8 Ways to Frolic in the Flakes

photo © tyler norenberg

Winter Weekend Getaway


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!

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 Cam’s Cafe, and a bar and grill upstairs in the Eagle’s Nest. Additionally, the Corduroy Club is open for drink service for those over 21 years of age. 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 in Taylors Falls, MN.
Trollhaugen Outdoor Recreation Area in Dresser, WI.

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.


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.

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. Some events will include a bonfire, refreshments, and live music. Check out our event page to learn more.

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

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. Check out the latest events here.

Snowshoe rental:
Wild River State Park Snowshoe Rental:

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

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.


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 written by Karen Lawrence & Linda Shober and produced by Linda Shober Marketing + Design, a marketing firm located in the St. Croix Valley specializing in providing content, strategy, management, design, and creative for digital and traditional marketing projects.