snowboarding

(credit: Giants Ridge)

Giants Ridge Golf & Ski Resort

6325 Wynne Creek Drive
Biwabik, MN 55708

Hours vary by season
Open daily: Adults $29/day, Children (7-12) $19/day, Children 6 & under are free

Another winner in the world of skiing and snowboarding is Giants Ridge. With 35 downhill runs, a 500-foot vertical drop and some of the best snowboarding terrain parks around, this is a great spot especially groups and families. Want to take the skis off and still play outside? Go snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or head to the new snow tubing park. While it’s not the biggest, Giants sure is near the top when it comes to great spots to hit the slopes.

 Top Places For Minnesota Skiing And Snowboarding

(credit: Hyland Hills)

Hyland Hills Ski & Snowboard

8800 Chalet Road
Bloomington, MN 55438

Monday–Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Adults: $29/day, Children 11 and under: $26/day

Are you ready for some real snowboarding? This is a spot where snowboarders flock to and being only 20 minutes from the Twin Cities, the easy access can’t be beat. Hyland has 35 skiable acres on a 175-foot vertical, lessons and rentals available. If you’re coming here to ski, we recommend choosing another spot off our list as they cater to snowboarders –- and face it, we need a place like this! Be sure to hit French Cliff.

coffee mill ski area Top Places For Minnesota Skiing And Snowboarding

(credit: Coffee Mill Ski Area)

Coffee Mill Ski Area

99 Coulee Way
Wabasha, MN 55981

Hours vary
Adults: $30/day, Juniors: 12 & under $26/day

Coffee Mill Ski Area offers a great atmosphere, a 425-foot vertical, and its “bowl” shape protects skiers from feeling the severe cold from the cold. It is not an ultimate ski experience like some others mentioned, but with its excellent grooming, and nice pricing; Coffee Mill is a quality spot where you can really enjoy everything from the mellow slopes of Chippewa to the radical pitch of O’Chute.

Hey, while you’re at it don’t forget to check out our guide to great weekend getaways.

Meghan Marx was born and raised in the Midwest, where outdoor activity is her second nature. Meghan is a graphics artist, college professor and web designer, follow Meg at @designingmarx.

View Comments
  • TSurt

    How can you forget Welsh Village? It’s a great spot. Much more varied than Hyland Hills, longer runs, and a fairly short drive from the Twin Cities.

  • Dean

    The list starts off strong but ends terribly. Spirit Mtn, Lutsen, and Giant’s Ridge are all heavy hitters for best spot in MN. I prefer Lutsen, but all 3 have have vast skiable acreage with long runs and vertical, full gamut of terrain for all, great snowmaking, destination resorts, etc. But how does Highland Hills and Coffee Mill fit in with the first three? I presume the list wanted to include areas closer to the T.C. If that is the case Afton Alps, Wild Mtn, and Welch Village are FAR better than the two listed. All of those are close, large (relatively speaking), decent terrain for all, good snowmaking, rentals/lessons, and large chalets/entertainment. Highland Hills is a sledding hill, period, and Coffee Mill although quaint is very small.

    Don’t get me wrong… A bad day on the snow is better than a good day working. But the list has some bad information.

  • David

    No Trollhaugen??? This list is nonsense.

  • Zach Johns

    Lutsen is the best by far – everything else isn’t even close. I had a season pass at Spirit for 5 years while in college at UMD – had a great time there but it is very crowded – you have to ski like you are on the freeway in the Cities! Plus LONG lift lines. I’ve had a pass for 15 years now at Giants Ridge – it’s pretty much the same terrain-wise but no lift lines and way better snow! Yes, Welch should be in the number four spot. Tons of fun to be had at Welch – then Afton at five.

  • Eric

    Spirit is alright for the Midwest. Welch is arguably the best in the Twin Cities. Lutsen is highly overrated in my opinion.

  • ann

    No lifts running yesterday at Lutsen. WHY?

  • jim

    WIld Mountain is by far my favorite local ski destination, can’t believe it did not make the list!!

  • Jessica Stone

    One more thing…3 government owned ski areas and only 2 privately owned ones???

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