Minnesota Ski ResortsFind the Right Slopes for You
Each of the seven major ski resorts in Minnesota are going to offer something special to make your vacation more fun. Here is a list of the ski areas followed by a brief description of each:
- Afton Alps
- Buck Hill
- Coffee Mill
- Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area
- Lutsen Mountains
- Mount Kato
- Powder Ridge
Afton Alps is a half-hour’s drive to the east of the Twin Cities. The runs are all groomed and parallel to each other with trees providing breaks between the trails. The vertical rise is 350 feet, giving beginner to intermediate skiers a thrill and a challenge. There are 48 total runs over 65 acres. Afton also features five dedicated terrain parks and 18 lifts. They also have the highest capacity for snowmaking per acre of any ski area in the state. One neat feature about this park is their integrated EpicMix RFID technology. This allows skiers to track their runs and share their times and fun with friends and family.
Buck Hill is where alpine skiing World Cup Champion Lindsey Vonn cut her teeth on downhill skiing. Three rope tows, two quad lifts, and a triple lift lead to 13 different trails and three dedicated terrain parks. One of the parks is a full half-pipe run. This ski area has a vertical of 306 feet, with one black diamond run. The other twelve are split between beginner and intermediate runs, making this Minnesota ski resort a favorite for families and casual groups.
Coffee Mill has a unique bowl shape to its trails. Two chair lifts lead to 14 trails, split into two sections. The left hand runs are more challenging with a triplet of black diamond runs leading to an easy ending. There are also two intermediate runs that provide a gentler way of returning to the base chalet. Off the right lift are a difficult and an intermediate run that provide a direct path to the base. Coffee Mill also has two terrain parks for snowboarders and mogul skiers. The vertical here is a little higher at 425 feet.
Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area
Highland is located on the outskirts of the Twin Cities. Two quad chair lifts lead to eight fun trails that offer a mix of two difficult, three intermediate, and three beginner runs. A rope tow takes you up to two terrain parks. This ski area has a shallow vertical of 175 feet, making this a fun way to ease new skiers into the sport. Hyland is currently upgrading their chalet to combat the crowded conditions that the area has experienced in recent years. With gorgeously groomed trails, this is a great place for a mini ski-cation.
Located on the north shore of Lake Superior, Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort is deep in the Sawtooth Mountains. Topping out at 825 feet, Lutsen has the highest vertical range of any of the ski resorts in Minnesota. There are 92 trails over four mountains, stretching out over one thousand acres of skiing. There are nine lifts and a gondola tram that is being renovated this year. With its longest run going over 2 miles, this ski area is a favorite for intermediate to advanced skiers. But don’t worry if you’re still learning. Lutsen has 17 beginner runs to go with its 23 advanced and 52 intermediate trails. Lutsen gets about 115 inches of snow per year, so be ready for some amazing skiing.
Mount Kato is located near Minnesota State University Mankato, making this ski area a hot spot for winter fun. The mountain is 240 feet high but has one gently sloped side and one steep side, making for a great mix of easy and difficult trails. There are 19 runs over 65 acres here with 8 lifts taking you up to the summit. There are four terrain parks, one of which is rated at black diamond. And when you feel like kicking back, there is a fun snow tubing area as well.
Located just south of St. Cloud, this is one of the most charming Minnesota ski resorts. Running down a single face of a mountain, Powder Ridge has a 290 foot vertical and 15 trails to explore. This ski area has a dedicated teaching and learning area for beginners and a smaller fun nestled in trees to help them get acclimated. Three chair lifts provide access to the rest of the park. It features three advanced runs, five intermediate runs, and two gently curving beginner trails that run along the edge of the park. This ski area also features night skiing with all trails and terrain parks well-lit.