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101 Things To Do: Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area

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Skiers line up for the chair lift at Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area on December 23, 2018. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 6
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Welch Village sees more than 100,000 skiers and snowboarders during a typical season. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia4 / 6
Skiers prepare for a day of skiing near a sign which contains a map of all the runs at Welch Village. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia5 / 6
A ski class follows the instructor down the hill as they learn to turn and stop. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia6 / 6

Editor's note: This is the latest stop in our new series, 101 Things To Do. Each week through December 2020, we will select one place or activity around the region to highlight. The stories are compiled at

With more than 100,000 skier/snowboarder visits each year, Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area must be doing something right.

"People love the beauty and scenic landscape of the Cannon River Valley, which is on the northern edge of southeast Minnesota bluff country," said Peter Zotalis, president and general manager of Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area.

With 45 inches average snowfall, and snow-making equipment on every run, Welch Village can keep the runs in good shape. Sixty runs of various difficulties keep skiers of all abilities interested and challenged.

"We have the best terrain with the most vertical in this market," Zotalis said. "We offer a large variety of runs of longer length. We have made continued improvements over the years in modern snowmaking and chairlifts."

Welch Village, founded in 1965, offers skiing and snowboarding lessons for all ages and abilities. "We are the only ski area in the US that uses the Primary Movements Teaching System—PMTS—Direct Parallel ski lesson teaching system," Zotalis explained.

They rent skis, snowboards, boots, and helmets, and offer lease programs for ski and snowboard packages. Information about the different rental and lease packages including costs is available on the Welch Village website.

"We normally open with a few runs historically around Thanksgiving," Zotalis said. "This season, thanks to the cold weather, we made a lot of snow early and opened a week ahead of schedule."

He said the ski area is normally able to have all runs open by Christmas and stays open through the third week of March, although late season blizzards last April allowed the Welch Village to offer extra skiing and snowboarding.

Zotalis said his grandfather Leigh Nelson turned 90 years old last summer, still serves as CEO of Welch Village, and skis with his great-granddaughters.

"As my grandfather says all of the time, our goal is to create generations of winter joy for as many families as possible," Zotalis said. "We pride ourselves in marketing this place and this sport to all ages and ability levels from the kids and families to the die-hard skiers and snowboarders."

If you go...

What: Welch Village Ski and Snowboard Area

Where: 26685 County Road 7 Blvd, Welch, MN 55089


Phone: 651-258-4567


When: Vary throughout the season. Check the website for exact times for your date.

How much: $30-$60 daily depending on dates and times. Check the website for current rates, specials, and season passes.

Steve Gardiner

Steve Gardiner taught high school English and journalism for 38 years in Montana and Wyoming.  He started working at the Republican Eagle in May 2018.  He focuses on features and outdoor stories.  

(651) 301-7872