Minnesota is known for its great cross-country skiing,
with more than 2,000 miles of dedicated trails to explore. In
addition to day trips, cross-country ski resorts offer great
meals, comfortable lodging, saunas and spas to round out
the experience. Trails in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
Wilderness, near Ely and along the Gunflint Trail are among
the state’s top destinations for serious skiers.
Snow is most reliable in the northern half of the state,
but good cross-country skiing can be found everywhere.
In fact, snow-making machines are employed at several
Minneapolis-St. Paul area trails to ensure quality conditions.
More than two dozen Minnesota state parks provide
groomed trails, and some rent skis.
Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn learned to ski in
Minnesota, but even novices can take advantage of the state’s
18 downhill ski areas. In addition to big hills, many areas also
feature terrain parks for ski and snowboard tricks, as well as
cross-country ski trails.
Northeast Minnesota is home to the Midwest’s largest,
longest and highest hills. Long runs and scenic vistas are
memory makers. Ski areas in central and southern Minnesota
also offer picturesque, high-quality experiences. Many
are gracefully carved into towering river bluffs and broad
Minneapolis-St. Paul area visitors have several downhill ski
areas within a 90-minute drive. Visitors to other parts of the
state have plenty of choices, too. Equipment rentals and lessons
are available at most ski destinations.
Minnesota has nearly as many miles of snowmobile trails
(roughly 22,000) as it does highways. These trails, many of
which are maintained by local snowmobile clubs, extend to
all corners of the state. Many trails run through picturesque
federal, state and county forests, and can take riders to
There’s no escape from winter, but a winter escape is fun and easy.
From skiing to snowmobiling and urban adventures, options for
snowy recreation are practically endless in Minnesota. | C.B. BYLANDER