Top 3 Best Ski Resorts in MINNESOTA For Beginners

When you think about Minnesota, what comes to mind? For some, it may be the frigid winters or its big brother in Wisconsin that often steals all of their thunder. But for others, they picture a state where there are “no mountains.” However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! The resorts have challenging terrain with plenty more beginner-friendly hills and slopes.

If you’re a novice skier, these are three ski locations you should visit while in Minnesota.

Resort Location

Beginner's Trails


Snow Tubing

Buck Hill Resort

6 Trails

  • 9 Lifts

  • 2 Magic Carpet


Giants Ridge Resort

12 Trails

  • 7 Lifts

  • 1 Magic Carpet


Afton Alps Resort

13 Trails

  • 21 Lifts

  • 2 Magic Carpet

Not Available

#1. Buck Hill

Buck Hill is a ski resort located in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. They are known for their quality skiing, and it has been said they have the best racing program out of all resorts in America. Buck Hill ski resort has been published in Ski Magazine as “The Capitol of American Ski Racing.

Buck Hill was also one of the first resorts to introduce artificial slopes that allow them to open during off-season months like springtime. The family-oriented atmosphere makes this place perfect for beginners who want some good advice on getting started or those just exploring new terrain without feeling pressured by faster skiers around them at other mountains nearby.

Green Trails for Beginners

ski green trails

The 6 green trails of the ski resort are perfect for beginners to learn how to get their feet wet with some new tricks. You will be surprised at just how quickly you’re picking up on these skills!

Magic Carpet Lifts

They have 2 magic carpet lifts that make it easy for a beginner to learn how to ski.

Training Packages

Buck Hill has several options for beginners. They have daily group lessons, Learn to Ski (which can last 90 minutes), and private lessons available on-site or off-site, depending on your skill level. Classes are grouped by age: Little Bucks (4-6) Buck Hill Cruisers for 7 to 12 year old).

Visit their website for further details and the latest pricing.

Rental Packages

Rental packages are available on a per-day basis. Visit their website for the latest pricing and get discounted rentals for the day!

Snow Tubing

snow tubing in minnesota

Buck Hill has brought winter to life by expanding its offerings with a new Snow Tube Park that includes an already expansive Snow Tubing Area as well as two brand spanking new 15′ high carpets lifts.

Other Activities

Buck Hill is the perfect destination for winter enthusiasts looking to enjoy all that snow has to offer. Buck Hill offers 3 on-site restaurants, and more off-mountain activities can be found nearby at local businesses or with your lodging choice.

My Thoughts on Buck Hill Ski Resort

Minnesota is known for its plains and rolling hills. In the winter, skiers can find an excellent training facility in Minnesota’s prairies without feeling intimidated by a mountain slope as there are no mountains here! Yet, with options for all levels of skiing, from beginner to expert on slopes, you’ll never grow tired.

#2. Giants Ridge

Giants Ridge, located in Duluth, Minnesota, is the region’s number one family vacation destination. This year-round resort offers skiing, golfing, and more! Be sure to save money on lift tickets by purchasing online. Moreover, Kids 6 and under can ski free.

Green Trails for Beginners

There are 12 beginner trails to explore without the fear of becoming lost.

Magic Carpet Lifts

The resort has 1 magic carpet lift. The lift has a magical feel to it. It’s designed for beginners, but other lifts are available that can accommodate different levels of difficulty and experience!

Training Packages

ski training package minnesota

Giants Ridge offers a variety of lessons for all guests ages 4+. The private and semi-private options allow the instructors to customize what’s best for your skill level. There are group lesson options for children by age, including those designed specifically for beginners aged 4-14 in Giants Ridge’s program called “Ridge Kids.” Visit their website for the latest pricing.

Rental Packages

A skier’s or snowboarder’s best friend, the rental shop has all of your gear needs. From ski pants and boots to gloves and goggles, even fat-tire biking, they have it covered! Click here to reserve items for an upcoming trip with guaranteed availability during the busy season (December-March).

Snow Tubing

snow tube fun at minnesota ski resort

Giants Ridge is the perfect place for your next tubing excursion. Be sure to book a session of two hours or more and take advantage of three snow tube lanes perfect for groups, as well as tow lifts that will make it easier than ever to get back up after you go down!

Other Activities

Explore the great outdoors of winter at The Giants Ridge Resort. With skiing, snowboarding, fat-tire biking, and more, you’re sure to have a blast! When it’s time for some relaxation, visit Burnt Onion Kitchen & Brews or Salon & Spa Services. Fancy staying on-site? Check out their luxurious hotel accommodations with an indoor pool and whirlpool just waiting for your arrival!

My Thoughts on Giants Ridge Ski Resort

This place is not only kid-friendly but also perfect for beginners or families looking to spend time together out in nature with some fresh air! The slopes are well-groomed. There are 2 bunny hills (just right if you feel anxious about skiing) plus many different runs from easy cruisers to exhilarating steeps.

#3. Afton Alps

Afton Alps is the perfect place for skiing and snowboarding, with 300 acres of terrain. It’s located just outside Minneapolis/St Paul, and in recent years $10+ million has been invested in upgrading the facility to meet even more needs!

Green Trails for Beginners

The 13 green trails are perfect for those who want to enjoy the mountain but might not be ready to face some of its more challenging terrain.

Magic Carpet Lifts

magic carpet lift in minnesota ski resort

There are plenty of slopes to help you get used to skiing with 2 magic carpet lifts that will take away any fear and let you focus on improving your skills!

Training Packages

Afton Alps offers a variety of lessons to help people interested in skiing, but it’s not only for beginners. Private and group sessions are offered that can cater to different needs, including first-time skiers who have already learned some skills or those looking for more instructional options from coaches with advanced knowledge.

Novice skiers can take the First-Time Beginner Lesson over 2 hours and learn to tackle more advanced slopes, while kids will love Epic Kids Group Lessons with other beginner friends at their age level! Visit their website for the latest pricing.

Rental Packages

Their wide variety of rentals means that there’s something for everyone, and they offer everything at a discounted price if it is rented for the whole season or longer! Check the latest rates here.

Snow Tubing

snow tube park minnesota

Afton Alps doesn’t have a snow tubing option available at the time of this writing.

Other Activities

Afton Alps is all about letting your troubles melt away with a little bit of skiing and snowboarding. They’re so confident in their slopeside dining that you don’t need to check with the ski lodge for any other activities–they’ve got it covered!

My Thoughts on Afton Alps Ski Resort

Afton Alps ski resort offers a wide variety of slopes that are perfect for any experience level. As the first Midwest skiing destination within an hour from Minneapolis, you can’t go wrong with Afton Alps! Recently bought by Vail Resorts, they are upgrading it to improve our skiing experience into something even better than before!