9 Best Ski Resorts in Minnesota (2021) – Kassidy&039s Journey

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Minnesota is known for its cold, snowy winters, making the state a fantastic place for downhill skiing and snowboarding.

With so many of the best ski resorts in Minnesota located within a few hours of major cities such as Duluth and the Twin Cities, planning a ski vacation to Minnesota is made easy!

9 Best Ski Resorts in Minnesota

Here you’ll find the 9 best ski resorts in Minnesota, with some important information about each of them.

1. Lutsen Mountain

Vertical Rise: 825 feetNumber of Runs: 95 runsLongest Run: 2 miles

Lutsen Mountains is Minnesota’s and the Midwest’s largest and tallest ski hill, right along Minnesota’s beautiful North Shore.

With 4 interconnected mountains and nearly 100 runs, Lutsen is rated as one of the best ski resorts in Minnesota!

Located in Lutsen, on the shores of Lake Superior, you will be met with the most beautiful views as you hit the slopes. You’ll be surrounded by beautiful green forests and will see Lake Superior in the distance.

With 10 feet of average snowfall in Lutsen, there is no shortage of powder days and great runs down Lutsen Mountain.

Lutsen Mountain offers season passes before the season starts as well as daily lift tickets.

Ski and snowboard rental packages are available for riders of all skill levels.

Lodging and Dining

Lutsen Mountain has 2 fantastic ski-in/ski-out lodges right at the base of the hill!

Another great option for lodging near this awesome ski resort in Minnesota is Lutsen Resort.

It’s just a short 5 minutes from the ski hill and offers beautiful rooms, directly on Lake Superior.

There are three places to eat at Lutsen Mountain, including Papa Charlie’s Rosie’s Cafe, and Summit Chalet.

2. Giant’s Ridge

Vertical Rise: 500 feetNumber of Runs: 35 runsLongest Run: 3,960 feet

Giant’s Ridge is the best ski resort in Northern Minnesota! With 35 runs for all different skill levels, ski and snowboard lovers will be in paradise.

Located in Biwabik, Giant’s Ridge is about 3 hours north of Minneapolis, making it the perfect weekend getaway.

The runs are serviced by 5 lifts, so there are many options to help lessen the wait time to get onto the chair.

Most of the runs are for beginner and intermediate riders. But, if you’re looking for something more challenging, there are a few black diamonds as well.

There are two terrain parks at Giant’s Ridge, one for beginner and intermediate levels, and the other for more advanced.

Giant’s Ridge has a great array of equipment rentals for everyone. Lessons are also available by pre-registration.

Lodging and Dining

This beautiful home is located right on Sabin Lake (phenomenal views!) and is just minutes from Giant’s Ridge!

It’s the perfect place to call home for a few days while you enjoy the mountain.

The Burnt Onion Kitchen is open for dining in the main chalet at Giant’s Ridge.

3. Buena Vista

Vertical Drop: 230 feetNumber of Runs: 16 runsLongest Run: 2,000 feet

Located in beautiful Bemidji, in between many lakes, lies Buena Vista Ski Area.

This is another fantastic ski resort in Minnesota for families to ski and snowboard, with beautiful views.

Buena Vista has much to offer, with 16 runs, 4 lifts, and the resort extends across the continental divide!

All Buena Vista Ski Area has the capability to make snow. This allows for awesome powder days, even when there’s no snow!

There is also a terrain park at Buena Vista for the riders who like to have a challenge.

Ski and snowboard rentals are available for riders of all skill levels.

Lodging and Dining

Buena Vista doesn’t have any lodging of its own, but the Bemidji area has plenty, all within about 20 minutes of the ski resort.

The Country Inn and Suites is a good option, with breakfast included, and views of Lake Bemidji from the hotel!

Or, the Americinn is another great option, which is only about 15 minutes away from the ski resort.

Bemidji has a large variety of food options. Between pizza, burgers, Italian, and more, you’re sure to find something that fits your taste! A local favorite is Tutto Bene.

4. Afton Alps

Vertical Drop: 350 feetNumber of Runs: 50 runsLongest Run: 2,640 feet

Afton Alps is one of the best ski resorts in Minnesota, located only 30 minutes from the Twin Cities.

As part of the Epic Pass system, you’re bound to have an epic time on one of their 50 runs!

With being in such close proximity to the Twin Cities, Afton Alps makes for the perfect day trip or quick weekend getaway.

