Minnesota has a good number of ski areas, but not many “resorts”. Most slopes in the state are inside a community recreational area. While this does limit the size these ski areas can be, it by no means should stop anyone from visiting them. There is a lot of great skiing that can be had in Minnesota – you just need to know where to look!
Minnesota Ski Season
The ski season in Minnesota usually runs from late November to April. For the resorts that employ snowmaking, this can extend their seasons considerably.
List of All Minnesota Ski Resorts
With less than 20 ski areas, Minnesota ranks somewhere in the middle of the pack of states with the most. What Minnesota does have going for it though is that they are very well evenly spaced throughout the state. This means that just about anyone in MN is within easy driving distance to a ski area.
Explaining Our ‘Difficulty Score’
Parks & Trips created a proprietary Difficulty Score that is generated by looking at the number of easy-intermediate-expert slopes by acreage and the maximum vertical drop of the overall resort.
Our algorithm compares each resort’s metrics with all others in North America, then gives each a Difficulty Score, which we use to rank them accordingly. Resorts with a lower score are easier than those with a higher one. However, a high score does not mean that the resort does not have any easy slopes, or vice versa. This is just an overall score given to the resort based on all its metrics grouped together.
The Most Difficult Minnesota Ski Resorts
Lutsen Mountains wins easily as the most difficult ski area in Minnesota. It has almost average difficulty when compared to the rest of the nation, which is aided in part because it has only 10% of its trails listed as beginner-level. Lutsen also has the steepest descent, by over 125 feet. It’s next closest competition for the title is Spirit Mountain, which has the next steepest vertical, and Mount Kato, which is very small, but has a good mix of blue and black trails.
The Easiest Ski Resorts in Minnesota
As mentioned earlier, there simply aren’t many ski resorts in Minnesota. Most are community ski areas, which usually tend to be on the easier side. This is what we are seeing here. The three easiest ski areas in Minnesota all have no black diamond trails.
The Largest Ski Resorts in Minnesota
Choosing the largest ski resorts is a bit of a tricky proposition. Do you look at just the summit elevation? How about the total acreage, most trails, or steepest vertical drop?
Well, we decided to combine all four of those metrics into one ranking to get the best idea, although we fully admit this is completely subjective. We’ve given you all the data in the following table to make your own decision.
Lutsen Mountains, Spirit Mountain and Giants Ridge are the three largest ski resorts in Minnesota according to our calculations. They own the three steepest verticals in the state, and (along with Afton Alps) have the four largest skiable acreage as well.