14 Epic Spots for Snowboarding and Skiing Near Minneapolis & Twin Cities
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Let’s face it: winters can be long and tough in the Midwest, especially in a northern state like Minnesota. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors every so often at one of the local ski resorts near Minneapolis! From beginner-friendly ski hills to mountaintops catering to more advanced athletes, the Midwest haws a surprising number of options for snow sports lovers of all levels. We created this guide to the best spots for snowboarding and skiing near Minneapolis so you can plan a thrilling winter getaway to the slopes this year!

Best Ski Resorts Near Minneapolis and the Twin Cities

Hyland Hills

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 15 miles (20 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: Beginner & intermediate

As the closest winter sports recreation area to the Twin Cities, Hyland Hills is one of the easiest places to go snowboarding and skiing near Minneapolis. At less than half an hour from the city, you can easily go for a full day or just a few hours after work on winter days. There are only a handful of runs at Hyland Hills, but it’s open for night skiing every day during the winter season so that you can drop in for a post-work ski day.

Despite its location so close to the Twin Cities, you may be surprised to learn that the trails at Hyland Hills span green bunny hills to black diamond challenge trails, most suitable for beginner and intermediate practitioners. First-time snowboarders and skiers can also take lessons at the SnowSports Academy.

Buck Hill's ski slopes are illuminated during a night skiing session. Buck Hill is one of the closest ski resorts near Minneapolis.
Photo Credit: Anthony Auston (Flickr CC)

Buck Hill

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 20 miles (30 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

As one of the Twin Cities’ local ski hills, Buck Hill is a wonderful spot for snowboarding and skiing near Minneapolis. While it’s a smaller resort, home to less than 20 trails, there’s a variety of difficulty levels that are suitable for beginners all the way to black diamond-level practitioners. Since it’s so close to the city, you can take an easy day trip here or even hop on the slopes after a day of work! To accommodate different schedules and experience levels, there’s night skiing and lessons available for skiers and snowboarders as well.

For non-riders, there’s also a tubing area that’s tons of fun for the entire family to get outdoors in the wintertime. There are also 3 restaurants on-site (including a Waffle Bar…yum!) that provide delicious provisions while you’re taking a break or waiting for the skiers in your group.

Afton Alps

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 30 miles (40 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

More experienced riders and skiers in the Twin Cities area, rejoice! With 48 trails spanning mostly blue and black diamond ratings, Afton Alps is the largest and most diverse of the ski resorts near Minneapolis. It’s just 40 minutes outside of the city, making this resort one of our top recommendations for snowboarding and skiing near Minneapolis.

This resort has it all – several chairlifts to every trail, night skiing, lessons/rentals, plus 7 restaurants and mountainside fire pits for when you need a break from the slopes. It’s also owned by Vail Resorts, so you can access Afton Alps with an Epic Pass.

Welch Village

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 47 miles (1 hour)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site, but plenty of hotel options in nearby Red Wing, MN
  • Experience levels: All levels

If you’re looking for a larger resort for snowboarding or skiing near Minneapolis, Welch Village is a fantastic option. With 50 trails over 140 acres of terrain, Welch Village is considerably larger than many of the other ski resorts near Minneapolis. It’s also just an hour from the Twin Cities area, making for an easy half- or full-day winter day trip from the city.

There are trails spanning a variety of levels, from beginner bunny hills to black diamond rated runs. The Back Bowl area is specifically designated as a black diamond-only area, perfect for more experienced skiers looking for a bit of a challenge without going too far from home.

Trollhaugen (Wisconsin)

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 50 miles (1 hour)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: Beginner & intermediate

Located in Wisconsin near the Minnesota border, Trollhaugen is a medium-sized ski resort that boasts 24 trails. With mostly green and blue-rated trails, it’s a perfect spot for beginner and intermediate riders and skiers to get some great slopes under their belts.

It’s just an hour from the Twin Cities area, making it a great place for skiing and snowboarding near Minneapolis. They also have a great Friday night special, making Trollhaugen a wonderful spot to kick of a weekend of wintertime adventures. For non-skiers/snowboarders, there’s tubing available during the winter on site on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Wild Mountain

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 60 miles (1 hour, 15 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

For those looking to step up their game or simply tackle a diverse set of trails, Wild Mountain is a great option for ski resorts near Minneapolis. Despite its smaller size, Wild Mountain’s 26 trails range from beginner slopes to double black diamond terrain, one of the few double black diamond rated runs in the Twin Cities area. Visitors recommend this park for beginners specifically, as the green runs are well-maintained and good for learning, and there are plenty of opportunities to level up to blue runs as well.

Photo Credit: Ron Tamondong (Flickr CC)

Powder Ridge

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 70 miles (1 hour, 20 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

As a small ski resort located less than an hour and a half from Twin Cities, Powder Ridge is a fun, family-friendly winter sports area for skiers and riders of all levels. There are just 12 trails here, but they range from small bunny hills to black diamonds and terrain parks. For non-skiers, there’s a tubing hill available on site that offers tubing during the day and laser tubing at night. Regulars at Power Ridge say it’s one of the best ski resorts near Minneapolis for families and kids especially.

