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A&E explores: Top three adrenaline-fueled Twin Cities spots to get your stoke on

Jake Johnson, 15, grabs the tip of his skis after taking off from a large jump at Buck Hill on Saturday, Jan 26.
Image by Tony Saunders
Jake Johnson, 15, grabs the tip of his skis after taking off from a large jump at Buck Hill on Saturday, Jan 26.

The X Games just finished up over in Aspen. If you’re like A&E, something is now missing in life — while walking to class you wish you were skiing, getting some sweet air and having pine trees zip by.

But, there is hope. Brave the Minnesota tundra and check out these three places that will satisfy the need for speed and get you yelling, “yeewww!”

Buck Hill

15400 Buck Hill Rd., Burnsville, Minnesota

No pow? No problem. The Twin Cities is rolling with plenty of slopes to carve or get some sick air on. We’re not Vail, but hey. There’s still plenty of stoke to go around.

Buck Hill in particular is a place to go if you want some serious adrenaline running through your veins. These slopes raised Olympian and world champion Lindsey Vonn, so clearly it’s doing something right. 

In particular, hit Buck if you want to shred in the park. With sick rails and some awesome boxes, it can cater to the newest bunny rider or a full-on park rat. 

“We’re in an urban environment here, so we always make sure there is something here for everyone,” said Buck Hill Program Director Erik Moe. “We try hard so that the community can come and just shred,” he said.

What makes the Burnsville “mountain” stand out, though? Driving past it on the highway will tell you. Buck boasts a fully-fledged halfpipe and X-Games style jumps. Straight gnar. 

“The rush you get from this stuff is so incredible,” said snowboarder Luke Allen. “You can launch out and get big air, all around it’s just really fun.”

Mute grabs, zudnicks and even spread eagles — it’s your choice, just hit ‘em hard.

Ice Climbing in Robinson Park

Old Wagon Rd., Sandstone, Minnesota

Want more of an all-body workout? Grab your ice axes, helmet and crampons, and head to Sandstone, Minnesota for some real-deal ice climbing.

One of only three ice climbing farms in the country, Sandstone has major climbing clout in both winter and summer. In the summer, the cliffs hold both top rope and lead options. 

It’s in the winter, though, where ‘scending gets a lot more unique. 

With a handful of routes to take, these cliffs are a perfect way to try the sport of ice climbing or get back into the groove. 

“Ice climbing has a super awesome, super niche community here in Minnesota,” said Minnesota Climbing Association board member Peter Lenz. “You just have to remember to be safe while doing this sport. Get a mentor and get out there!”

Sound like fun? Check out the University of Minnesota’s Recreation and Wellness Center website for guided trips and weekend clinics on how to break into the sport — ‘scend it!

3rd Lair Skate Park 

850 Florida Ave. S., Golden Valley, Minnesota

On days where the polar vortex decides to act up, staying inside is probably the best move — no matter how much you want to go outside for that stoke.

It’s on these days where you should dust off your deck and hit 3rd Lair skate park in Golden Valley. 

3rd Lair has fostered the Minneapolis skate community since its conception in February 1997. As the host of many competitions and even curating its own skate team, the park is up to the West Coast standards for sure.

Big drop-ins, countless ramps and a giant pool are few of the sick options to try some routes on. The park is so massive, there are different levels only accessible by riding up different ramps. Seriously, this place is sick.

“3rd is dope because of all the different features and people that go there,” said biology, society and environment senior Dinesh Dakshinamoorthy. “Plus, the vibes are just so right.”

True. The park is littered with beautiful graffiti murals and stellar street art — all from local Twin Cities artists. 

If you’re feeling creative with your friends, bring an old VHS camera with a fish eye and film your combos — just never forget to keep the stoke on 10.

Minnesota isn’t Colorado, California or British Columbia — but we don’t need it to be.

Get out there and explore, there’s plenty to see.

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