Looking for a fun Holiday location this December?  Consider Giants Ridge in Biwabik.  Giants Ridge is the #1 Resort  in Minnesota & lift tickets are some of the most affordable you will find.  There are things to do on the weekends and mid-week.  Affordable family fun!  Located just an hour North of Duluth, it is easy to reach during a quick drive.

The mild weather has delayed the Season Opener, but as temperatures have cooled, Giants Ridge is in full production in snow making.  “The Ridge” recently purchased 23 additional snow guns to make more snow, faster!  “That is making a big difference in the amount of snow we are able to make currently,” Benji Neff, Director of Mountain Sports at Giants Ridge states. He continues, “These additional guns will allow us to get more terrain open more quickly, which will be very exciting for our guests.” Decent temps means daytime highs below 28 degrees and overnight lows in the teens.  The colder it is, the more snow they can make.

Watch the snowmaking on a live webcam.

According to Neff, he is close to announcing the Opening Day. “Right now we are tentative for Saturday the second.  We will wait a few more days to see how snowmaking goes before we announce it officially.”   Watch their GIANTS RIDGE FACEBOOK PAGE for new updates.

However, Nordic skiing will be a while until they get natural snow in the woods, however in low snow years like this once they open they will have designated hours that people will be able to Nordic in the base area. 

“Tubing will be open this year, which is also dependent upon snowmaking as well, so we will have to stay tuned as that progresses,” Neff says.

Season passes are still available at our “in season” rates.  Lift tickets begin for Full Day skiing at $25.  What is great is that kids 6 and under get to ski for free.  Affordable family fun. Lift tickets and season passes are available at: giantsridge.com

The Mountain Sports School has lessons and programs for Winter Sports.  If you want to try something new, these are the people who can help.  Some of the offerings are:  Little Giants, which are ski lessons for kids 3 and 4 years old at $85 for a lesson to weekday lessons beginning at $56.  Please check the website for times and fees. It really depends on when you ski and your age, for what your lesson will cost. CLICK TO GO TO MOUNTAIN SPORTS SCHOOL AT GIANTS RIDGE

In addition to the big Mountain draws, of skiing, snowboarding and tubing, there is also snowshoeing, fat-tire biking, and adaptive skiing.  


Some of the things happening for planning a stay in the Giants Ridge area.. 

AT GIANTS RIDGE:  “Skiing with Santa”.  This is an annual tradition at Giants Ridge where You can ski with Santa and others are encouraged to dress festively as well.  Again, refer to the Giants Ridge website or Facebook page for more details on this as it becomes available.

MOCKTAIL DINNER EVENT DECEMBER 6: Join us as we introduce our new zero proof mocktail menu featured in the Burnt Onion Kitchen and Brews restaurant this winter. This handcrafted six course meal features specially designed mocktails perfectly paired with culinary delights from our talented team

In addition to the Mocktails included in the six course menu, a full bar will be available for drink purchases.

Call 218-865-8061 to make your reservation.

In Biwabik:  December 2. Weihnachtsfest.  Weihnachtsfest is a German word which means Christmas Night Fest. It is in its 40th year.  It is a Bavarian themed Christmas festival with food, crafts, music and fireworks.  For more information on Weihnachtsfest, go to: https://www.facebook.com/WeihnachtsfestMN

MUSIC (NEAR) THE PARK: Tuesday, December 12 at 6 pm. A free Christmas Concert. The Sectionals will be performing at the United Church of Christ in Biwabik.This is a BACA event thru Music in the Park.

In Aurora:  December 16 Holiday Heritage Fest. This is hosted by the Aurora Chamber and will include a Santa Run, children’s events, lunch at the Community Center, Crafts and a parade.  They will have a Cookie Crawl & Cocoa Walk with free cookies & cocoa at participating businesses, too.  For more info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2449389025284306

The Finnish tradition of lighting up the cemetery with Ice Candles for the Holidays continues in Embarrass. It is a do-not-miss sight to see.



The magical display of light is made possible by volunteers placing and lighting 400+ ice candles at the cemetery. A holiday gathering with food, kid’s crafts and fellowship takes place at the Embarrass Town Hall following the lighting. Coffee and a light lunch will be held at the Embarrass Town Hall from 4-6pm for anyone interested in dropping by to visit with neighbors or meet new friends.  There will be crafts and goodies for all the young children in attendance. Even Santa Claus sometimes stops in to say Hi!

This event takes place at the Embarrass Cemetery & Town Hall. 7503 Levander Road in Embarrass.

UGLY SWEATER PARTIES DECEMBER 16th: Do not forget to pack that Christmas Llama Ugly Sweater! There are three Ugly Sweater Parties on December 16 in the Giants Ridge area. These are open to the public, but check with these bars, you might need to be 21+ to participate.

Rudy’s: https://www.facebook.com/events/348198837695013

The Haven: https://www.facebook.com/events/1368015124125775

Gilbert: https://www.facebook.com/events/884586016565232


For those looking to come to Giants Ridge during December and the holidays, one should consider a mid-week vacation.  Dee Eisenach of the Villas at Giants Ridge says, “We know that not all families are able to get together on the traditional holiday dates. Come midweek, when you have the resort to yourselves!”  

This December, the Villas at Giants Ridge are partnering with Jingle All The Range to offer a midweek special at the Villas. The 10% discount JINGLE special is valid Sunday -Thursday until 12/21. This special is valid in select Suites and Villas, based on availability. Book online at www.villasatgiantsridge.com, use access code JINGLE for discount and availability. 

You can also check out these other lodging areas: 

The Lodge at Giants Ridge

Comfort Inn in Mt. Iron

Country Inn of Hoyt Lakes

And, area Air BNB & VRBOs.


After a long day of skiing or snowboarding, your stomach may begin to growl?  We have you covered.  A new restaurant just opened this year and it is located at the Lodge at Giants Ridge.  It is called Neighbors BBQ.  

Neighbors BBQ is a family friendly BBQ/Sports Bar. They serve fresh daily smoked BBQ as well as traditional American fare.  Go to their Facebook page to see their hours and current specials.   


Other places to consider to soothe your appetite. View these Yelp pages.


Burnt Onion


Vi’s Pizza

Poor Gary’s

Subway at Lucky Seven


The Hive Coffee & Bakehouse



Copper Nickel


DECEMBER 2 (8:00 AM-11:00 AM) – Pancake Breakfast with the Grinch 

Timber Hall Event Center, 4855 Highway 21, Embarrass

Breakfast with the Grinch! All you can eat pancakes, choice of sausage or ham, fruit, coffee & juice.

Adults: $6.00

Kids 6-10: $3.00

Kids 5 & under: Free

Shop from local vendors at the Holiday Craft Sale, also inside the Timber Hall, from 8:00 AM-12:00 PM.

The DAV will be back and is accepting gently used clothing, shoes, and outerwear from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

Help ensure every child receives a gift this season by donating an unwrapped gift or gift cards during our toy drive from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

For more information about activities across the Range during the Holidays, go to: jinglealltherange.org or ironrange.org

Joy McJingles writes blogs about Iron Range Tourism and Holidays on the Range. Blogs are posted Thursdays & Sundays.