Winter always reminds me of the Christmas song by American crooner Tony Bennett “I love the winter weather. I’ve got my love to keep me warm”. However, I’ve got my alpine skiing instead to keep me warm! Snowfall is a sign to trade in my sunglasses for ski googles and get ready with my ski gear – skis, boots, poles, gloves, and toque to hit the slopes of a ski resort to relax and enjoy that feeling of spiritual freedom .
Avoid being a couch potato – it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy winter!
Beckoning is the Frost Fire Mountain Alpine Ski Resort, a little but great ski and snowboard resort in North Dakota located near the town of Walhalla, the 2nd oldest town in the state with a population of 996. Ski resort in North Dakota! Yes, one of the flattest states in the United States has some really great skiing. North Dakota shares the international peace gardens with our province Manitoba.
Carved into the heavily wooded Pembina River gorge in northeastern part of the “Peace Garden” state, Frost Fire has a vertical rise of 350 ft. and a summit elevation of 1,350 ft. with the longest run of 2,600 ft. (972 meters). Started in 1976 Frost Fire has 10 ski trails (runs) – two for beginners, four for intermediate skiers and four for experts that are serviced by one double chairlift, one triple chairlift and a “magic carpet”. Replacing the obsolete rope tow, the magic carpet is a conveyor belt installed at the level of the snow pulling the skier uphill at a slow speed. Perfect for the kids the carpet just let the beginner to just shuffle on and shuffle off without worrying about getting drag around.
Like any ski resort Frost Fire has terrains for all abilities or skill levels with each trail marked with a sign that shows how difficult the particular run is: three different colours are used to rate the difficulty – green, blue and black, i.e., green circle, blue square and black diamond. The green circles (Appleton Meadows, Yarrow, Lion’s Tooth) popular for beginners are the easiest; blue squares (Prarie Smoke, Spiderwort, Chicory) for intermediate skiers are more difficult; and the black diamonds (Wild Columbine, Oxeye, Old Man’s Beard) for advanced skiers are rated the most difficult.
Besides skiing Frost Fire is also great for snowboarding and tube sliding. Hop on you snowboard or your tube and off you go. The tubing area is fun for all ages. No skills are needed just sit on the tube and tube down the hill. Enjoy the ride, then get a ride back to the top of the slope.
How much will it cost you to experience Frost Fire – full-day ticket from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM is US$40. for adult (13 yrs. old & over); US$30. for child (age 6 to 12); age 5 & under ski free; age 62 & over US$10. off on Thursday; US$10. military discount. Half-day which starts at 1:00 PM is US$35. for adult and US$25. for child.
Amenities such as ski school for ski and snowboard lessons, rental shop, lockers, and food services are available. You don`t have to bring your brown bag: you can order beer battered walleye or breaded chicken breast on a bun or a de luxe bacon cheeseburger served with seasoned fries from the Frost Fire Grill at the day lodge that can be washed down with coffee, tea, soda, beer, and wine.
Frost Fire is popular not only for winter activities but also for its summer musical dinner theatre on weekends of late June and almost the whole month of July. The outdoor amphitheatre overlooking the Pembina Gorge has featured such classics as Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Oklahoma, Godspell & Joseph & the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
How to get to Frost Fire – from Winnipeg take Pembina Hwy 75, then right to Hwy. 14 to Winkler, left to Hwy 14 to Winkler, left to Hwy. 32 until the US border and 7 miles (11 kms.) more west of Walhalla on country road #55 . Border opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 10:00 PM. Before leaving make sure you have your VALID PASSPORT!
( Frost Fire Ski & Snowboard Area, PO Box 711, Walhalla, ND, Tel. 701-549-3600)