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The 8 Best Places to Ski and Snowboard in Minnesota

While we may be flatlanders, Minnesota is known for producing some of the best alpine skiers in the country. Indeed, there may be some advantage to our topography. Local coaches cite the ability to ski or ride hundreds of runs in a single day, something they don’t have the chance to do in say, the Rockies. That’s not to mention the strong ski culture and community of support that exists all across the state. If you’re looking for a great place to ski and snowboard in Minnesota, check out one of these top locales. From destinations up north perfect for a long weekend, to city hills that you can hit up on a weeknight, there’s no shortage of options here in the North Star State. 1. Buck Hill Buck Hill offers some of the best skiing close to the Twin Cities. Buck Hill A widely known metro-area location, Buck Hill is where ski stars like Lindsey Vonn and Kristina Koznick got their start. The ski and snowboard area offers multiple surface tows, three chairlifts and lighted night skiing. For freestyle buffs, they also have a new airbag jump, which provides a 50 foot by 50 foot safety cushion to catch…
Matcha
January 25, 2022
Articles

5 Resorts With Great Backcountry Access

Think Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has rad terrain? The resort's backcountry accessible right from the ski area will blow your mind. And it's not just Jackson Hole—resorts across the country are opening the boundaries of their ski areas to give powder-hungry skiers access to a playground beyond the ropes. The growing trend is great news for experienced skiers wanting to challenge themselves and find untracked lines in lift-serviced backcountry terrain, but it bears remembering: there's no ski patrol or avalanche control beyond the gates, so know before you go. 1. Jackson Hole, Wyo. Ski Magazine One of the first resorts to swing open its gates, Jackson Hole led the charge on resort-accessed backcountry terrain and is still the Holy Grail today. Don't venture into the classic zones of No Name Peak of Cody Peak (nor anywhere else on this list) without the skills, equipment, or, if needed, a guide.  2. Jay Peak, Vt. Ski Magazine Touring into the wilderness of Big Jay Peak feels so remote, it's hard to believe the resort is so close. With steep pitches, natural obstacles, and super-tight trees, this is Eastern backcountry at its finest.  3. Powder Mountain, Utah (Your browser doesn't support iframe) Ease…
Matcha
January 18, 2022
Articles

Why You Should Start Snowshoeing This Winter

It’s easy to fall in love with Grand Teton National Park. On my first visit a few summers ago, I’d been enchanted while hiking with my family among fluttering aspens to a clutch of small, backcountry lakes. We admired the great peaks—Nez Perce, Teewinot, and the Grand Teton—and I vowed to return sometime soon to venture deeper into the famous terrain. As it turns out, my next opportunity to visit the park comes in winter. This means the main park access roads will be closed and reaching the more remote areas will require an expedition, but I decide to go anyway. I hire a guide to maximize my chances of getting beyond the surface-level stuff and to the kind of immersive experience I’m after, but when I meet Josh from Jackson’s Eco Tour Adventures in the lobby of my hotel, he tells me conditions are not great for going high or far. Climbing to reach a viewpoint of any sort is off the table, he says. Instead, we’re heading to a close-by snowshoe trail that meanders through a meadow. A meadow? I think. What about tracking out to the lakes I longed to see again? What about snowshoeing to something?…
Matcha
January 4, 2022
Articles

3 Tools to Help Young Skiers Learn

Don't hesitate to introduce kid-friendly tools that can help your young skier progress faster and have fun doing it. Teaching your young kids to ski can feel daunting. Heck, getting young kids to the mountain, dressed properly, and clicked into their skis can be daunting, let alone teaching them to ski. We’re here to help. But first things first: How do you know your kiddo is ready? We asked Brian and Aleks Smith, PSIA instructors at Aspen Snowmass and parents of two daughters. The Smiths work with the youngest sliders all winter, and what’s more, they went through the process of introducing the sport to their own girls not too long ago. In other words, the instructor pair is a wealth of information when it comes to the how and when to get the groms sliding. Most kids are ready to hit the slopes between the ages of 3 and 4, says Aleks Smith, but some 2-year-olds may already be interested and able. One thing to look for is the ability to balance, says Smith, e.g., riding a push bike or playing soccer or other sports. The other thing is interest: Do they want to try skiing? Once you’ve determined…
Matcha
December 21, 2021
Articles

Did You Know You Can Go Snow Skiing in Alabama?

Stop at any Alabama tourist attraction with a gift shop and you’ll find the ever-popular "Alabama Snowman." It’s your typical snow globe with a twist. When you shake it, you won’t see snow fluttering down through the water, but you will see several black chunks that look like coal, a carrot, and a top hat. The snowman has melted. Yes, that’s your typical winter in Alabama. So, when friends ask you to go snow skiing in the Yellowhammer State you’re well within your rights to look at them as if they’re crazy. But, they’re not. High atop Lookout Mountain in Mentone you’ll find the 800-acre Cloudmont Ski Resort and Golf Course, known as the "Southeastern Most Ski Resort in the U.S." It All Began with a Summer Camp The story of Cloudmont begins with a love of Lookout Mountain, the town of Mentone, and a dream that many would have thought was crazy. More than 50 years ago, Jack Jones fell in love with Lookout Mountain while working at a camp for kids. He loved the mountain so much that he bought Cloudmont, one of the many camps that dot the area. Jack, his wife, and three children spent many…
Matcha
December 14, 2021
Articles