Mount Kato

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 85 miles (1 hour, 30 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: Intermediate & advanced

For more advanced riders and skiers, Mount Kato is a wonderful option for ski resorts near Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area. It’s a small resort, with just a handful of trails, but the vast majority are rated as intermediate or advanced-level runs. There are also several terrain parks on the premises for those looking for an adrenaline boost! They’ve got Friday night 2-for-1 specials as well as deals on night skiing, which they have every night during the winter and spring seasons. Locals love the variety in difficulty of the trails as well as the friendly customer service and maintenance of the resort area.

Photo Credit: MarLeah Cole (Flickr CC)

Spirit Mountain

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 150 miles (2 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at the Mountain Villas
  • Experience levels: All levels

Located near Duluth, Spirit Mountain is a beloved choice for skiing in northern Minnesota. At around 2 hours from the Twin Cities, a visit to Spirit Mountain is doable as a day trip or a weekend getaway from the city.

With 22 trails, the resort has a variety of terrain catering to all different levels of riders and skiers, from absolute beginners to seasoned athletes. Snowboarders especially enjoy Spirit Mountain because of its fun terrain parks and competitive training programs for those wanting to level up their skills. On site, there’s also tubing for non-skiers/riders as well as a Nordic Center with groomed cross country trails.

Mount La Crosse (Wisconsin)

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 165 miles (2 hours, 40 minutes)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

Located south of the Twin Cities area in Wisconsin, Mount La Crosse is a small but mighty contender on our list of the best ski resorts near Minneapolis. It’s a small to medium sized resort with long trails ranging from beginner friendly green runs to double black diamonds. Locals absolutely love the slopes here, with many having “grown up” in their riding or skiing on this mountainside. Trails are well-groomed and they have snowmaking all season long to keep conditions favorable for skiers and riders of all levels.

Granite Peak (Wisconsin)

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 185 miles (3 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Not on site
  • Experience levels: All levels

As one of the largest winter sports recreation areas in Wisconsin, Granite Peak is a MUST for skiers and riders in the Twin Cities area. Compared to other ski resorts near Minneapolis, the whopping 68 trails across over 200 acres at Granite Peak offer skiers the opportunity to try lots of new runs over a long weekend or a winter getaway. It’s also the highest vertical drop in Wisconsin, with over 700 feet of elevation.

Skiers and riders of all levels will enjoy the variety of trails at Granite peak, ranging from beginner-friendly green runs and hills to double black diamond thrillers. Regulars to Granite Peak love it for being the most comprehensive and well-run ski resort in Wisconsin; some even say you might forget you’re skiing in the Midwest here!

Photo Credit: Brett Whaley (Flickr CC)

Giants Ridge

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 50 miles (1 hour)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at the Lodge at Giants Ridge
  • Experience levels: All levels

Giants Ridge is one of Minnesota’s most beloved ski resorts. With 35 trails spanning all levels of experience, you’re sure to find something that suits you perfectly at this medium-sized ski area. There are also lodges and restaurants on site so you can turn your ski or snowboarding adventure into a longer winter getaway. During the winter, Giants Ridge also offers snowshoeing, cross country skiing, tubing, and fat tire biking if you’re wanting to try something other than downhill skiing and snowboarding.

The sun rises over Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort in the winter. This is one of the largest and most beloved ski resorts near Minneapolis.
Photo Credit: Tony Webster (Flickr CC)

Lutsen Mountains

  • Distance from Minneapolis: 250 miles (4 hours)
  • Accommodation available? Yes, at Lutsen Mountains Resort
  • Experience levels: All levels

As one of the largest ski resorts in Minnesota, we couldn’t leave off Lutsen Mountains from our list, even though it’s not necessarily the closest place to go skiing or snowboarding near Minneapolis and the Twin Cities. Bordering Lake Superior, this set of mountains is a picturesque and family-friendly spot for a few days of hitting the slopes and disconnecting from the city.

Boasting over 60 central runs (and an additional 30+ “sidecountry” runs), this large resort has everything you need to have a perfect winter adventure. With an on site lodge, snow sports school and rentals, a variety of dining options, and some great apres-ski options, there’s no shortage of things to do off the slopes here as well.

Additional Resources for Skiing and Snowboarding near Minneapolis

What to Pack

  • Waterproof outerwear – Possibly the most critical pieces of clothing for your ski trip packing list is durable, waterproof outerwear. Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Thermal baselayers are absolutely critical for a smooth skiing experience, as these will keep you warm and dry underneath your outerwear. The best kinds of thermal baselayers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, lightweight, but warm and durable for all kinds of outdoor activities, including skiing. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Ski goggles – No ski trip packing list would be complete without a pair of fog-resistant ski goggles, especially if you’re going somewhere that makes artificial snow. Ski slopes often have snow blowing into the air several times a day and it can be hard to keep freezing snowflakes out of your eyes, even during clear days. We use and recommend these ski goggles. However, you can shop ski goggles and compare reviews/prices here.

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Kay Rodriguez is the Chicago-based travel writer and photographer behind Jetfarer and Skyline Adventurer. When she's not blogging furiously on her laptop or editing photos, you can find Kay running, hiking, or paddling in a new city.

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