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Best Ski Slopes Near the U of M

It’s no secret that the winters in Minnesota can get overbearing, and it’s that time of year when the constant cold weather starts to negatively affect our mood. If the winter weather has you feeling down, don’t stay inside just waiting for it to get warmer. Go outside, hit the slopes, and have some winter fun. There are so many places to ski and snowboard around the U of M’s campus that it would be a shame not to put all this snow to good use! Grab a friend, gear up, and make the most of this winter.

Hyland Hills

Located in Bloomington, Minnesota, Hyland is only a twenty minute drive from campus! Hyland welcomes winter sport enthusiasts and first timers alike. They have a variety of slopes, ranging from easy to difficult, and they offer group and individual lessons. Hyland is a small facility with only 11 ski trails total.

Buck Hill

Located in Burnsville, Minnesota, Buck Hill is also only about a twenty minute drive from campus. Buck Hill is a ski slope, but it also offers snow tubing. Snow tubing is essentially sledding, except in an inner tube. Yeah, it’s just as crazy and dangerous as it sounds, so be sure to be careful.  

Afton Alps

Located outside of St. Paul, Afton Alps is about a 45 minute drive from campus. Afton Alps has a wide variety of trails, short and long, easy and hard. These slopes are more than 50 years strong and there are even lights on their trails, so that you can ski at night.


Located just across the St. Croix river in Wisconsin, Trollhaugen is about an hour drive from campus. The Ski and Snowboard Club here at the U regularly goes to Troll for late night and Saturday excursions. Connect with SSC on Facebook and see if you can catch a ride!

Spirit Mountain

Located in Duluth, Spirit Mountain is a 3 hour drive from campus and will be the perfect excuse to go visit your friends at University of Minnesota-Duluth and go to the famous Grandma’s Restaurant for dinner! Don’t let your winter be a flop. Go up north and have some fun! On a side note, if you don’t want to downhill ski, you can visit Gooseberry Falls and do some cross country skiing along the beautiful North Shore.


Lutsen Mountains

Located an hour past Duluth on the North Shore of Lake Superior, Lutsen is also on the list of places where the UMN Ski and Snowboard Club usually goes for a weekend trip during the winter. Lutsen is a big ski resort. It has multiple hills and even has a new Gondola system that connects them and, at the top of the mountains, there’s a breathtaking view of Lake Superior. There are many different types of trails at Lutsen. They offer everything from terrain parks to long alpine runs. Their longest run is 2 miles.

Never skied before? All of these slopes offer group and individual lessons. You might then be telling yourself, “I don’t have skis,” but have no fear, each of these slopes offer rentals, too. Rentals do come at a price, though. Boot, ski and pole rentals will add up quickly to about $50 a day, so ask around to see if you can borrow some gear. Lift tickets can range from $30-$80 a day, but it depends on the slopes, the time of day and the particular day. Each slope’s rental and lift ticket prices can be found on their website. Remember to dress in warm clothes made to handle snow, and bring an extra pair of socks, you’ll thank me later. Happy skiing this winter, Gophers!

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Anna Rosin


I'm from St. Louis, Missouri and I'm currently going to school at the University of Minnesota, located in Minneapolis.
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