By Mpls.St.Paul Magazine / Inspired by Halima Aden's My North
When Vogue and Allure cover girl Halima Aden first set foot in Minnesota as a little girl, she’d never seen snow. In fact, to the Kenya-born refugee, snow was such a foreign concept that she thought it had flavors, kind of like a sno-cone. But once she discovered that snow and ice cream are not one in the same, she fell in love with the fluffy white stuff anyway. With her in mind, here are five of the most unusual things to do in the snow in Minnesota.
The idea of ski jumping is definitely not new, but the idea that you—yes you—could go ski jumping? Well, that’s downright groundbreaking. Thanks to the Minneapolis Ski Jumping Club, anyone can make this totally bizarre and mildly terrifying prospect a reality, and just down the street from Mall of America no less. Based out of a multi-jump facility next door to Hyland Hills ski area, the MSJC encourages skiers of all ages and skill levels to come learn how to jump, or refine their skills, on any of their jump array from 10m on up to 70m on the top end.
Sailing on the lake is a prominent summer pastime in Minnesota, but even though we stash our boats for the winter, harnessing the wind is a favorite activity all year round. As the lakes freeze, swap out your boat for a pair of skate blades, grab a kite and head back out for some Snowkiting. Hit up Lakawa School of Kiteboarding and Board Shop on Lake Minnetonka where you can rent all the gear and get lessons and/or pointers to get you started.
Believe it or not, in Minnesota you can go ziplining in the winter. Thanks to Kerfoot Canopy Tours in Henderson, you can explore an outdoor zipline course even when there’s a foot of powder on the ground. After pulling on your harness, you and your friends can work through a veritable canopy city of platforms and its 10-plus ziplines that carry you soaring through snowflakes between them.
Much like ski jumping, the reputation of dog sledding precedes itself. But once you get past the hype, it might blow your mind to discover that you can mush to your heart’s content here in Minnesota. Plan your dog sledding adventure at HHH Ranch in Cannon Falls, where solo or group rides explore the bucolic bluff country of southeastern Minnesota.
In Minnesota, ice houses aren’t just for ice fishing. The Art Shanty Projects transforms a frozen lake surface into a “creative community space that is part art gallery, part art residency and part social experiment.” These aren’t the sparse, utilitarian fishing houses found elsewhere in the state. The interactive art shanties found here are modeled after everything from a minnow mausoleum, a lighthouse and even the belly of a whale. During weekends from the end of January through to mid-February, head to Lake Harriet in Minneapolis for this unique and unusual celebration of art, experimentation and winter wonder.