Think of it like an early spring break in Daytona, but on snow instead of sand.


Lutsen Mountains, the Heartland's largest ski resort, will be celebrating the Snow Ball Festival, Jan. 5-7, and College Week, Jan. 8-15, which is a week of music, movies, parties and activities geared towards college-age students. Get ready to ski, ride and party.  You choose the order. 


Lutsen's famed Snow Ball features live music every night. It's three nights of music with eight live bands culminating with Wookiefoot on Saturday night. This is jammin' Minnesota style. It's a Northwood's cruise. Other live bands include Dead Man Winter, Sans Souci Quartet, Smokin’ Joe Scarpallino, Jon Wayne & The Pain, Roster McCabe, and Useful Jenkins. 


Cost for the concerts is $32 for a three-day pass and $24 for two days. The passes have to be purchased in advance.  A single-day door pass, subject to availability, is $16 purchased at the door.


Stay midweek for three or more nights, Jan. 8-12, and your lift and lodging packages are half-price. A new lift and lodging package for this season is Free Long Weekends. Spend three or four nights over a weekend, and one of the nights is free.  Both packages are available in limited quantity. Book early if you know when you want to go.


The concerts, featuring local and national acts, take place in the resort's renowned Papa Charlie's Nightclub, which Minneapolis newspapers have described as "the hottest nightclub venue north of the Twin Cities." It's big enough to host a good sized crowd, and when the music gets hot, the place rocks. I’ve seen some great acts here over the years including the Jayhawks and Cracker.


When it's fully open, Lutsen Mountains has close to 100 runs that plunge off four mountain peaks. Arguably, it offers some of the best skiing and riding found around the Great Lakes Region. Overlooking Lake Superior's north shore, the scenery is spectacular.