Growing up in Minneapolis I always snowboarded at Afton Alps or Welch Village. Because of this, I developed a weird mentality against powder ridge. I judged it somewhat harshly, mostly because didn’t wanna drive out to the cornfields, but wasn’t I doing that for Afton & Welch?
I would like to say, and put on the record, that I was horribly wrong. My only complain now is its distance but it’s not like they will move the resort for me. If you’re interested in some good shredding, its worth the drive.
For my first visit to Powder Ridge I was an instructor for a group called SkiJammers. We teach elementary school kids how to ski or snowboard, and we hit up the resorts all over the city.
I went in thinking about how cold and windy the day would be, and it turned out to be one of the best rides of the season.
How Do I Get To Powder Ridge?
First off, how do you even get to Powder Ridge? It’s a little bit of a drive if you live in the twin cities, on average its twice the distance you would drive if heading to Afton Alps However if you live somewhere in central Minnesota, it’s a viable option for you. For directions click here and that will bring up the Powder Ridge site with directions.
Personally, I like long drives and it took an hour and 15 minutes to reach Powder Ridge. I remember looking around thinking it was strange because I was driving through flat cornfields, drinking coffee, and all of a sudden a huge hill appeared out of nowhere. It seemed almost unnatural.
You Can’t Miss It, and if you do. Well, you probably shouldn’t be driving.
What Types Of Terrain Does Powder Ridge Have?
The Ski Resort has terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. You can view the trail map here but I’ll write up a general breakdown of the terrain below.
While it looks small, this ski resort does pack some good runs in. I rode it with my class of elementary school students and found some challenging areas for myself. It became a pretty epic day.
Powder Ridge Beginner Terrain
You’ll notice on the map there isn’t a whole lot of beginner terrain at the resort. If you’re worried about hurting yourself or wondering how you’ll get to the bottom of the hill stick to the lift on the right hand side (when looking at the hill), and stay on the long blue run (from top to bottom). This run isn’t super steep or aggressive and it’s has no turns.
Powder Ridge Intermediate Terrain
The resort has a lot of intermediate terrain for you to dial in tricks and improve on the sills you’ve already been growing. I’d recommend starting on the run I mentioned above and if you’re good with that, head over to the other blue runs on the map. Most of them aren’t super difficult but after a few runs you should feel yourself fall into the groove and you’ll be aching for a bigger challenge.
When you reach that point and the blues aren’t challenging, head over to the left chairlift (left on the map and looking at the hill) On these runs you have blues that link up with black diamonds 2/3rds of the way down. This way you can get some expert level training in and develop your skills a bit more.
Powder Ridge Expert Level
There’s a lot of expert level terrain at the ski resort. When you’re ready to hit them, you’ll have an awesome time. Many of the runs are the basic steep ski runs and you won’t have a lot of turning, but you’ll get a lot of speed and carving in whenever you drop into a run. But if you hit up the black diamonds to the left of the resort, you’ll get some terrain in the way of turns and features on the hill.
I was there on a bluebird day and thoroughly enjoyed riding on these black diamonds, and so did my students.
Terrain To Explore? -Secret Spots.
I really liked a tiny rail/box park located in the back of the ski resort. It was on the top left hand corner of the map inside a clearing of trees (go up the left chair and turn left off it. You can’t miss it). They were a decent size for beginners and intermediate riders and for some reason nobody else was using them.
I spent a lot of the day there with my students hitting rails and giving pointers. If you’re a budding park rat. This would be a great area of the ski resort to check out and improve your skills.
What Kind Of Terrain Parks Are At The Resort?
I wrote about one of the smaller terrain parks above, and the reason I did was because it was located on the other side of the resort than the two main ones.
If you check out the trail map, you’ll see two terrain parks with a tow rope right up the middle. To the left of the tow rope were rail features and the right had different size jump features.
If my students and I weren’t in the little park, we were in the bigger jump park. It really was the perfect day to hit up the hill and do some serious shredding. The landing area was soft and the jumps were kept pristine.
Ski Resort Food Options
One of my students praised the donuts they had for sale in the chalet, he couldn’t get enough of them. I found them to be pretty delicious as well, but I also was a fan of their walking taco.
The ski resort has two different options for food. One is the chalet and that has your normal chalet food (with walking tacos) and the other is Chesters Bar And Grill. I personally didn’t eat at Chesters but the smell of amazing food at the end of the day almost killed me. If you want great food and a cold beer after a long day of shredding, stop in. You’ll be glad you did.
I didn’t have any bad run-ins with the ski patrol here, (lets not talk about another resort) but a friend of mine is part of it. He really enjoys it, and we always have some good conversations about skiing vs. snowboarding. In reality, it usually breaks down to me making a joke about skiers and he says something about snowboarding back.
If you’re in need of the ski patrol, they are always ready to help, and if you’d like to join click the link here or above for instructions.
Ski And Snowboard School
The Powder Ridge ski and snowboard school teaches children and adults of all ages. It even has an adaptive program for children and adults with disabilities. This is something that’s near to my heart, so I love organizations and ski resorts that help out with that. Click the link above and then click on lessons for more information.
Lift Ticket Vs Season Pass?
Powder ridge has a reasonable rate for a day lift ticket. As of the 2018 season the rates ranged from $36-$48 depending on the day you went. To check the current lift ticket cost going to the Powder Ridge Website Here. Most likely they’ll update the costs prior to the season opening.
In addition to that, season passes are half of what I pay for my current season pass at Afton. While the perks are different I’d consider paying if I lived closer.
The View; And How The Snow Felt
On that cold day in January, I didn’t expect Powder Ridge to be so epic. Most of my fellow instructors warned me that it would be cold and windy, but after 11AM we didn’t even notice it.
Be prepared for wind, and be safe when you ride. If it’s cold take a lot of breaks and warm up. Especially when you have children with you.
The view was nice with cornfields everywhere surrounding us, and if you’re lucky enough to be there on a sunny day like I was. Well that’s a blessing.