If you look back at this thread and few others you'll see there is a definite welch vs Afton camp. Wild and troll seem to be mainly more geared for the park rats. I have never skied at either so my opinion is peoplea experience and mainly from their advertising. If buck is close to your humble abode going during the early bird special pricing hours it's great place to just get a few runs in with minimal effort and disrupting daily schedule.
Maybe more like two camps, one saying Afton sux, one saying it's ok. Nobody's really been dissing Welch, that I recall.
Welch is definitely a place to check out. I like some things about Afton, but Welch is where I got a season pass, despite it being a longer drive. Of course, that might be at least in part because it was a whole lot cheaper. And the preferred program at Afton (basically, just buying your ticket online) is a really good deal, unless you're going to be there several times a week, in which case you probably want to bite the bullet and get a pass.
my comment wasn't meant as a diss towards welch, afton, or any other of the local hills. just meant, and from personal experience, that there are people that have skied at welch, afton, and buck hill (had two instructors at welch, several at afton, and several at buck hill all w/ 20+ years of teaching) that could count on two hands how many times they had gone to ski at at the "competition" hill for pleasure. i have had that same conversations w/ many friends that are loyal to one hill over another for varied of reasons. going through this thread and others on the forum you'll find the same type of response. the reasons are varied, some legitimate, some abusrd, some that make your eyes roll.
for what is available here in mn w/o having to drive 3+ hours, personally i like them all and i try to ski them all every year to support them as local ski areas with my time and $.