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9 Best Skiing in Minnesota: Resorts to Visit This Year

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Minnesota is a great place to ski, with many resorts offering excellent slopes and trails for all levels of skiers. If you’re looking for snowboarding and skiing in Minnesota, you’ll find more options than you think.

When looking for a skiing resort, you should consider the following factors: the level of difficulty of the slopes, the amount of snowfall the resort receives each year, the size of the resort, and whether the resort offers lessons and rentals. Additionally, it’s important to read reviews of resorts online to understand what other skiers think of their experience.

As a safety precaution, make sure your travel insurance is up to date to cover you for any accidents. Here are some of Minnesota’s best skiing resorts to help you get started in your search.

Best Ski Resorts in Minnesota

1. Giant’s Ridge

Child Skiing in Minnesota
  • Vertical Drop: 1792 feet
  • Number of runs: 34 downhill runs and cross-country ski trails – mostly beginner and intermediate-level

Looking for a top-notch ski resort in Minnesota? Then look no further than Giant’s Ridge! This world-class resort offers skiers and snowboarders a wide variety of terrain, making it the perfect place for beginners and experts.

In addition, Giant’s Ridge features a number of different lifts that make getting around the resort a breeze. And if you’re looking for more than just skiing and snowboarding, the resort also offers a variety of winter activities, such as tubing and snowmobiling.

See Related: Things to Do in Minneapolis

Available lessons

If it’s your first time downhill skiing and you don’t feel confident enough to conquer the mountain, don’t worry! The Gaint Ridge Snow Sports Academy has experienced instructors to help beginner skiers and boarders. It also helps if you have travel insurance to ensure you’re prepared for emergencies.

Where to eat

If you’re looking for a place to eat near Giant’s Ridge, you’re in luck! The resort has a variety of different restaurants to choose from, ensuring that everyone will find something they enjoy.

The resort’s Gold Rush Steakhouse is perfect for a hearty meal. The Gold Rush Steakhouse will satisfy even the most discerning palate with various steak and seafood options. And if you’re looking to dine outdoors, you can get a comfy deck at Burnt Onion Kitchen & Brews and Wacootah Grille.

Other things to do

Giant’s Ridge is a fantastic place to ski, but there are plenty of other things to do when you’re not on the slopes. The resort has a golf course, a spa, and a variety of restaurants and bars. You can lodge at the Lakefront Giants Ridge Retreat Near Ski and Golf for a desirable accommodation.

You can also go hiking or mountain biking in the summer or cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. So, no matter what time of year you visit, you’re sure to find something to do at Giant’s Ridge! Wrap up your day with a massage or relaxing treatment at the Laurentian Divide and Salon Spa.

See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights

2. Spirit Mountain

Spirit Mountain
  • Vertical drop: 700 ft serviced by 7 lifts
  • Number of Runs: 22 runs – mostly beginner to intermediate-level

Spirit Mountain is unique, making it one of the best Minnesota ski resorts. Instead of being situated in the wilderness, it’s right in the suburbs of Duluth. The easily accessible location allows you to sneak off for half-day skiing.

This resort is only second to Lutsen, with the largest terrain park in the Midwest. It suits families wanting more time on the snow than on the lifts.

The area is suited for skiers of all levels, with its longest run at 5,400 feet. Its beautiful lounge provides a comfy place to warm up. The huge windows give spectacular views out over Spirit Lake.

This also might be a good fit if you prefer terrain parks. The ski park has four freestyle areas: Lone Oak Tow Park, Spirit Park, Shark Park, and 18-Line. Boxes, tubes, and metal rails are in place for added fun.

Available lessons

Lessons are available for kids and adults. In addition, you can choose to sign up for private, group, or family lessons.

Where to eat

There are five dining choices of different styles available. You can choose between table service, cafeteria-style, and grab-and-go. First, there is the lodge itself. The lodge has a cafeteria that serves burgers, sandwiches, and salads. There is also a bar and a restaurant. The restaurant is a great place to get a nice dinner after a long day of skiing.

If you’re looking for something a little more unique, there is the Duluth Grill. They serve up some of the best burgers in the state. They also have unique items such as bison burgers and elk burgers.

