Snowboarding and skiing are great activities, but face it, they have barriers to entry. Lift tickets are expensive, and it takes a while to learn either activity.
But if you're interested in having some fun on the snow, there's one ultra-cheap way of doing it: Go sledding. Buy a sled for $10, walk up a hill, and slide down. Then repeat.
If you're a parent, sledding is a fun way to introduce young children to the goodness of sliding on the snow. It's cheap and you don't have to travel far. You may even be able to park your car near the hill and beat a hasty retreat when the little tot is starting to get cold, tired, or cranky.
It may take a while to find a good place to go sledding. MinnPost has created a tool that might help, though, with an online map. You can "pin" your favorite hill to the map, or browse it within your neighborhood to see what's there.
For more, see Twin Cities Ski & Ride.