First Timers

First Time Skiers and Snowboarders

Trying a new sport can be daunting, regardless of if you are 6 years old, 36 or 66. Here are some things to help make your first time fun and memorable. If you have any questions after reading this page, Mount Kato’s staff is here to help you. Give us a call at (507)625-3363  

You probably shouldn’t expect to conquer expert runs your first time on the slopes, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to the beginner runs either.

Avoid borrowing skis or snowboards from others since they are typically setup based on that individuals height, weight and ability. 

You should never find yourself alone on the slopes. Buddy up with at least one other person, make sure you choose ski buddies with an equal amount of experience.

The danger of going with a larger group of people is that they may push you to go on terrain you’re not comfortable with yet.

Plan Ahead

It’s always a good idea to check Mount Kato’s website to see the latest information on which runs & lifts are open;  and to get current weather & snow conditions, all of which are available at .  
We now have lift tickets available online as well. Save time and money by purchasing your tickets beforehand at .

Familiarize yourself with our facilities at When you get here make sure you pickup a Mount Kato brochure which has a trail map and additional information about our services, features & upcoming events.

What To Wear

Dressing appropriately is key to staying warm and dry. Don’t wear jeans or sweatpants, cotton absorbs water and loses its ability to insulate. 

The Best Thing To Do Is To Wear Layers

Choose a thin, wicking, thermal top and pants, made from synthetic materials like polypropylene. Wool is also a good option as it naturally regulates heat, wicks sweat and has antimicrobial properties. Wool also retains 80% of its heating properties when wet. Avoid cotton, it doesn’t have the wicking properties you’ll need on the slopes and loses it’s heating properties when wet. Wear only one pair of socks to keep your feet from sweating too much. Your socks should be thin but warm. If you’re renting boots, choose slightly thicker socks for comfort. Make sure they have padding to protect your shins when they press against your ski boots.
Fleece is a great choice. It’s available in different weights and is great for wicking and insulation. Cotton won’t wick moisture or insulate as well. Choose fabric that’s a cross between form-fitting and bulky. Wear a sweater or jacket with a half- or full-zip with standup collar. This will keep you warmer. Look for underarm zippers known as “pit vents” to allow sweat to escape properly.
A Jacket something roomy enough to comfortably accommodate your layers but not too loose or bulky. Make sure it’s a waterproof and properly insulated ski jacket – not a hoodie or a sweatshirt. Ski jackets use special fabrics, insulation and features to keep you warm. These include waterproof-breathable fabrics, heat-retaining insulation, and a powder skirt or closeable cuffs and hem. Pants, actual ski pants made for the slopes. They have an inner powder cuff that you slide over your boots to prevent snow from getting in. Your pants should fit well and allow you to move comfortably.
Make sure that they’re designed for skiing. Regular gloves won’t give you the protection you need. Ski gloves are thicker and have a rubber lining on the outside for easy grip. If you plan on skiing in a very cold climate and/or harsh terrain, buy gloves with wrist protection and a built-in inner glove.
Spend the extra money on high-quality goggles. They’ll protect you from snow blindness and help you to navigate cloudy conditions with few shadows. They’ll also protect you from flying debris that can get caught in your eyes.
is a felt tube that you slip on your neck. Pull it over your mouth on especially cold days. Always keep the bottom of the gaiter under the collar of your ski jacket.
We have rental helmets here at Mount Kato. A hat will keep your head warm, but a helmet will protect you from head injuries. Make this a rule for any condition you could be skiing in. If you decide to purchase a helmet, they come in basic low-tech varieties or high-tech forms with headphones if you want to listen to music as you ski.
No matter what the conditions are on the slopes, this is a must. You can get a sunburn even if it’s cold and overcast. Opt for SPF 15-30, depending on how fair your skin is.
Many of the above mentioned items are available right here. Call ahead to ensure we have what you want in the size you need. (507)625-3363 Ask for The Tech Shop.

Once You Arrive At Mount Kato

You can explore Mount Kato virtually right here on this interactive trail map. Just click on the map for more information about the trails and facilities.

