Top 6 Best Ski Resorts in Minnesota

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes, but what happens when they all freeze over in the winter? You go skiing! There are many great skiing destinations here, and they make for an excellent way to enjoy the winter months. 

I’m a lifelong skier who loves to get on the snow as much as possible. I’ve been lucky to travel to many resorts all over North America and have skied at several locations on this list. I’ve researched the other top resorts in the region. 

This post will explore some of the best ski resorts in Minnesota. I’ll highlight what each resort is best known for while providing details like what amenities are available and what snow conditions can be expected. 

Let’s jump in. 

1. Lutsen Mountains

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 10 (Average) 
  • Closing Day: April 20 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Large size, good snowmaking, lots of blues

Lutsen Mountains is one of the top ski resorts in Minnesota in large part because of its size. For a midwestern resort, it has a lot of terrains available for skiers. The resort includes four different mountains that you can ski. 

Lutsen gets pretty decent snow coverage throughout the year, and the resort also has one of the best snowmaking systems in the state. This means you can expect good conditions all season long, even when it’s not snowing much. 

Most of the runs here are blues, so it’s an ideal place for the average skier to have a lot of fun. There are a few beginner and advanced slopes, but nearly 2/3rds of the mountain is intermediate runs. 

Lift tickets, equipment rentals, and lessons are readily available at the base of the resort, and you can also book all of this ahead of time to save some money. The resort also offers ski and stay packages that can help you save on the cost of lodging. 

With so much intermediate terrain, Lutsen Mountains isn’t the best place for complete beginners. You can still find green runs here, but there just aren’t as many options as other places. 

2. Buck Hill

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: November 20 (Average)
  • Closing Day: April 5 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Terrain parks, close to the Twin Cities

Buck Hill is one of the closest ski resorts to the Twin Cities metro area, making it a popular destination with locals who want to get on the snow quickly without a long drive. It’s not a huge resort, but it is still a lot of fun. 

Freestyle skiers love it here because of the excellent terrain parks full of features. These are always well-maintained, and some of the most famous skiers from Minnesota got their start at Buck Hill. 

Buck Hill has ten different lifts to take skiers up the mountain. From there, you can explore a variety of terrain and bounce down 309 vertical feet. Night skiing is also available to extend your skiing day after the sun goes down. 

There is one bar and grill on the mountain, but you won’t find all too many amenities here. Being so close to the city, most people make Buck Hill a day trip, and visitors book lodging at one of the many hotel options in Minneapolis. 

3. Spirit Mountain

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: November 21 (Average)
  • Closing Day: March 19 (Average) 
  • Best Known For: Easy access, variety of terrain, terrain parks

Spirit Mountain is another easily accessible Minnesota ski resort only about 20 minutes outside Duluth. This makes it a popular destination for people living there are anyone who wants plenty of amenities during their ski trip. 

The resort has a pretty respectable vertical drop of 700 feet. This gives you enough time to explore a wide variety of terrain that it also offers. There are many greens, blues, and blacks to satisfy skiers of all ability levels

There isn’t a lodge right at Spirit Mountain, but the resort has partnered with several hotels nearby to provide skiers with comfortable rooms to stay in during their ski trips. However, there are food options and equipment rentals on-site.

Spirit mountain also has a few great terrain parks that are some of the favorite in the state for local freestyle skiers. These parks can get crowded but make for an excellent place to learn high-flying maneuvers or try something new. 

4. Welch Village

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: December 8 (Average) 
  • Closing Day: March 15 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Close to Twin Cities, not crowded, night skiing

Welch Village is another ski resort within an hour’s drive from the Twin Cities. This makes it easily accessible and popular with locals and visitors. It’s a medium-sized ski hill with a lot of fun terrain to ski. 

The diversity of terrain here is pretty good for the midwest. The resort is made up of three different hills, and each of them caters to a different ability level of skier. You can even ski an expert’s only back bowl if you are up for it. 

Welch Village has 11 lifts that give you access to over 50 runs. This is enough access to keep the lift lines down despite this resort being closer to the city. The terrain park here is also pretty awesome well-maintained. 

There aren’t many lodging and dining options right at the resort, but you can access plenty of places to stay in nearby towns that are under ten minutes away. You can get rentals and lessons at the resort. 

5. Giant’s Ridge

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: November 20 (Average)
  • Closing Day: April 1 (Average)
  • Best Known For: Family-friendly, nice lodge, good beginner’s mountain

Giant’s Ridge is one of the most family-friendly ski resorts in Minnesota. This location has a lot of beginner and intermediate terrain, making it a good beginner’s mountain where you can learn the basics on your own or through a skiing lesson

The resort has five ski lifts that give you access to over 200 acres of skiable terrain. There is a good chance of fresh snow here during the height of winter, but the resort also offers complete snowmaking coverage to ensure decent conditions all season long. 

Giant’s Ridge is also well-known for having an excellent lodge at the base of the mountain. There are plenty of rooms to book for a stay here, and they are all cozy and comfortable for maximum relaxation after a long day on the slopes. 

Expert skiers will most likely find the terrain here a bit underwhelming, as there isn’t much advanced terrain. But if you want to ski with the family, this is one of the best spots in the state.

6. Hyland Hills 

  • Resort Website
  • Opening Day: November 25 (Average) 
  • Closing Day: March 20 (Average) 
  • Best Known For: Excellent snowmaking, good terrain park, reliable grooming

Hyland Hills is a lesser-known but still solid ski area near the town of Bloomington in Minnesota. This is a smaller ski hill but is worth exploring if you are in the area. 

Hyland Hills is known for its excellent snowmaking capabilities and reliable grooming. This means that you can enjoy quality conditions nearly all season long and won’t have to worry about iced-out runs. 

The apres-ski and the base lodge/chalet is a must after a long day on the mountain, and you can get some tasty food or a refreshing beverage with friends or family here. 

The Hyland Hills SnowSports Academy has everything you need for equipment rentals or setting up a lesson, so you don’t need to bring your equipment along if you don’t want to. 

This is a pretty small resort with only five lifts, and it doesn’t offer much advanced or expert terrain. Experienced skiers might not find it worth it. 

Additional Tips for Skiing In Minnesota

Winter in Minnesota can be brutal. You need to be well-prepared for sub-zero temperatures here whenever you go skiing. You might want to consider hand or toe warmers if you struggle to stay warm, and a face gaiter is always recommended. 

If you want some more tips for how to dress for cold weather skiing, check out this post.

Final Words

There are plenty of places to ski in Minnesota, and the resorts mentioned on this list are the best options you’ll find in the state. Many of these are easily accessible and deliver quality snow conditions all season long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.