Grab some coffee and join us for Ski Resort Sundays (SRS), where each week, we take a brief look at a ski resort from around the Midwest. SRS episodes are uploaded every Sunday morning, so check in each week to see which ski resort we cover. Today, we will be examining Mount Kato.
Mount Kato is a ski resort that is located in Mankato, Minnesota, which is about an hour and a half southwest of Minneapolis.
Mount Kato's history dates back to the 1930s. Harvey Anderson, a local canoer and ski jumper began searching for hills to develop a new ski jumping facility. This project led Anderson to purchase the future resort's land in 1937, a period when downhill skiing was just getting started. The area would be known as Andersen's Hill and offered five ski jumps, but hiking was still the only way to get to the top!
In 1945 Andersen's Hills would install their first rope tow using a Buick engine and a hemp rope. They would also change the name to Ski-Haven around this same time.
In 1977, Paul Augustine and Afton Alps acquired the hill and renamed the ski hill, Mount Kato. They would continue growing and developing Mount Kato, installing the area's first chairlifts, creating new runs, and adding more amenities throughout the hill.
Today Mount Kato offers 19 trails across 55 skiable acres serviced by ten lifts. When skiers arrive, you will be faced with a couple of Kato's steepest runs, Big Brave and Brave Chute. Expert skiers and riders will love the pitch of these runs, and since they have a lift directly on it - it makes for some quick and fun laps.
As you look to the edges of the front face, runs begin to mellow out with intermediate runs on the right and a beginners area on the looker's left, but that's not all Kato's has to offer - as they have an entire backside as well.
The backside of Kato offers up a lot more intermediate terrain that is mellower pitch but longer, which makes it a perfect step up from the beginner's area. On the backside, you will also find a couple of runs with steeper sections serviced by lift seven - really rounding out the terrain on that side nicely.
Additionally, since you can ski on both the front and backside of the hills - it makes a great place to catch the full sun throughout the entire day, and if you're there around sunset, you have to take some sunset laps on the backside - trust me you won't be disappointed.
Lastly, The Lift Bar and Grill, located on the second level of their main chalet, offers some great food and drinks coupled with plenty of skiing nostalgia. In addition, it features a deck facing the hill - making it the perfect place for a springtime beer.
If you want to learn more about Mount Kato, head on over to their website at Mountkato.com . But until next time, I hope all of you have a great week, pray for snow, & we'll see you out there!