The Little Mountain That Could

One of the best race and freestyle programs in Colorado hails from a backyard hill you may not have heard of— and teaches kids a lot more than how to smash gates. A dozen or so teenage racers with Eldora Mountain Ski and Snowboard Club (EMSC) bibs coagulate in one of the last remaining sunny spots at the bottom of a run called Chute at Colo.'s Eldora Mountain Resort, all booted up and wearing POC helmets, face protectors, GS suits, shin guards, and padded shorts. It’s 4 o’clock on a Wednesday, and the shadows have stretched over the slalom courses above and hardened the snow into what looks like polished concrete. The kids are talking and laughing louder with every minute—their energy building like molecules heated under a blow torch. These kids are part of a nonprofit program at a resort you’ve possibly never heard of in a tiny, prayer-flag fluttering town whose sole claim to fame is a former resident who lies cryogenically frozen and packed in dry ice in a Tuff Shed above town. “Of all of the world-class competition programs to highlight, why this one?” you ask. Well, if you could hear the smack that reverberates in your…
Matcha
December 7, 2021
Articles

Get Schooled: Improve Your Freestyle Skills This Season

The new Woodward Mountain Park at Mt. Bachelor, Ore., takes the sting out of park and pipe—and coaches you gently into a lifetime of joy. If you’re a parent, you’ve probably followed your brood at least once into the strange and pole-less world of the terrain park. And when you first looked at the metal rails and massive gap jumps, you probably also experienced dark and swirling thoughts about your insurance deductible and the sound a shoulder might make when it separates. Then, on the small chance you did summon enough courage to, say, slide a box (“Send it, Mom!” said no park rat ever), you probably skated away with bruises on your hip that didn’t hurt nearly as badly as those on your ego. This year, though, Mt. Bachelor, Ore., unveils its new Woodward Mountain Park, designed to take the fear (and pain) out of learning freestyle at the park. It’s all about progression—with 15 zones that range from a flat-ground Start Park for never-evers to the Performance Venue with huge competition-grade features, where local pros Lucas Wachs and Sage Cattabriga-Alosa get sendy. (You can also watch them huck from the safety of the Clearing Rock Bar deck, while…
Matcha
November 24, 2021
Articles

How to Spend 7 Days in Park City, Utah (and Why it Should Be Your Next Winter Vacation)

Park City is unique among winter vacation destinations because of the diversity that is created by having two world-class ski operations within minutes of each other. In some cases, Deer Valley Resort is separated by a rope on a ridge from Park City Mountain Resort, but there is no connection beyond that, so you’ll rely on the character, access, and infrastructure of the town to open the gates to both. You could easily spend 7 days at only one, but for this itinerary, buckle up for a whirlwind tour of both. Day 1 The High West Distillery & Saloon. Photo courtesy Park City Chamber/ Bureau Arrive at Salt Lake International Airport before noon, and it’s conceivable you could head straight to Park City and be on the mountain for a half-day of skiing/riding. Plenty of seasoned Park City visitors do it. But for this trip, you will be taking the long view, and there will be plenty of turns to come over the next week. Whether you are renting a car or taking one of the many shuttle services that will deliver you and your party from curb to condo, take your time making your way to where you’ll be…
Matcha
November 16, 2021
Articles

Legend of the Fall Line

Crystalline snow swirls around me. I shield my face and the hushed, snow-covered meadow I’m standing in is transformed into an adrenaline-inducing helicopter landing pad. It’s a spatial metamorphosis I’ve come to relish. We climb into the heli—an act that made my stomach drop when even thinking about it four days ago, but now, thanks to repetition, feels as simple as loading onto a chairlift. I sit next to the window and spot another yellow, white, and black helicopter below our own, landing to scoop up a different party of skiers, who behind them have left side by side, synchronized ski tracks cascading down the massive slope above them. “It’s like they’re bees,” shouts Daniel, smirking as he points down at the heli I’m eyeing. “Just buzzing around, looking to pollinate skiers on mountain tops.” I like this analogy because it feels true to the efficient and purposeful nature of the Yellowhead Helicopters soaring around these ranges, with pilots and guides working together to choose each ski line carefully. “I’m so glad the sun finally came out to play,” I say after unloading and we’re left in silence again. I’ve been randomly paired with seven other guests all week, including…
Matcha
November 9, 2021
Articles

10 Must-Do Adventures for Any Lake Tahoe Bucket List

Fact: If you’re an outdoor enthusiast who's ever bored in Tahoe, you’re doing something wrong. The Lake Tahoe region offers a dizzying amount of recreation opportunities with thousands of miles of hiking and biking trails, hundreds of square miles of crystal clear water, and a winter backcountry with seemingly endless choices for exploration. The bottom line? No matter what time of year it is, adventurous types will have plenty to choose from. Whether you're a longtime local or just visiting town for the weekend, these adventures are sure to please—and should be on any Lake Tahoe bucket list. (Note: They're listed in no particular order, because they're all equally awesome.) 1. Hike Mt. Tallac Sunrise over Lake Tahoe from the summit of Mt. Tallac. Aaron Hussmann Rising prominently from Tahoe’s southwest shoreline, Mt. Tallac’s jagged summit dominates vistas from any vantage point around the lake. As impressive as the peak looks from lake level, the views from the top provide captivating views of sparkling Lake Tahoe that will last a lifetime. This strenuous 9.0 mile roundtrip hike ascends 3,300 feet through steep sun-exposed terrain. Hikers should be prepared with plenty of water, food, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes. The classic route…
Matcha
July 27, 2021