Winter Hot List 2012

60 Reasons To Get Out Of The House



Winter is a state of mind, and we’re just getting warmed up.

It’s cashmere scarves, faux fur vests, and shearling-trimmed boots, which may never actually crunch the snow but will look extremely glamorous while you sip hot toddies by the fire in the chalet. (Not everybody skis in Lutsen.)

Or it’s breathtakingly active: skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, flying down a hill on a big tube.

Get moving. As Kare 11 chief meteorologist Belinda Jensen says, “It really makes our long winter so much more enjoyable.” Spoken like a true weather geek, sure, but Jensen doesn’t just play a snow queen (with a whole wardrobe of coats!) on TV. She met her husband, David, on the slopes. Their 9-year-old son, Tanner, is already on a ski team, and 4-year-old Tori is on her way. Says Jensen, “It’s turning into a true family outing and a sport that we all enjoy together.”

Nationwide, winter sport participation is on the rise, and Minnesota is at the forefront of that trend. You can see it on the hills and trails: About 350,000 Minnesotans downhill ski and snowboard, and more than 5 percent of the state’s residents cross-country ski. The enthusiasm is palpable at our many outdoors stores: Minnesotans spent more than $78 million on snow sports equipment, apparel, and accessories last winter—which puts us not far behind coastal states that are more populous and definitely more mountainous.

Technology is making it easier to triumph over the elements. Jackets are thinner, and boots are warmer—function truly has met fashion. Equipment has become more comfortable and stable, so baby boomers are getting back on skis or snowshoes even after knee surgery. Freestyle skis—shorter, curved on both ends, and designed for jumps and tricks—are prompting renewed enthusiasm among young people. As the joke on the slopes goes: The children of snowboarders are rebelling by taking up skiing.

Whether you get outside or cuddle up inside, there are so many ways to make the most of winter. Seize the season! And keep the warm drinks coming.

Cross-Country Skiing

Whether you're a beginner or a pro, purist classical skier or skating machine, there's a trail to suit your style.

Ice Skating

The epitome of winter romance–and the perfect excuse to hold on tight. Our downtowns are home to the Twin Cities best destination date rinks.


Explore places you wouldn't otherwise be able to get to–deep into the woods, up icy peaks, or out on the middle of a frozen lake.

Ski Local

Need a winter pick-me-up? Try zooming down one of these hills.

Snow Tubing

Even if balance really isn't your thing, you should still barrel down a big snowy hill at least once this winter.

Winter Weekend Trips

Going away to one of these five scenic resort is sure to chase your winter blahs away, whether you ski or not.

Winter Dining & Drinking

Our guide to dining and drinking this winter. Whether you what to light a fire under your belly with whiskey or barbeque, we got you covered.

Slope Style & Winter Gear

Our guide to staying fashionable on the slopes, and how to survive if you decide to trek off the beaten path this winter.

Winter Adventures with Garrison Keillor

Read an hilarious yarn—spanning to a cramped and naked sauna session—by the legendary Minnesota Public Radio storyteller.