If you’re looking for a quick bite, there is the Caribou Coffee Company. They have a wide variety of coffees and baked goods.

Other things to do

The Spirit Mountain ski resort in Duluth, Minnesota, offers much more than downhill skiing and snowboarding. There are also cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, as well as a tubing park. The resort becomes a mountain biking and hiking paradise in the summer, with miles of trails to explore.

An Alpine Coaster also speeds through a twisty set of rails. A unique thing to do at Spirit-Mountain is lift-serviced fat biking. You will bring your bike to the top and ride down specially-created courses. 

See Related: The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List

3. Lutsen Mountains

Lutsen Mountains
  • Vertical Drop: 825 feet serviced by a gondola
  • Number of runs: 95 runs distributed throughout 1000 acres – mostly expert-level

Lutsen is the biggest ski hill and one of the best ski resorts in Minnesota. It has the tallest mountain in the state, with a summit elevation of 1,958 feet. It’s situated on the shores of Lake Superior, which means you’ll get some of the most stunning views you’ve ever seen while skiing or snowboarding.

The resort has 95 runs, making it the largest ski area in Minnesota. There’s something for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, from beginner to expert. There are four terrain parks, as well as a half-pipe.

Lutsen Mountains offers four interconnected mountains, so you can liken it to mountain skiing without airfare. Staying at the resort is not required to ski in the Lutsen Mountains. You can buy tickets to ski for the entire day or just half-day. You can also buy discounted tickets to the ski resort.

Available lessons

Children and adults can sign up for Snow Sports Learning Center lessons. The lessons were created to make learning fun and rewarding.

Where to eat

There are many dining choices in one of the top ski resorts in Minnesota should you get tired of all the fun-filled activities in the resort. Whether you want family dining with a view, a relaxed bar, or outdoor dining, Lutsen has something for everyone.

Other things to do

It’s by far the top skiing experience Minnesota has to offer. Plenty of activities are perfect for friends, families, or couples on a weekend trip.

Aside from skiing, there’s also dog sledding, snowshoeing, nordic skiing, and sleigh rides. Lutsen also has hiking trails for those who want to feel closer to nature. Ride the Summit Express to access the mountaintop trailheads easily.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Grand Marais, Minnesota

4. Buck Hill Ski Area

Friends Enjoying Skiing
  • Vertical Drop: 300 ft serviced by 10 ski lifts
  • Number of runs: 8 – for intermediate and expert level

Buck Hill became famous as the training ground for famous skiers like Kristina Koznick and Lindsey Vonn. The resort is located in Burnsville, Minnesota, about 20 minutes south of Minneapolis. So it’s perfect for those who live in the Twin Cities area.

There are ten ski lifts, so you won’t have to wait long to return to the slopes. There’s also a tubing park when you need a break from skiing or snowboarding. Lodging at Super 8 by Wyndham Chisago City hotel is the best consideration after your skiing.

Buck Hill Ski Area is perfect for those looking for a smaller, more intimate ski resort with a shorter drive time. It has eight runs, ten ski lifts, and a tubing park. This ski resort is recommended for intermediate to expert skiers.

If you’re looking for something a little different, Buck Hill also has a snow tubing hill. You can go down the hill on an inner tube – no skis or snowboard required. It’s perfect for families with small children.

Buck Hill Ski Area is one of the best ski resorts in Minnesota for those who want to learn how to ski or snowboard. It offers lessons for all levels, from beginner to expert.

Available lessons

If you’re looking for a place to learn how to ski or snowboard, Buck Hill Ski Area is the perfect resort. It offers lessons for all levels, from beginner to expert. You can sign up for group or private lessons; plenty of instructors can help you learn the ropes.

Where to eat

There are plenty of dining choices in Buck Hill Ski Area, so you won’t have to go far to find something to eat. Whether you want family dining with a view, a relaxed bar, or outdoor dining, Buck Hill has something for everyone.

The Buck ’54 Deck is open to serving American cuisine when you tire of hitting the slopes. It offers a family-friendly atmosphere. It has a spacious deck overlooking a 60-acre green hillside.

Other things to do

Looking for other sources of fun aside from skiing and snowboarding? You can also do mountain biking during the summer and snow tubing during the winter. They also organize the Buck Concert Series for music lovers. You might want to book a stay in a nearby hotel so you won’t miss out on the fun!