Mount Kato

Just a mile south of Mankato, Minnesota. Nestled in the valleys created by the confluence of the Le Sueur, Blue Earth, and Minnesota rivers, making great terrain for... skiing, snowboarding, tubing, & mountain biking

19 Trails
Terrain Parks
Snow Tubing Park
3 Double Chairs
5 Quad Chairs
2 Conveyor Lifts

Mount Kato
Tubing Park Little Beaver Timberwolf Trail Wolf Chute Wolf Ridge Big Brave Brave Chute Little Brave Wild Deer Eagle Ridge Sundance Sleepy Hollow Birch Coulee Birch Pass Big Hawk Ridge Little Forest Sleepy Creek Little Crow Tommahawk Chute Big Bear Rental Shop Main Chalet Ticket Office & Guest Services Locker Room / Ski Patrol Snowsports Bell Tower Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled Area Not Patrolled. Area Not Patrolled.

Tubing Park

Our Snow Tubing Park has four lanes and is serviced by a conveyor lift.
Don't miss our Glow Tubing Nights.

Little Beaver

Little Beaver is where the majority of our Learning Center programs take place. There is a fenced off learning area that includes the conveyor lift. A great place for our guest not quite ready for riding the lifts.

Timberwolf Trail

Looking for the easiest way down from the top or returning from the lifts in the back? Timberwolf Trail is what you want.

Wolf Chute

One of our narrow chutes, Wolf Chute descends quickly from skier's right on Wolf Ridge and merges with Timberwolf Trail.

Wolf Ridge

Part of our racing program area, Wolf Ridge is open to everyone most of the time. Nastar and Midwest Race League along with all the youth racing programs do use this run and it's starting tower, so be aware of any race activities that may be taking place.

Big Brave

Popular with our more advanced guests, Big Brave is the centerpiece of our north facing slopes. A great place to watch the action is from The Lift Bar & Grill sun deck.

Brave Chute

Tucked between the trees and lift two is one of our steepest trails, Brave Chute is a great place to show off your advanced skills.

Little Brave

Located under lift one, Little Brave is another advanced run that is steep and fast. The farthest west of our steep central slopes, Little Brave is a great run when we have fresh powder.

Wild Deer

Our north facing slopes begin to mellow as we move to the west, Wild Deer is the perfect pitch to feel like you are flying down the slopes.

Eagle Ridge

A mellow run with a steep knoll in the center, Eagle Ridge is a great place to be on a sunny day.


This is where the wild tricks get launched, Sundance is the main terrain park on the north slope. The big jump near the end of the run is where the park riders tend to display their skills

Sleepy Hollow

Our easiest trail, Sleepy Hollow starts at the top and gently meanders to the "Backside" trails. Sleepy Hollow is great for beginners to develop their skills.

Birch Coulee

Birch Pass

Birch Pass connects the top of lift six to Birch Coulee.

Big Hawk Ridge

Popular with all ages and abilities, Big Hawk Ridge is a great choice for the whole family.

Little Forest

Little Forest is sometimes home to one of our terrain parks. It often is configured as a regular ski trail. Little Forest is accessible from lift six which has great views of the other ski trails on the "Backside" of Mount Kato.

Sleepy Creek

Sometimes configured as one of our terrain parks, Sleep Creek is another great intermediate trail. All the lifts on the "Backside" of Mount Kato can be accessed from Sleepy Creek.

Little Crow

Of the trails accessible from lift seven, Little Crow is the least challenging way down. Starting out moderate then mellowing to flat as it merges with Sleepy Hollow, Little Crow is the perfect trail for those that find the other trails off of lift seven a little intimidating.

Tommahawk Chute

Looking for a little adrenalin rush? Tommahawk Chute may be what you are looking for. This is a narrow chute that drops down from Big Bear and intersects with Sleepy Hollow/ Little Crow. Experts Only.

Big Bear

Big Bear is a favorite with many of our regulars. It starts out mellow then drops over a steep knoll with a mellow runout at the end. Big Bear is serviced by Lift Seven.

Rental Shop

If you need to rent equipment for skiing or snowboarding our rental shop will have what you are looking for.

Main Chalet

The Chalet is located at the base of Big Brave near Lifts Two & Three.
The Tech Shop, Snowsports Learning Center, Food Court and The Lift Bar & Grill are located in the Chalet, as are the public restrooms.

