There are a lot of big names in the world of skiing: Vail, Aspen, Whistler, Steamboat, and Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, to name a few. Although these famous destinations are all inconveniently far away, there are plenty of smaller but nonetheless great places nearby where a Fargoan can enjoy a fine day of skiing or snowboarding on their day off. One of these, Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes, MN, is only an hour’s drive east. The ski area is home to 21 distinct trails along with two triple chairlifts and two magic carpets lifts, as well as a 1,100’ tubing hill with 10 individual runs. It’s a lovely place, and worth a visit even if you’ve never skied or snowboarded before.

Detroit Mountain has trails suited for skiers and snowboarders of every skill level. Those new to alpine sport will enjoy a green circle like the Long Haul, an aptly named and leisurely meander through the woods. Blue squares like the Money Run and the Rip Tide provide a bit more speed, albeit over somewhat shorter distances, and single and double black diamonds such as the Heavy Metal and Mad Dog offer the ultimate tests of skill.

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If you’re at your finest while you’re airborne, then Scheels Terrain Park will be a font of excitement for you. This course is home to several obstacles including rails and boxes that you can grind, as well as jumps from which you can get “big air.” Scheels has its own dedicated high speed tow ropes, so you can do what the cool kids would call “sick,” “far out,” and “nifty” tricks all day long. Scheels changes frequently, so you may always expect an interesting new layout on which to demonstrate your prowess.

It’s entirely possible that you, a Midwesterner, have not got skis or a snowboard. This is no impediment to enjoying everything that Detroit Mountain has got to offer. The area has partnered with industry giants Head and Burton to have on hand every piece of equipment one could need to shred the hill, as well as helmets of all sizes. Given that Detroit Mountain has only been in operation for five years, their equipment is all in tip-top condition, so you’re guaranteed only the very best rentals there. They’ve even got fat bikes for rent, which have wide forks to accommodate their tremendous tires. You can take these down one of the mountain’s dedicated bike trails for something like you’ve likely never experienced before.

Skiing and snowboarding are some of the most strenuous sports there are, right next to rock climbing and raising small children. Nothing will do after a day on the slopes save for good food and strong drink. Detroit Mountain knows this, as their cafeteria has hearty foods like pizza, burgers, and fries to fortify you, and their full-service saloon serves the restoratives essential to make you feel whole once more. For some extra special fun after your runs, visit Detroit Mountain on one of the alternating Fridays when they have their après-ski nights featuring rotating live musicians who represent a variety of genres.

One of the most satisfying parts about going to Detroit Mountain is knowing how much you’re helping the community when you do so. As a non-profit organization, the ski area partners with outfits including HOPE, Inc. and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to let underprivileged children and their families come out to enjoy skiing and snowboarding free of charge. They work with 29 schools throughout the greater Detroit Lakes and Fargo areas to open up the sports of skiing and snowboarding to young kids as well, a sound way of fostering young people’s love for sport and the outdoors. Whatever resources Detroit Mountain doesn’t invest in their charitable programs goes back into making their resort even greater, so visiting there always benefits the mountain-going community as a whole.

To learn more about how you can tear up the slopes close to home this winter, please visit


By David Scheller