December brings chilly temps and that frosty blanket of snow to the ground that makes the month both so pretty and so functional for winter fun. Whether you have littles just getting warmed up in winter sports like skiing and snowboarding or you’re dealing with tweens and teens who seek more of a thrill, we’ve got family skiing and snowboarding suggestions for the season.
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
Como Park Ski Center | St Paul
- single day tow rope tickets ($12-$15) or 10 punch pass
- ski & snowboard rental equipment ($12-$20)
- free, groomed cross-country ski trails with your own equipment
- ski & snowboard lessons
- Ski Chalet with concessions available
- No charge to use the sledding hill
Family deal: Friday Family Fun Nights | Ongoing Fridays, Dec 21 2018-Feb 15, 2019, 5-10pm | $60/family up to 5 members or $15/individual, tow ropes tickets & ski or snowboard rental included.
Hyland Hills Ski Area | Bloomington
- single day lift tickets ($19-$36, kids 4 & under ski free with paid adult)
- ski & snowboard rental equipment ($1-$23)
- lessons offered through the SnowSports Academy
- features a terrain park
- Hyland Grill offers dining
Family deal: Nights Under the Lights, Mon–Fri: 7–9pm; Sat & Sun: 6–9pm: $18.60 plus tax
Elm Creek Winter Recreation Area season pass holders pay a discounted rate of $10 at Hyland Hills. Hyland Hills pass holders pay a daily rate of $5 at Elm Creek.
Elm Creek Winter Recreation Area | Maple Grove
- single day tow lift tickets ($17/pp) or 10 punch pass
- ski & snowboard rental equipment ($20.50)
- lessons offered through SnowSports Academy
- groomed & lighted cross-country ski trails ($9/daily pass, rental equipment available)
- concessions available in Elm Creek Chalet
More family fun: A tubing hill with a lift is open through mid-February, $15/2 hrs. There is also a decent sledding hill for use at no charge (bring your own sled). Looking for more places to sled and tube with the family? Try the list in our Winter Survival Guide.
Buck Hill | Burnsville
- single day lift tickets ($27-$47). Kids under five receive a free lift ticket with paid adult ticket.
- Equipment rental packages are $29 or you can rent separately
- Snow tubing is available for anyone 5+, $18/2 hrs or $15 Sunday night specials
More family fun: May through snowfall, Buck Hill is open for mountain biking. A season pass to the trails is $49.
Afton Alps | Hastings
- single day lift tickets ($45-$60)
- season passes available
- standard and high performance ski & snowboard equipment rentals
- lessons for all ages
- multiple dining options
- many family-friendly events hosted throughout the season
Family deal: Sign up for Afton Alps’s Preferred Program to get perks including a $5 discount off per ticket purchased up to 4. The perks are also applied if you travel to one of the Vail Resorts in Colorado, Utah and Tahoe.
Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area | Dresser, WI
- single day lift tickets ($38-$48/pp) – save $ when purchasing online or take advantage of weekday ticket discounts
- standard and high performance ski & snowboard equipment rentals; packages start at $23-$29
- lessons for all ages
- thrill-seekers can play in the terrain park, which includes a beginner’s section appropriate for ages 3-5.
More family fun: During the summer, Trollhaugen’s Adventure Park includes zip line tours and an Aerial Challenge Course.
Wild Mountain | Taylors Falls
- single-day lift tickets ($42-$55 – save online or during evening discount hours) 5 & under ski free.
- Equipment rental packages available ($24-$30 OR lease for the season)
- lessons for all ages, including joint parent-child sessions
- For more thrills, head over to the Terrain Park or a purchase a 2-hr tubing session ($19 online)
More family fun: There is loads to do in the Taylors Falls area, particularly during the summer months: visit the water park and alpine slide at Wild Mountain, hike through Interstate State Park or meet wildlife at Fawn-Doe-Rosa. Try our list of 6 Things To Dear Near Taylors Falls.