Snow skiing is synonymous with the state of Minnesota. Ski resorts are everywhere. Minnesota’s slopes offer affordable adventure close to home for not only skiers from Minnesota but from the entire Midwest. All throughout the state there are hills where novices can get their start on the slopes and experts can challenge themselves on steep, advanced runs.
From taking a spectacular gondola ride up a mountain to a venue with a traditional ski-lodge feel to a chalet with floor-to-ceiling windows, the following are five ski spots throughout the state that offer private meeting and event space.
Lutsen Mountains, Lutsen
Want to take a beautiful gondola ride to the top of Moose Mountain? Then you must pay a visit to Lutsen Mountains. “Our Summit Express Gondola is definitely our main attraction,” says Group Sales Director Amanda Plummer. “It’s a new Doppelmayr, high-speed, eight-passenger enclosed area lift. It’s an 8- to 10-minute scenic ride that goes over the Poplar River, used for skiing, sightseeing and to get to the Summit Chalet on Moose Mountain.”
The Summit Chalet can accommodate up to 175 guests for a seated dinner and up to 250 for a standup cocktail party. The Village Chalet can host up to 90 guests seated and up to 125 standing. The Scandinavian Chalet, a multilevel space, can host up to 200 guests seated on the split level and up to 100 standing on the upper level.
“We’re very outdoorsy. It’s a typical north woods décor, that kind of a feel to it,” Plummer says.
Eagle Ridge Resort, located at the base of the facilities, is the lone lodging option on property. Catering is done in-house.
Giants Ridge, Biwabik
For a welcoming, semicasual setting, Giants Ridge is for you. Located among the towering pines and deep blue lakes of Minnesota’s Superior National Forest, guests feel millions of miles away from their everyday lives.
The lodge guest rooms feature log décor, full-service kitchens, whirlpool style tubs and fireplaces. “It also sits at the bottom of the ski mountain with a spectacular view,” says Director of Catering Wendy VonWald.
The lodge has two main ballrooms, each of which can accommodate up to 100 guests seated and up to 150 standing. Another smaller space holds 40-80 people, and the two boardrooms can accommodate 8-12 guests.
The chalet next door can host up to 75 guests seated and up to 100 standing in a semiprivate room; when it’s not in operation the chalet holds 300 seated and 360 standing. There is also a boardroom that seats up to eight guests. Catering is done in-house.
Buck Hill, Burnsville
It’s casual. It’s fun. It’s Buck Hill.
“Guests love the convenience and the family-owned friendliness,” says owner Chip Solner. “During the winter it’s very exciting and fun because it’s filled with people. Guests love coming here for skiing, snowboarding, tubing and mountain biking. We have a ton of tubing parties with corporate events. There are bonfires, too.”
The Buck Hill Event Center provides most of the meeting and event space. On the second level is the Buck Hill Event Room that can accommodate up to 220 guests seated and up to 275 standing. On the first level is the Hillside Room that can host up to 50 guests seated and up to 75 standing. Also on the first level is the Buck Hill Learning Center.
In a separate building is the Hutch, which can host up to 125 guests seated and up to 150 standing. Catering is done in-house.
Chester Bowl, Duluth
Chester Bowl Improvement Club has a traditional ski-lodge feel. “It’s got dark wood, just sort of that feeling of the early era of skiing,” says Executive Director Dave Schaeffer. “People like the fact that it feels like a getaway. They come into the park, you have to drive in a ways from the main road and then, no matter the season, you have great views of the ski hill and the creek that flows by. So it’s a nice, relaxing place to get out of your normal element.”
Named after the bowl-shaped geological formation with the hillside that the ski run and chalet are built on, Chester Bowl, located within Chester Bowl Park, is a small, two-story chalet that can accommodate up to 40 guests seated and up to 50 standing but only when the ski hill is closed. Skiers use the meeting space as their seating area. Groups must provide their own caterer.
Hyland Hills Ski Area, Bloomington
Floor-to-ceiling windows, with beautiful views of the ski hill, in the main chalet, which just opened a year ago, is the feature attraction at Hyland Hills Ski Area. “It’s really a nice view,” Group Sales Coordinator Shelley Wall says. “Our Alpine Room can accommodate up to 320 guests seated and up to 400 standing, and our Ridgeview Room can host up to 48 guests seated and up to 70 standing. There’s a patio off both rooms.”
The rental areas are available from April to September because during the winter the Alpine Room is the main seating area for the skiers and the Ridgeview Room is a staff room.
“We’re unique,” says Wall, “because we’re kind of tucked away but still only 5-10 minutes from the Mall of America.”
Groups must use a caterer from the venue’s approved list.