Let It Snow: A Few Ways to Enjoy Minnesota Winter
Wild Mountain, Taylors Falls
Wild Mountain, located about 50 miles northeast of the Twin Cities in Taylors Falls, was the first ski area to open in North America this year, opening on October 7. “We pride ourselves on being the first [resort] to be 100-percent open each season,” says Amy Frischmon, vice president. They are also one of the only resorts to offer children’s lessons seven days a week, with “Friends and Family Days” discounts available, and one of the few resorts to offer a separate snow tubing hill, complete with several lanes, and an outdoor fire pit. wildmountain.com
Spirit Mountain, Duluth
Take in dramatic views of Duluth and the Lake Superior harbor while skiing or boarding down the slopes at Spirit Mountain. “What Duluth has to offer is what makes us unique,” says Briana Johnson with Spirit Mountain Recreation Area. “When guests come to Spirit Mountain, it’s much more than a ski trip.” Stay at a B&B with your significant other, go to the ballet, take in a UMD hockey game, or go clubbing with your friends. A year-round Adventure Park offers snow tubing, a zip line, and the only Alpine Coaster in the Midwest. spiritmt.com; visitduluth.com
According to Cross Country Skier magazine, “Bemidji is one of the most attractive areas to ski in the United States.” Approximately 140 kilometers of cross-country ski trails wind through the scenic North Woods, with pine, spruce, and evergreen trees vividly standing out against the snowy backdrop. One trail, within city limits, is even illuminated for night skiing. A Minnesota Ski Pass is required ($6 day pass, $20 annual). The area is also popular for snowmobiling, with 400 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, and ice fishing in over 400 lakes within a 25-mile radius. visitbemidji.com
Bluefin Bay, Tofte
The Bluefin Bay Family of Resorts—Bluefin Bay on Lake Superior, Surfside, and Temperance Landing—are at the center of winter activities along the North Shore. There are over 250 km of groomed and tracked trails for cross-country skiers and over 100 miles of snowmobile paths throughout the Sawtooth Mountains, Superior National Forest, and along the North Shore.
Guests can go ice skating on the Bluefin Bay ice rink, watch outdoor movies (complete with hot chocolate and goodies), or embark on a snowshoeing adventure. For a unique experience, try a guided moonlight cross-country skiing tour. You can bring your own ski equipment or use complimentary gear, available at the Guest Services Center. If you would rather hit the downhill ski slopes, Bluefin Bay is close to Lutsen Mountains. Free daily shuttle bus rides are available. Look for Ski and Stay Packages online.
After a busy day, unwind in a seaside vacation home (the views are incredible) and enjoy one of Bluefin’s many pools or whirlpools, snuggle in front of a cozy wood fire, or book a massage at the Waves of Superior Spa. “For guests who want to play outside all day, we provide extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays for a little ahh-pres ski relaxation and rejuvenation,” says Lori Schaefer, marketing director. “And on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday nights, we also treat guests to live acoustic music from local and regional artists throughout the winter season.” bluefinbay.com