Winter Weekend Getaway in the St. Croix Valley

8 Ways to Frolic in the Flakes.

The St. Croix River Valley knows how to celebrate winter. We welcome the snow, embrace the ice, and become close friends with the cold.  We cordially invite you to emerge from the stuffy indoors and join us in the clean, crisp air of the season.  With so many ways to enjoy winter in the St. Croix River Valley, you’ll want to stay for the whole weekend—and probably longer!

1.     Ski/Snowboard

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© Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area

Lisa, Elle & Megan

© Wild Mountain Recreation Area

Calling all altitude adventurers! The St. Croix River Valley features two
premiere ski and snowboard destinations, one on each side of the river. They combine to present almost 200 acres of mountainous territory with 50 runs and eight freestyle terrain parks, ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced.

Shred these sprawling slopes with your own equipment or rent all the gear you need on site. If your skills aren’t quite up to snuff, take advantage of the
lessons offered to all ages and abilities, including competition level skiers.
Both sites offer meals in the chalet. At Wild Mountain, you can partake in
cafeteria style cuisine in the newly remodeled lower chalet area or bring your own food.

Upstairs, the Eagle’s Nest Bar & Grill offers food, drink, and libations.
Trollhaugen features two restaurants: Kaffe Stuga and Skolhaugen Lounge. Check out Live Music Friday at Skolhaugen where you can access the slopes and the tunes until 3 am. The Ski Shop at Trollhaugen includes a complete retail store and service department.

Wild Mountain Ski and Snowboard Area in Taylors Falls, MN.
Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area in Dresser, WI.

2.     Snow Tube

© Wild Mountain Recreation Area

Get the thrill of rushing down a snow-covered hill without the expense or skill of skiing. Snow tubing provides hassle-free fun for the whole family, no
experience required. The St. Croix River Valley is a tubing hotbed with local
hills designated solely for tubers. Test the manicured chute runs of
Trollhaugen or Wild Chutes.

Take a conveyer belt or tow rope to the top and enjoy the ride back up almost as much as the ride down. Each destination provides a warming chalet with refreshments, and tubes are included with admission.

Wild Chute at Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, MN.
Trollhaugen Snow Tubing in Dresser, WI.

3.     Fat Bike

© Ben Mullin

In the St. Croix River Valley, mountain bike season never ends. The oversized tires and beefed up frame of a fat bike allow riders to traverse wintry terrain with ease and discover a whole new world of frozen vistas. Hop on a fatty and experience the miles of groomed, snow-covered singletrack trails of the Woolly Mountain Bike Trails, with levels of difficulty ranging from beginner to expert.  There is also a freshly groomed 2.6 mile trail for Fat Biking at Brookside Trail at Schillberg Park in Osceola, WI.

Maklin Bike Shop in Shafer, MN. Get a fat bike or a fat bike tune-up.
Woolly Bike Club Find out about group rides, and make a donation to help keep fat bike trails in superb condition.

Get winter WOOLLY trail maps here.

4.     Cross Country Ski

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©  Frank Lundeen.

Whether training for the illustrious Birkebeiner or simply enjoying the scenery on a pleasure ski, the St. Croix Valley is a mecca for cross country
skiers of all abilities. Nordic ski trails span over 160 kilometers, expertly
groomed for classic or skate-style skiing. Experience a variety of terrain and
elevations and enjoy night skiing on lighted loops. Area candlelight ski events provide an opportunity to bask in the tranquil, snowy forest lit only by the soft glow of candles along the path. A bonfire, refreshments, and live music await you at the end.

© Frank Lundeen

Ski tune-ups:
Trollhaugen Ski Shop in Dresser, WI.
Berkshire Nordic Ski Services in St. Croix Falls, WI

Ski rental:
Wild River State Park Ski Rental: in Center City, MN

5.     Snowshoe/Hike


There’s a reason why St. Croix Falls, WI is known as the City of Trails. It is
the terminus of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail which spans over 1,200 miles throughout Wisconsin. Interstate Park in St. Croix Falls encompasses almost 10 miles of trails, including portions of the Ice Age Trail, and is home to the Ice Age Interpretive Center. The southern segment of the Gandy Dancer Trail winds through Wisconsin for 47 miles and crosses into Minnesota. And it doesn’t stop here! Explore the seemingly endless miles of trails in the area and indulge your senses in beautiful woodland bluffs, glacial remnants, rocky outcroppings, and majestic river views. Snowshoe or hike by candlelight and enjoy a truly unique and inspiring experience. Candlelight events conclude with a bonfire, refreshments, and live music.

Snowshoe rental:
Wild River State Park Snowshoe Rental:

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© Linda Shober

6.     Ice Fish


© Nathan Waterworth

Whether angling for trophy fish or panfish, the St. Croix River Valley has
hotspots to explore. The mighty St. Croix is home to almost all types of
freshwater fish and hundreds of lakes of all sizes spatter the nearby landscape. Find a quiet, solitary spot to fish in the open air or pop up a shanty near one of the area’s many hubs and exchange tips with other anglers.

Fishing Maps
Chisago County Lakefinder
Polk County Lakefinder

7.     Ice Skate


© Linda Shober

Make family memories with an outdoor skate in the St. Croix  Valley. Feel
the fresh air on your face as you glide past evergreens, boughs heavy with snow. Hear the chatter of chipmunks and birds and the sound of laughter ringing out in space. It sure beats the canned air, echoed shouts, and scuffed white boards/plexiglass scenery of an indoor rink. Warming houses provide an area to lace up, catch your breath, or escape the cold.

Oakey Park in Osceola, WI
Scandia Ice Rink in Scandia, MN
Chuckie Lindquist Park in Chisago City, MN
Eagle's Classic Ice Arena in St. Croix Falls, WI

The River Valley Hockey Association hosts a FREE Community Open Skate every Sunday in January! It runs from 4:30-6:00pm. They offer free skate rental and a concession stand!

8.     Snowmobile


Rev up for some fuel-injected fun in the St. Croix River Valley. The natural
terrain provides some of the most diverse scenery in the Upper Midwest. The landscape, shaped primarily by glaciers, offers glimpses of eskers, potholes (kettles), forests, bluffs, ancient rock formations, and stunning river vistas. And through it all twists over 550 miles of world-class snowmobile trails.

Check with the county for trail closures.

Area Snowmobile Maps
Chisago County snowmobile trail map
Polk County snowmobile trail map

This article was produced by Linda Shober Marketing + Design, LLC and written by Karen Lawrence. Linda Shober Marketing and Design is located in the St. Croix Valley and specializes in providing content, strategy, management, design, and creative for digital and traditional marketing projects.

Top photo credit © Tyler Norenberg

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