Ticket Office & Guest Services

The Ticket Office and Guest Service are located in the brown wood frame structure next to the Main Chalet.

Locker Room / Ski Patrol

Ski Patrol and our seasonal lockers are located in the first building, right in front of Lift #1.

Snowsports Bell Tower

Mount Kato Snowsports lessons meet at the bell tower next to lift #4.
The Snowsports Learning Center and Office are located in the Main Chalet

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled.

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Area Not Patrolled.

Off Trail Areas Are Not Patrolled.

Purchasing Lift Tickets & Snow Tubing Passes

Lift Tickets, Equipment Rental Forms & Snow Tubing Passes are all available at the ticket windows on east side of the Customer Services Building.

Renting Equipment

After getting your rental form at the ticket windows you can make your way to the rental shop where our friendly staff will help you get fitted with the proper equipment for your age size & ability. The Rental shop is located just east of the Chalet, two buildings down from The Customer Services office. Enter the rental at the first door on the southwest corner of the rental building (the side facing the hill). There are counters available to fill out your rental forms. There is also a scale and ruler available to help those that don’t know their height or weight. The rental staff will help fit your helmets and boots as well as adjust your skies and snowboards

Taking Lessons: Mount Kato’s Learning Center


Parents, below are some helpful tips when your family goes skiing and/or snowboarding this season. Make sure your family is familiar with “Your Responsibility Code,” the seven rules of the slopes. Click here for more information on “Your Responsibility Code.”


  • Learn and teach your child the ‘Responsibility Code” and how to apply it to the slopes. It’s the seven rules of the slopes and many accidents can be avoided by adhering to the Code.
  • Dress in layers. Layering allows you to accommodate your body’s constantly changing temperature. For example, dress your kids in polypropylene underwear (top and bottoms) which feels good next to the skin, dries quickly, absorbs sweat and keeps you warm. Your kids should also wear a turtleneck, sweater and waterproof jacket. When buying skiwear, look for fabric that is water and wind-resistant. Look for wind flaps to shield zippers, snug cuffs at wrists and ankles, collars that can be snuggled up to the chin and deep pockets. Be sure to buy your children quality clothing products.
  • Be prepared. Mother Nature has a mind of her own. Kids should wear gloves or mittens (mittens are usually better for kids who are susceptible to cold hands). Also, 80 percent of heat-loss is through the head, a helmet is warm and many models cover the ears, ensuring a warmer Snow Sport experience. Be sure they wear sun protection, even on cloudy days. The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think! A ski vacation with a sun burn is no fun! Kids should have sunglasses and goggles with them. Skiing is a lot more fun when you can see. Always wear eye protection. Be sure you child has the name and phone number of your hotel written down on a piece of paper and it’s in a secure pocket. If you carry a cell phone, include this number too.
  • Put your kids in ski school to get them on the right track.Children’s instructors know how to teach kids, it’s their business. Then you’ll enjoy skiing with your kids and they will be proud to show you their skiing abilities.When you’ve decided what area to take your ski trip, call the ski resorts in the area and research how each area’s children ski school programs are structured. Ask about the number of kids in the class? What if your child gets cold? What if your child wants to stop skiing after one hour? Does the ski school offer pagers or GPS locating devices? An observance from a long-time skier is that when his daughter skied with him, she regressed, as opposed to skiing with her peers in a lesson. “She wanted to ski in-between my legs and fell down more often. We had fun with her being silly, but a lesson allowed her to focus on her skiing and she really excelled.” Although it is very unlikely that your child would get separated from the instructor, be sure your child has a trail map and is able to remember the instructor’s name.
  • Make sure your child knows when to stop skiing. For example, if the clothing layer next to their skin stays wet and they’re chilled, if they’re injured, have a problem with equipment or even if they’re simply worn out. Educate them that it’s alright to stop before the end of the day and breaks are fun.
  • Make a meeting place if you get separated. For example, at the bottom of chairlift #2. The walkie talkies now available are convenient and a big hit on the slopes.

Starting your kids early, opens a world of adventure, fun, laughter and beautiful scenery unsurpassed, from many other sports and interests. It’s a tremendous feeling to learn that your kids’ fondest childhood memories were of your family ski vacations and now skiing has become an important element in their lives. Your kids will be forever grateful to you when they become adults!