Skiers and snowboarders gently rise over the St. Croix River Valley in one of 18 chairlifts that grant them access to Afton Alps’ 300 acres of skiing terrain. With 48 trails—80% of which are manageable for beginner and intermediate alpinists—and an average annual snowfall of 48 inches, guests can carve their way down Afton Alps’ 350-foot vertical drop in a variety of ways, from slowly snaking down a 3,000-foot run to tucking into a cannonball at the peak and landing with a white splash at the base. Three rental shops provide guests with high-quality gear, and a snowtubing park offers a more leisurely way to enjoy the tender romance between snow and gravity.
In the spring, the melting snow gives way to the fairways and greens of Afton Alps’ 18-hole golf course, where golfers hunt pars over a combination of flat and hilly terrain. Guests can take in scenic views of the St. Croix River and its attendant wildlife aboard a peppy golf cart or while cruising down trails on a mountain bike or runaway wheelbarrow.
DON’T BUY A BOAT!®- JOIN THE PRESCOTT BOAT CLUB THE TWIN CITIES ONLY BOATING COUNTRY CLUB®
Prescott Boat Club is a members-only boat club. For about 1/3rd the cost of owning a new boat, members can use an entire fleet of brand new boats as many times as they like…and it’s all included in the monthly dues.
The Minnesota Saddlebred Horse Association unites stables across the state, showcasing the diversity of the american saddlebred, as well as training future equestrians with individually tailored riding lessons. After arriving in long pants and sturdy, low-heel shoes, riders don helmets as instructors commence half-hour equine adventures to acquaint students with an agreeable saddlebred, whose manner and relaxed gait are perfect for human accompaniment and a marked advantage in "act casual" situations. The average lesson covers mounting and dismounting, walking and trotting, rein control, and how to properly engage with the horse. In addition, riders will spend time learning how horses think and react in common situations. The MSHA's participating stables open on evenings and weekends for man-to-beast interactions after school or work; customers should note that Lear Stables in Hastings is not heated.
The culinary craftspeople at Dugarel’s Bar and Grill please palates of all persuasions with a mouthwatering menu of flavorful burgers and bar fare and a cornucopian drink list. The Rustler burger excites incisors with a half-pound buttress of ground beef garnished with lettuce and tomato ($7.49), while its rebellious sibling, the Smokehouse burger ($8.99) dons a bacon and barbecue sauce ensemble, and challenges hunger to no-holds-barred games of thumb wrestling. Adobe turkey sandwiches satiate stomachs with grilled turkey, spicy Cajun mayo, pepper jack cheese, and equally peppery relish ($8.49). Gallivanting in a flock of nine ($6.99) or a clique of 18 ($11.49), chicken wings fly through a choice of 10 sauces, from laidback honey garlic to taste-bud-tantalizing inferno, and can be washed down by a selection from the bar’s list of more than 25 frothy brews.
The Midwest Tomato Fest's tomato celebration pits patrons against one another in a vegetable-fueled battle royal inspired by Spain's traditional La Tomatina festival. The festival provides a purpose for thousands of overripe, inedible tomatoes, which participants will use as ketchup-splattering grenades to make bruschetta on the bodies of their opponents. Patrons can calm their pre-battle nerves with offerings from food and beer vendors and sponsors such as Grain Belt Beer before marching into battle or cowering behind vine-covered pillboxes. To pump up participants, musicians such as the Johnny Holm Band, The Cool Kids, and headliners Shwayze and Cisco Adler enliven brandywine cavalries with energetic, tomato-inspired anthems throughout the day. All partakers of the hour-long tomato fight from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. must wear goggles and are encouraged to dress in all white, swimsuits, or garden-camo battle fatigues, and to bring a change of clothes for canoodling with rival factions during post-war peacetime.
First opened in 1995, Gopher Hills has since come to be known among golfers and confused hockey players for its classic features, currently boasting a total of 18 holes on two distinct nines that increase scorecard strokes with wind, native grass, and undulating greens. The course's Early American layout is lined with tree-lined fairways, sculpted bunkers, leaf-covered bear pits, numerous elevation changes, and bubble-wrap-lined greens, providing plenty of reward opportunities for risk-takers and enjoyable scenery for shaky-swinged optimists. Throughout the round, golfers will get to cruise the course in style with a rental cart instead of having to drag their grumpy club-toting Sherpas along. After the game, feel free to visit the chateau-style clubhouse and its fully stocked pro shop.