The terrain parks have been named “Minnesota’s Best Terrain Parks”. There are three of them, two of which are serviced through two ropes.

Afton Alps also has awesome night skiing, which makes it the best ski resort in Minnesota to visit after finishing up work for the day.

Afton Alps is a part of the Epic Pass system, owned by Vail Resorts. Riders can purchase a variety of Epic passes that allow for access to multiple resorts across the country.

Ski and snowboard rentals are available for riders at Afton Alps.

Lodging and Dining

The Historic Afton House Inn is a great option for lodging, only 10 minutes from the slopes!

It’s an adorable little hotel with affordable rooms and jacuzzis and fireplaces in some of the rooms.

The Highlands Chalet and Paul’s Pub are open on the mountain to take a break from riding for lunch or dinner.

5. Spirit Mountain

Vertical Drop: 700 feetNumber of Runs: 22 runsLongest Run: 5,400 feet

Spirit Mountain is a great ski resort to hit as a day trip from Duluth! With the shores of beautiful Lake Superior just miles away, this is one of the best ski resorts in Minnesota!

With 175 acres of skiable area and 22 runs, there’s something for skiers of all skill levels.

Spirit Mountain is a great place for families to adventure in all four seasons! In the summer, there are other adventures to try out like an alpine slide.

This ski resort in Minnesota is located right in Duluth, so you don’t have to drive too far to reach it.

The majority of runs are aimed toward beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, but advanced riders are also welcome!

Spirit Mountain is a part of the Indy Pass system. If you’re a traveling skier, this is perfect for you! Purchase one pass and receive 2 full days at each participating resort.

Equipment rentals are available on the mountain.

Lodging and Dining

The Pier B Resort is a fantastic resort, located on the shores of Lake Superior, only minutes from Canal Park and 15 minutes from Spirit Mountain.

Another great option for a stay is the Best Western Plus, which is less than a mile from Spirit Mountain, making for easy coming and going to the slopes.

Duluth is full of fantastic food to try. After a long day on the ski hill, check out either Va Bene or Pizza Luce for some great food, both found in Canal Park.

6. Wild Mountain

Vertical Drop: 300 feetNumber of Runs: 25 runsLongest Run: 1 mile

Wild Mountain, located in Taylors Falls, right on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border is a great ski resort in Southern Minnesota. It’s not too far from the Twin Cities.

Wild Mountain is a year-round place for adventure! With a waterpark and alpine slide in the summer and great skiing in the winter, it’s a fun place for everyone!

This great ski resort in Minnesota has 25 runs and 100 acres of skiable land.

Taylors Falls is one of the prettiest places to ski near the Twin Cities.

Snowmaking equipment is available at Wild Mountain, allowing for longer seasons and great powder days.

Equipment rentals are available for daily or season use. Most resorts don’t offer season rentals, so this is a unique and awesome perk of Wild Mountain!

Lodging and Dining

Right across the border in Wisconsin is the Holiday Inn Express and Suites that offers free breakfast and a hot tub, perfect for relaxing at the end of the day.

Wild Mountain has cafeteria-style food for sale at the resort.

Schoony’s Malt Shop & Pizzeria is a great place to stop in Taylors Falls, serving (as the name suggests) malts and pizza. They also have a variety of old-fashioned sodas.

7. Detroit Mountain

Vertical Drop: 164 feetNumber of Runs: 15 runsLongest Run: 2,200 feet

Detroit Mountain is located in Detroit Lakes and offers some of the best downhill skiing in Western Minnesota.

With only a 45-minute drive to Fargo, North Dakota, skiers can spend the day on the slopes and then head over to Fargo for great food and nightlife.

It’s also one of the few ski resorts in the western half of the state.

With 15 runs serviced by their 2 ski lifts, a day spent at Detroit Mountain surely won’t be a waste!

Detroit Mountain is another Indy Pass resort, along with Lutsen Mountains and Spirit Mountain.

Ski and snowboard rental packages are available. A ski package includes skis, boots, poles, and a helmet. A snowboard package includes a board, boots, and a helmet.

Lodging and Dining

Here’s an adorable home that sits right on the lake (lake views!!) and is only 10 minutes from Detroit Mountain!

Zorbaz, located right on Detroit Lake, is a favorite in many lake towns throughout Minnesota. On the menu, you’ll find pizza and Mexican food.

