Thursday, October 27, 2016

Before winter starts...some big news about summer!

The snowguns are ready on the hill and we are making final preparations for another winter at Welch Village.  But before we start skiing & snowboarding, we want to announce some exciting plans in the works for next summer and beyond...

We have contracted with Scott Linnenburger & Kay-Linn Enterprises out of Boulder, Colorado to develop a 5-year Mountain Bike Park master plan for Welch Village.  Our goal is to turn Welch Village into a premier mountain biking destination for all ages & ability levels.  Scott has played significant roles in the development of Trestle/Winter Park, Tamarack, Bike Granby Ranch, Powderhorn Mt and countless other MTB trail systems. Scott will be here in mid-November to design a mountain bike park and trail system for us (approx. 20-25 miles+).  We will not construct everything right away.  Right now, we are guessing that we will construct 5-6 miles in the first year and go from there.  If business warrants, we will keep building.

We have also agreed to hire MN based company Trail Source to build the trail system, skills parks, jump parks, and overall bike park facility.  Tim Wegner, founder/owner of Trail Source has played a significant role in either the design or construction of places like Cuyuna Lakes, Lebanon Hills, and Elm Creek as well as several trails in the Duluth Area.

Our mountain bike park will include chairlift-served, gravity-fed, flow trails as well as some cross-country single track. We also plan to offer skills parks, pump tracks, and jump parks.  Again, this will all be part of a 5-year plan that still needs to be developed.  Right now, the chairlift we are most likely to use will be our newest chairlift, the quad on Lookout.

Our goal is offer our mountain biking guests a "miniature version" of the services that we offer our winter guests.  We are talking with local bike shops about offering a variety of full-suspension mountain bikes and fat bikes.  And because of our close proximity to the Cannon Valley Bike Trail, our bike retail partner will most likely offer rental bikes for paved trails as well.  Right now, the plan is be open Friday-Sunday only.

In addition to bike rental, we will offer some sort of mountain bike instruction services like kids camps, women's camps, and MTB camps for all ages & abilities.  We also plan to offer some sort of food & beverage services as well as the occasional live music event here and there.  All of these plans are still the very beginning stages.  They are more ideas than plans at this point. 

I spent most of the summer getting acquainted with mountain biking myself.  It didn't take long for me to fall in love with it. My wife and I now both own full-suspension mountain bikes and each of our three daughters have mountain bikes.  Our kids enjoy mountain biking almost as much as they enjoy skiing, almost.

We took one weekend mountain bike trip as a family to Detroit Mountain in Detroit Lakes, MN.  If you like mountain biking, I suggest you visit.  They offer chairlift-served gravity trails, great single track for all ages, and awesome skills parks.  Plus, they located in the center of MN lake country and very close to Zorbaz and their super macho nachoz.

Below is a brief photo summary of me and my family's summer of mountain biking.  It will give you a glimpse of what to expect when we move forward with mountain biking here at Welch Village.   Stay tuned, we will provide updates over the winter.

The youngest Bailey, age 6, in the Detroit Mt. skills park.

Thank you Detroit Mt. GM Jeff Staley(far left) for getting us hooked this summer!

Bailey tearing around the rollers of the Detroit Mt. skills park

One of the many wooden features of Detroit Mt downhill trails.

Loading my bike on the chairlift at Detroit Mt.

Yours truly Detroit Mt. skills park

My daughter Camryn (10) Memorial Park Red Wing, MN
Alexis (8) at Lebanon Hills MTB Trail
My wife Jamie riding Memorial Park Red Wing, MN
Doing "research" with Nate Lindholm, WV Mountain Ops Manager

Banked turns at Carver Lake in Woodbury

MN Mountain Bike Series Race at Memorial Park Red Wing, MN

Our old NORBA MTB trails made brought back to life thanks to 4k Spartans

WV Ski School Manager Troy at Lebanon Hills

Fat bike Ride to top of Lookout

Fat bikes look good at Welch Village don't they?
Yours truly at Carver Lake in Woodbury, MN

Friday, March 11, 2016

87 Days On Snow

For those of you who think that this winter was too short and you were not able ski or ride as much as you would have liked....think again.  Welch Village co-founder, owner, and my grandfather, Leigh Nelson (age 87), spent his 87th day on snow at yesterday.  Thank you to our Ski School Director Troy Carpenter for taking this photo quick.  Grandpa usually takes just a few runs a day.  It's important to him that he rides every chairlift that is running that particular day.  He also likes to test the snow conditions to see for himself how the snow is skiing and what the conditions are like.  So before you say things like, "I'm too old to ski" or "This winter was too short, I didn't get a chance to use my season pass", think of Leigh and this photo.  At age 87, he is still a die-hard skier.  He regularly skis with my three daughters, his great-grand daughters.  I plan on taking a few runs with him today myself, on his 88th day on snow.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Plenty of Snow