5. Afton Alps Resort

Afton Alps Minnesota
  • Vertical drop: 350 feet serviced by 18 lifts
  • Number of runs: 48 runs – mostly intermediate

Vail Resorts owns Afton Alps Resort, one of Minnesota’s largest ski resorts, with a vertical drop of 350 feet and 54 runs. It’s perfect for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, from beginner to expert.

Afton Alps Resort has 22 ski lifts, so you won’t have to wait long to return to the slopes. And there’s also a tubing park for when you need a break from skiing or snowboarding. There are a number of ski and snowboard rentals for you to rent the equipment you need to enjoy your ski vacation.

Available lessons

Ski & Ride School offers group and private lessons for adults and kids. This includes multi-week programs. There’s also a “Ski Girls Rock” for girls between the ages of 7 and 17, handled by female instructors.

Where to eat

You have several choices to grab a bite on the slopes. For one, the Alps Chalet offers breakfast sandwiches, cheeseburgers, and pizzas. Meanwhile, the Crest Mountain Grill has Wisconsin cheese curds, pulled pork sandwiches, and the popular Epic Burger.

There are also several casual, family-friendly restaurants in downtown Afton. You’ll definitely be swiping your credit card frequently with the top-notch food choices they serve!

Other things to do

Are you already tired from skiing or too scared to risk your insurance? Snow tubing for additional fun and adventure is highly recommended! There are six tubing chutes in the Meadows Area Tubing Center.

Unfortunately, there is no ski-in/ski-out accommodation at Afton Alps. There are several lodgings open in Afton and surrounding towns. Some hotels offer stay-and-ski packages. You can also stay in St. Paul, 30 minutes from the resort.

Read Also: Minnesota’s Best Resorts

6. Wild Mountain

Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, Minnesota
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers
  • Vertical Drop: 300 feet serviced by 4 chairlifts
  • Number of runs: 26 – mostly intermediate and difficult level

Wild Mountain is one of the best skiing resorts in Minnesota for the whole family. It’s widely popular for its snow-making and excellent conditions.

Their novice discovery area and four terrain parks cater to snowboarders and skiers of all levels. The terrain parks give endless laps over jumps, rails, boxes, and other exciting features.

Kids and beginners will definitely enjoy the newly remodeled beginner learning area. As one of the largest ski resorts in Minnesota, it has a conveyor lift and two tow ropes to make the ride kid-friendly.

Available lessons

Not feeling confident to take on the slopes? Wild Mountain provides snowboarding and skiing lessons for all ages and abilities. You can also sign up for private lessons if you are too embarrassed to show off your skills!

Other things to do

If you don’t want to ski or snowboard, don’t return to your hotel just yet! Snow tubing still makes for a fun activity. Their Tubing Park is the biggest in the area. Just ride the conveyor to the top of the hill and slide down with no hassle!

Wild Mountain added a special twist to snow tubing to enhance the family bonding experience. They filled the tubing lanes with multicolored LED Batons. Check out the brilliant lights as you ride to the top with the conveyor lift.

Where to eat

You don’t need to worry about getting hungry while on site. There are several dining options near the area. There are rustic bars, buffet restaurants, eateries, and wineries ready to satisfy your cravings.

You may also bring a bag lunch that you can consume in Upper Commons or Bear’s Den. After all your activities, you can check AmericInn by Wyndham Forest Lake for lodging.

See Related: Top-Rated Hotels in Duluth, Minnesota

7. Coffee Mill Ski and Snowboard Area

Coffee Mill Ski and Snowboard Area
  • Vertical drop: 425 feet serviced by two lifts
  • Number of runs: 14 runs

Are you in search of challenging top ski resorts in Minnesota? Consider getting tickets at Coffee Mill Ski and Snowboard Area. Having only 14 runs and two lifts may be a letdown, but it redeems itself in other aspects.

One of its runs, the O’Chute, may be considered the most vicious ripper in the state. The others are long cruisers lined with trees similar to what you would see in the Rockies. What makes Coffee Mill’s vertical drop so scary?