If you’re willing to take a little drive, head over to Fargo and grab dinner at Wurst Bier Hall. They have the best sweet potato fries ever (get them with the marshmallow fluff!).

8. Welch Village

Vertical Drop: 360 feetNumber of Runs: 50 runsLongest Run: 4,200 feet

Welch Village is another great skiing location in Red Wing, about 45 minutes southwest of the Twin Cities.

With 50 runs, Welch Village has a great ski area for people of all skill levels!

Welch Village has an epic terrain park that is open daily for riders to check out.

While Welch Village is a bit smaller of a ski resort in Minnesota, it’s still a great option for those looking for a great place to ski near the Twin Cities.

There are also rentals available for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Lodging and Dining

The St. James Hotel offers beautiful, historic rooms and views of the Mississippi River from many of the rooms, and is only 20 minutes from Welch Village.

Also in Red Wing, this large home has beautiful wood features and is great for larger groups.

Let Me Cheese U and The Smokin’ Oak Roritsserie and Grill in Red Wing are great options for dining near Welch Village.

9. Mount Kato

Vertical Drop: 240 feetNumber of Runs: 19 runsLongest Run: 2,100 feet

Mount Kato is a great ski resort in Minnesota located just 1.5 hours south of Minneapolis.

It’s the best ski resort in southern Minnesota, offering 19 runs and 55 acres of skiable area.

Mount Kato is open later in the evening, so skiers and snowboarders are able to visit after work and still enjoy time at a great ski resort in Minnesota.

There also is a terrain park available for the more adventurous riders.

Mount Kato has nice rental packages available for skiers and snowboarders.

Lodging and Dining

The Holiday Inn Express in Mankato has a huge pool and jacuzzi to spend time in after a day on the slopes. It also has a continental breakfast!

Or, book a stay at the Comfort Inn and Suites for a more affordable stay, also with breakfast!

Number 4 American Bar & Kitchen is a popular spot in Mankato. The menu is expansive with pasta, seafood, and steaks.

Where to Go Night Skiing in Minnesota

Looking for a downhill ski resort that offers skiing for those nights after work? Here are a few of the best places for night skiing in Minnesota.

Afton Alps is one of the best ski resorts in Minnesota. They’re open until 8:00 pm with lighted runs. Being so close to the Twin Cities makes this resort perfect for night skiing.

Another fantastic ski resort to night ski in Minnesota is Buck Hill. From 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm, you can ski for just $20!

Spirit Mountain in Duluth also is open every night until 8:00 pm. There’s a $20 discount on lift tickets for night skiing!

Does Minnesota Have Good Skiing and Snowboarding?

Although Minnesota doesn’t have the fantastic mountains that ski havens such as Colorado and Washington have, there still is a great ski season!

Minnesota has no shortage of snow in the cold seasons and makes the best of it by grooming ski hills throughout the state for skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.

Being located in the midwest, people are surprised by some of Minnesota’s ski resorts.

While the runs may be shorter and less intense, YES, Minnesota does still have good skiing and snowboarding!

Plus, the lift tickets are more affordable than a lot of other more popular ski areas!

What is the Biggest Ski Hill in Minnesota?

The biggest ski hill in Minnesota is located in Lutsen, Minnesota, with the highest peak coming in at 1,088 feet!

Lutsen Mountains is the largest ski resort in Minnesota and the Midwest and boasts that they are “the Midwest’s only true mountain ski area experience.”

When Can You Ski and Snowboard in Minnesota?

The best conditions to ski and snowboard in Minnesota are usually in January and February.

The opening and closing dates of Minnesota ski resorts highly depend on the weather and snow conditions.

Typically, most resorts are open by early to mid-December and close by mid to late March.

Some resorts have snow-making machinery and are able to have longer seasons.

What is the Best Ski Resort Near Minneapolis?

There are many ski resorts within just a short distance of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Afton Alps Ski Resort comes in as the best ski resort near Minneapolis. Only a 40-minute drive and you’ll arrive. You’ll get to enjoy 50 different runs and 21 lifts.

You can read more about Afton Alps here.

Wrap-Up: Best Ski Resorts in Minnesota

Skiing and snowboarding are some of the greatest ways to beat the cold in Minnesota winters.

Whether it’s a week, a weekend, or a day, spend your time this winter at one of the 9 best ski resorts in Minnesota!

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11 Best Places to Stay on the North Shore, MN17 Off the Beaten Path Destinations in Minnesota

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