We have a deep snow pack still.  Very deep in many locations in fact and we also have snow reserves (big piles) we can use if need be.  I took several runs today and the snow conditions excellent.  Conditions are exceptional on runs like Bakkelyka and Lookout especially. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 50 degrees and sun.  Rest assured, it takes many 50 degrees days to close us down.  We are not going anywhere anytime soon!  We will need to move a little snow around on top but we will be just fine.  In fact, my friend Tom Novak with Novak Weather is telling me that next week the weather pattern is showing signs of getting colder and more wintery. Join us tomorrow for a great spring skiing day.  Stick around to hear Tim Mahoney at 4pm in the Main Chalet.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Despite what you are hearing from our local weather people on TV, all MN ski areas have plenty of snow...especially Welch Village, and we will be open for business despite the 40 degree weather. I don't know why they feel the need to repeatedly say things like "all of our snow will be gone" and "everything is going to melt" just because the temperatures may reach 40 degrees. We get it already. Snow melts when it gets warm. Frosty the Snowman proved that to us when he got locked in that greenhouse on Christmas Eve.

We have 60 plus inches of base right now.  In some places, the base is even deeper than that.  We may lose an inch of base over the weekend. The skiing and riding is fantastic and the snow base is deep.  No offense to the weather media, but ignore them and come skiing this weekend.  Can't they just tell us what their weather computer says without the drama?

A photo taken recently...winter isn't ending here anytime soon.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Throwdown & the Future

We are officially back into the terrain park world here at Welch Village.  Yesterday we held our first park competition event in the new terrain park. Thanks to all the competitors who joined us and a big thanks to our staff for their hard work and dedication to the make this first event in our new park such a huge success.  Finally, thank you to all of the sponsors of the event for donating all of the prizes. We wanted this event to be more of an open house/house warming type of event to welcome everyone into our new park and to thank our park riders who have stuck with us over the past few years.  This event would not have been possible without all the generous prize donations.  Thank you sponsors! Save the date March 12th....The Sunset Jam.

Also, we are going to restart our Free-Style D-Team next season.  If you are park skier or snowboarder and would like to join the Welch Team, let us know!  Send an email to  We already have coaches ready...all we need now are athletes.  Ages 8-17 welcome,

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A good old-fashioned snow storm

We received about 8 inches of snow from yesterday's storm and the conditions today were (and still are) fantastic.  Our grooming crew skipped several runs last night including Chicken, Pete's Pike, Dud's Dream and several others.  Also, we didn't groom half of Bakkelyka and Lookout either.  I skied all morning before I realized that other things at my job needed attention as well.  The Back Bowl should be great on Friday morning if you are able to get here.  Very little back there will be groomed. Join this week or weekend if you can...the conditions are just great everywhere.  The forecast looks great for the next few days ahead with warmer temps and more natural snow.  The live music we started this year on Saturdays seems to be very popular.  This week, Travis & Drew are back and will be playing 4-6pm in the main chalet.  Grab something to eat and your favorite beverage from the Black Diamond.  There are more events on tap as well down at Madd Jaxx and also in the terrain park...stay tuned.  February and March in my view are the best months of the season...we'll see you on the slopes.

Friday, January 22, 2016

All of the above

Why is Welch Village special right now?  

A. The Back Bowl is 100% with plenty of great snow.  Back in early December, we were wondering if we would open the Back Bowl in 2015/16.  Nevermind.  It's awesome right now. The Back Bowl is a difference maker. 

B. Our new terrain park is a hit.  Ben, our park manager, his hard-working crew, and our snowcat operators just finished many consecutive hours of park building creating a new setup.  The new setup combined with the tow rope is offering a completely new free style experience at Welch this winter. Remember, this is just year one in our new terrain park plan!  

C. The conditions on our "bread & butter" slopes Lookout, Bakkelyka, and Dan's Dive has never been better. 

D. Despite the warmest December on record, the snow conditions everywhere on our 60 runs is fantastic right now. 

E. All of the Above. 

Answer Key:  E is the correct answer.

In all seriousness, join us and enjoy winter at Welch Village.  Our staff has worked hard to offer a great experience for you and your family.  There is something for everyone right now and plenty of great snow. 

Pictures taken the afternoon of Jan 22.