Midwest Afton Alps around New Years?

RockfishHunter

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Jan 3, 2019
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Not exactly a destination I ever planned to check skis on an airplane for, but my wife's family is from North Dakota and we'll be around St. Paul, MN for a few days around New Years. She's a newbie skier and I'm an Epic holder so I figured what the hell, let's do it - could be a good place to get her some 1:1 lessons. That said, what - aside from crowds - should I expect at that time of the year? I see they have 100% snowmaking coverage, but don't know how aggressive they get in terms of opening terrain earlier in the season. Any advice would be appreciated.
 

rcc55125

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Apr 28, 2017
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By New Years the majority of the terrain should be open. 100% of the beginner/intermediate terrain will be open. They have a pretty good snow making system and really try to get everything open by the Christmas school break but that's mostly weather dependent. The advanced terrain around lifts 1, 2 and 3 will be open because that's the race hills for high school and USSA.
They do follow the Vail dictates and right now that means no mask on the hill but masks will be required in the lodge and maybe reservations to sit down to eat.
 

Slim

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Oct 2, 2017
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Duluth, MN
Yeah, if you have free passes, why not? Also, it would be nice for your wife to do lessons, since those first few lessons aren’t going to be zoooing down 3000’ runs anyway, so doing them on the short hills is no worse.
 
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RockfishHunter

In the parking lot (formerly "At the base lodge")
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Joined
Jan 3, 2019
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Yeah, if you have free passes, why not? Also, it would be nice for your wife to do lessons, since those first few lessons aren’t going to be zoooing down 3000’ runs anyway, so doing them on the short hills is no worse.
Agreed, those were my thoughts. Not traveling for skiing a lot during the pandemic also kinda rekindled a love for smaller local hills - I almost bought the Indy Pass this year as well but don't think I will have the time to justify both. Maybe next year.
 

Eagle93

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Dec 18, 2015
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I skied Afton just prior to NYE a couple of years (2018 maybe?) back with the kids. It was 100% open, but solely from snowmaking. Coverage on the groomed surface was good, sides of runs ended pretty abruptly though. There are a few fringe areas on the southeast side that are kind of "off-piste" if they're described enthusiastically that had some tracks, but were very sparse to the point that we avoided them.

Quality will depend a lot on if there is any decent real snowfall by then. If mother nature doesn't cooperate anything not covered by snowmaking will be bare ground.

I will say that I was expecting it to be a lot more crowded being over the holiday break, but wasn't bad. Don't think we waited more than a half dozen chairs for any lift. Probably because most of the families were out skiing VR out west at that time. :)
 
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