The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

Where to get your white powder fix in the Twin Cities

Logan McGaheran
A skier gets some unreal airtime whilst showing off the eagle spread trick.

  This article was previously published in print on Dec. 05, 2023.  

Welcome to the enchanting world of Minnesota winters, where the landscape transforms into a glistening wonderland under blankets of snow. 

Given the metro’s modest elevation and predominantly flat terrain, skiing might not be the first winter activity that comes to mind. Nevertheless, the metropolitan area is home to many hidden gems.

If you are more of a cross-country ski-lover, Battle Creek Regional Park lies just 15 minutes East of campus and offers over 10k of man-made trails. With an abundance of twists, turns, uphill stretches and downhill slopes, Battle Creek is sure to offer hours of entertainment.

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Moreover, the Como Park Ski Center provides a diverse range of skiing experiences, including cross-country, downhill trails and hills. Located only five minutes North of campus, Como Park features two rope tows, a 150 foot vertical drop on 15 skiable acres, over five kilometers of groomed cross country trails, lessons for all ages, skill levels and ski and snowboard rentals.

For those of you seeking a dose of added excitement, look no further than Hyland Hills within Hyland Lake Park Reserve in Bloomington, the go-to destination for downhill skiing and snowboarding in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The terrain park is full of progressive and innovative features and is known for some of the best snowmaking and grooming in the Midwest. If you have never hit the slopes or want to freshen up your skills, Three Rivers also offers lessons to cater to various skill levels.

Buck Hill, located in Burnsville, provides skiing and snowboarding slopes conveniently located just 30 minutes away from campus. Buck Hill holds a status of local legend, undoubtedly recognizable to anyone driving along Interstate 35W. Nestled directly along the highway, its convenient location contributes to its immense popularity and holds historical significance as the training ground for skiing legend Lindsay Vonn. 

Afton Alps is a ski resort located between Afton and Hastings, Minnesota. This makes it the closest ski resort to St. Paul, since it sits just 25 minutes east of downtown St. Paul. At Afton Alps, you will find nearly a dozen lifts servicing relatively short, basic runs. With over 300 acres, Afton offers lots of fun for everyone.

Welch Village is located in Welch, MN about 50 minutes from campus. For a ski area near the Twin Cities, it has surprisingly solid terrain, including a good mix of greens, blues and blacks, multiple chair lifts and even a “back bowl” area. With 60 runs and 140 acres, Welch has a lot to offer.

While it is pretty small overall, Wild Mountain is a great option for someone wanting a decent ski experience near the Twin Cities. Located one hour from Minneapolis in Taylors Falls, Wild Mountain offers a basic ski experience at a good price. The runs are noticeably longer than the Twin Cities spots like Afton, Buck Hill, Hyland Hills and the distance from the cities means the crowds are much smaller as well.

No matter your skill level or preferred skiing style, the Twin Cities offers many opportunities for fun this winter season.

Shredders of all ages and sizes enjoy the slopes in the early months of winter at Hyland Hills in Bloomington. (Logan McGaheran)

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