We may have had a 60 degree day with people in shorts yesterday on Thanksgiving but by late Saturday they are talking snow showers. Winter will come, that is a fact here in the Northland. As long as you are here you might as well get out and enjoy the winter and snow. Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, skating and snowmobiling are some of the favorite activities that can be done all over the state.
Let’s talk about hitting the slopes first. Probably the most well-known “ski hill” in the metro is Buck Hill. If you are not from here you will just laugh when we talk about Buck but it is actually a great place for learning to ski! Lindsey Vonn – World Cup champion is actually from Burnsville and learned to ski at Buck and there have been a few other Olympians as well. Other good local areas to ski are Afton Alps, and Hyland Ski Area. These ski area offer downhill skiing and snowboarding, Buck Hill and Afton Alps also offer tubing hills. If you are looking to take a short ski vacation in Minnesota some of the ski resorts to consider would be, Lutsen in Lutsen, Spirit Mountain in Duluth, Mount Kato in Mankato, Welch Village in Welch and Ski Gull in Nisswa. Click here for a list of ski areas in the state.
If cross country skiing is more your thing Minnesota offers more than 100 trails throughout the state. Minnesotans love to cross country ski. Many of the parks in the Twin Cities offer trails in the winter, there are trails just outside the Twin Cities so you can make a nice day trip out of it or you can stay at one of many resorts and have yourself a cross country skiing vacation.
Snowshoeing is really coming back in popularity. You can do it right outside your front door if you have snowshoes. Many local parks are starting to rent snowshoes, offer lessons or group excursions and have trail maps for snowshoeing. Any of the resorts you would visit for skiing would also have snowshoeing available. If you have not looked at snowshoes in a while, they have changed from those huge tennis racquet looking contraptions to quite small little things that you can just strap on.
If ice skating is what you like to do or would like to try, it is available just about anywhere. If you just want to try it, you can rent skates at many outdoor rinks or get a used pair to see if you actually can skate! In the metro, many cities have rinks in neighborhood parks, some also have hockey rinks. Once the lakes are frozen rinks are shoveled out for skating, and some cities have rinks you can use. Make sure you don’t go out on the lakes and ponds until they are really frozen.
Snowmobiling is very popular in our state. Once you get to the outer suburbs you can start riding. You may have noticed that along some roads in what seems to be the ditch there are tiny traffic signs? These are for the snowmobiles in the winter. Just remember, if you see a no snowmobile sign, you better obey it or face a ticket. Minnesota offers over 22,000 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and then there are the open fields and frozen lakes, so you can really ride here!
Once we get a good snowfall, shovel yourself out and then get out and enjoy the white stuff – as they say, if you can’t fight it, join it!