It’s deep into the natural bowl of the Mississippi River coulee. This makes it a steep and highly vertical terrain, definitely not for the faint of heart – but possibly the best ski resort in Minnesota for adrenaline junkies. Make sure your travel insurance is updated before you hit the slopes!

Coffee Mill’s layout was done so that everyone in a group ends their runs in one location. The runs are all marked, mostly wide, and enjoyable.

Available lessons

They also provide fun ski or snowboarding classes for both beginner and advanced levels. You can pick between the group and private lessons. The classes are highly recommended. The green hills can be challenging if you’ve never boarded or skied.

What to eat

There is nothing fancy to eat here, just the typical ski resort food for sale. The tiny bar sells local craft beers and national mega-brands.

You will also find the retro vibe of the lodge quite adorable. Unfortunately, the place cannot accommodate big groups because the chalet has inadequate space, storage, and restrooms.

Other things to do

If you want to slow things down, you can hang out at the ski chalet. It provides just about everything you need, from food to rentals. You might also want to end the day with eagle-watching at Lake Pepin.

See Related: Best Things to Do in Wabasha

8. Buena Vista Ski Area

Buena Vista Ski Area
  • Vertical drop: 230 feet serviced by 6 lifts
  • Number of runs: 16 – mostly intermediate

Downhill skiers, tubers, and snowboarders will consider Buena Vista the premier spot to enjoy their sport. It sits astride the continental divide. You can view nine lakes and immense forests in distant panoramas along its trails. Buena Vista’s landscape is breathtaking! The trails go through forests of pine and hardwood, rolling hills, and serene lakes.

Available lessons

Buena Vista offers ski and snowboard classes for all ages during weekends. Interested participants need to reserve their slots. You can choose between private, semi-private, and mini-private.

Where to eat

The BV Continental Café offers tasty snacks like cheeseburgers, hotdogs, and chicken strips. If you’re craving other dishes, there are also restaurants nearby the area. This includes the North Shore Grille and Turtle River Chophouse.

Other things to do

What makes Buena Vista one of the best ski resorts in Minnesota is its three-story chalet, where you can hang out by the fireplace. Grab a warm and comforting drink at the café and enjoy the ambiance.

Try a horse-drawn sleigh ride or visit the Lumberjack Hall of Fame while you’re there. I suggest that you book a stay to make sure you’ll try everything the place has to offer.

See Related: Things to do on the North Shore, Minnesota

9. Detroit Mountain Recreation Area

Detroit Mountain Recreation Area
  • Vertical drop: 164 feet
  • Number of runs: 21

Detroit Mountain Recreation Area (DMRA) is a ski resort in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. It features three chairlifts, two rope tows, and a tubing hill. The ski resort offers downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and tubing.

There are also several terrain parks. Detroit Mountain Recreation Area was founded in the late 1920s as a winter sports destination. It officially opened to the public in December 1931.

Detroit Mountain also offers a variety of terrain, from beginner-friendly hills to expert-level bowls. There are 21 downhill trails, ranging in difficulty from “green circle” (easiest) to “black diamond” (most difficult). The resort also has three terrain parks, each with its unique features.

Available Lessons

The resort’s staff can teach you the basics, such as how to stay upright and control your speed. If you’re looking to improve your skills, Detroit Mountain Recreation Area can help with that, too. The resort offers lessons in carving and skiing powder, among other things.

Where to eat

You can choose from a few restaurants near Detroit Mountain Recreation Area. Zorbaz is a restaurant and bar located near Detroit Mountain Recreation Area. It offers a wide variety of food options, from pizza to burgers to salads.

FAQs

What is the best time to go skiing in Minnesota?

The best time skiing in Minnesota is typically from December to March. However, conditions can vary depending on the year.

How much does it cost to ski in Minnesota?

The cost of skiing in Minnesota varies depending on the resort you choose and the pass you purchase. For example, a lift ticket at Afton Alps costs $77 for adults and $47 for children (ages 6-12). A season pass at Afton Alps costs $729 for adults and $429 for children (ages 6-12).

What should I wear while skiing?

When choosing what to wear while skiing, you’ll want to consider the conditions. For example, you’ll want to dress in layers if it’s cold outside. It’s also a good idea to wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes from the sun.

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