If you think the Midwest doesn’t have good terrain for skiing and snowboarding, think again. The town of Fargo, which sits on the border of North Dakota and Minnesota, is surrounded by a few hidden gems, and while small, these ski resorts know how to pack a punch.
Whether you’re looking for downhill runs, cross-country trails, terrain parks, snowshoeing, ice skating, or even snow tubing, the resorts around Fargo have got you covered.
And if you’re worried about snowfall at the slopes, don’t be, since Fargo usually averages around 49 inches of snow each year. Even if the weather isn’t on your side, many of the nearby resorts have 100% snowmaking capabilities.
With six ski areas within 3 hours of Fargo, you are sure to find a suitable one that fulfills your needs. So leave the long lines at big resorts behind and enjoy exploring some of the best trails in North Dakota and Minnesota.
Here are the closest ski resorts by Fargo, ND, in order of driving proximity:
Andes Tower – Kensington, MN: 103 miles | 1.5 hours
Located outside of Kensington, Minnesota, just an hour and a half from Fargo, lies the closest resort to the city, Andes Tower Hills. The mountain is positioned next to 800 acres of cross country skiing, groomed for both classical and skate style, with over 20 kilometers of trails as well as snowshoeing on designated routes.
The base elevation of Andres Tower Hills sits at 1,330 feet with 290-feet of elevation gain. The ski area is equipped with snow machines and has 15 trails, nearly half of which are rated for advanced and expert level athletes, serviced by 4 chairlifts.
Despite being a smaller mountain, Andes Tower Hills offers a variety of winter activities and lessons. While downhill skiing is predominately rated for advanced riders, a majority of the cross-country trails are designed for beginners. Additionally, Andes Tower Hills recently installed a snow tubing region along with a magic carpet to take riders back up the hill.
Andes Tower Hills’ close proximity to small towns outside of Minneapolis allows for school field trips within the area.
505 Andes Rd SW, Kensington, MN 56343 (Map) | (320) 965-2455
Mount Ski Gull – Nisswa, MN: 135 miles | 2.25 hours
Just 2 hours and 15 minutes east of Fargo lies Mount Ski Gull, located outside of Nisswa, Minnesota. Though small, this resort offers seemingly endless types of winter activities.
The base elevation at Mount Ski Gull sits at 1,285 feet with 230 feet of vertical gain. The resort has 10 downhill trails serviced by three chairlifts, and while the mountain doesn’t have an immense incline, fifty percent of the trails are rated as advanced. Additionally, Mount Ski Gull boasts a terrain park, cross country skiing, snowshoe trails, ice skating, snow tubing, and night skiing.
9898 County 77 Southwest, Nisswa, MN 56468 (Map) | (218) 963-4353
Buena Vista Ski – Bemidji, MN: 144 miles | 2.5 hours
Near the city of Bemidji, Minnesota lies Buena Vista Ski Area, home to 16 runs serviced by 4 chairlifts as well as 25 km of cross-country trails. Throughout these trails, about 25% of which are rated as advanced, are nine lakes accompanying the scenic forest, providing guests with a mesmerizing experience.
The mountain on which Buena Vista resides was cleared for its first run back in 1936. Once grooming became more widely available, the mountain was expanded, adding its first rope tow in 1949, followed by the mountain’s first chairlift in 1975.
The 230-foot drop at Buena Vista Ski Area offers visitors expansive views from its summit while the longest run on the mountain, Earle’s Happy Trail, gives riders 2,000 feet of snow to shred. Furthermore, similar to other ski resorts in the region, Buena Vista offers snow tubing along with a magic carpet.
At the base of the mountain lies a three-story chalet where skiers can rent gear, book lessons, and warm up after a long day on the slopes.
19600 Irvine Ave NW, Bemidji, MN 56601 (Map) | (218) 243-2231
Powder Ridge – Kimball, MN: 183 miles | 2.75 hours
Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort, located in Kimball, Minnesota, has 290 feet of vertical gain and offers 15 unique runs serviced by one quad chair, two double chairs, and three surface lifts. About 40% of the runs are rated as intermediate with the rest being evenly split among beginner and advanced trails.
Despite the small size of the mountain, Powder Ridge offers three separate terrain parks for skiers and snowboarders. While Cedar Park is designed for beginners, South Park and North Park and equipped for advanced and expert riders, providing high-speed rope tows to its features.
The entire mountain at Powder Ridge is open for night skiing and once the sun sets, skiers and snowboarders have panoramic views of the distant city lights. Additionally, both private and group lessons are available and snow tubing is offered during the weekends and over the holidays.
Along with lessons, the Powder Ridge Mountain Park & Resort also has an Alpine Ski Racing Program. The program is open to anyone interested and gives access to the alpine zone which is equipped with a downhill racing route.
15015 93rd Ave, Kimball, MN 55353 (Map) | (320) 398-7200
Frost Fire Park – Walhalla, ND: 188 miles | 3 hours
Frost Fire Park opened in 1976 and is located just three hours north of Fargo in Walhalla, North Dakota. This resort is home to 3 lifts and 10 runs, one of which is half a mile long, split between 40% advanced, 40% intermediate, and 20% beginner trails. The mountain boasts 350 feet of vertical gain with a summit elevation of 1,350 feet.
The mountain on which Frost Fire Park resides is a mere six miles south of the Canadian border, making it a popular ski area for both Americans and Canadians. Dissimilar to most ski areas, the lodge and parking lot of Frost Fire is located at the top of the mountain.
While Frost Fire is used throughout the winter months for downhill skiing, the mountain is also known for its mountain biking and outdoor theater. During the summer months, the ski area transforms into a network of seven mountain biking trails along with a terrain park called Dragon’s Mouth.
11950 Co Hwy 55, Walhalla, ND 58282 (Map) | (701) 549-3600
Huff Hills – Huff, ND: 217 miles | 3.25 hours
Established in 1993, and located just over three hours west of Fargo, Huff Hills Ski Area took over the mountain that Twilight Hills Ski Area existed on during the 1960s.
Huff Hills is known for being the largest ski area in all of North Dakota in addition to offering hike-to terrain. The mountain has a vertical drop of 450 feet, the tallest in all of North Dakota, and has 16 runs serviced by three lifts, including two double lifts and a hand tow.
On average the mountain receives 40 inches of annual snowfall while snow machines service 80% of the resort. Along with being the largest ski area in the state, Huff Hills Ski Area has a dedicated terrain park. The “Green Lift” terrain park is full of ramps, rails, boxes, and various other features, making it the largest terrain park in the entire state.
Due to receiving more traffic than other resorts within North Dakota, Huff Hills has a designated beginner’s area for those who are just learning to ski or snowboard. The mountain is also home to the Huff Hills Race Team for ages five to eighteen and offers individual and group lessons at the main lodge.
5455 Co Rd 80, Huff, ND 58554 (Map) | (701) 663-6421
Whether you’re looking for ski lessons at a beginner’s hill, scenic cross-country tracks, or a challenging terrain park, the family-run resorts surrounding Fargo are sure to deliver. Though small, and typically having only a few hundred feet of vertical gain, these resorts make the most of their acreage.
After the hustle and bustle of crowded resorts out west, skiing through the Midwest will feel like a breath of fresh air. So, the next time you’re planning a ski trip, don’t forget to consider adding a stop to the ski resorts near Fargo to your list.