Updated: Sep 2, 2022
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 Welch Village.
Welch Village is a ski resort located in Welch, Minnesota, about 45 minutes southeast of the Twin Cities.
Welch Village's history dates back to the 1960s. Leigh Nelson was a chemical engineer that grew up in the town of Welch, and he loved the sport of skiing. His work brought him around the country, but his brother Clemons called him with an idea one day. He proposed buying land near their hometown and opening a ski resort.
Shortly after that conversion, Leigh moved back to Minnesota and began working for 3M in, and the brothers bought about 300 acres of land near the Cannon River in the early 60s. The brothers would carefully study the local ski industry over the next few years and, in 1965, decided it was time to open their resort.
Due to poor weather, the resort officially opened for the season in January of 1966, with just a T-bar, rope tow, and five runs. Unfortunately, their first year didn't pan out to their best as the season only lasted five weeks. Still, the brothers were determined and would make massive improvements to the resort over several decades, cutting more runs, adding chairlifts, more snowmaking infrastructure, and various other amenities.
Today, Welch Village boasts 50 runs, all serviced by 11 lifts, including six quads - which is tied for most of any resort in the Midwest. Welch's layout is really unique and makes you feel like you are skiing at a resort not located in the Midwest. All their runs are lined with trees giving each run its character and unique feel.
Skiers and riders will find more mellow runs toward the edges of the front face, but right in the middle, you will see Chicken which has one of the steepest pitches in the state. Between those, you will find a variety of great runs with varying pitches that rounds out their terrain nicely.
If you're an expert skier or rider, you'll want to check out Welch's Backbowl - which has some tighter and steeper runs going down the backside of the hill. It's also a perfect place to check some afternoon spring sun laps, as the entire area faces southwest.
Welch has a sprawling chalet for the families, but if you're looking to enjoy some adult beverages, Mad Jax is a must-hit. This Chalet is located on the east side of the slopes and is the local favorite. Nothing beats some spring sun, beers, and Dud's mogul laps over on that Eastside!
Lastly, Welch's location on the Cannon River offers fantastic views of the surrounding bluffs and rolling hills. Standing at the top of the mountain, you'll likely forget you are only 45 mins from the cities.
If you want to learn more about Welch Village, check out their website www.welchvillage.com. But until next time, I hope all of you have a great week, pray for snow, & we'll see you out there!