Planning a ski trip to any of the resorts around the Twin Cities? You might want to check out the nation's oldest winter carnival in nearby St. Paul, if you are heading to Wild Mountain, Afton Alps, or Welch Village - all located within an hour of the Twin Cities - at the end of January.

The St. Paul Winter Carnival, celebrating 122 years, takes place Jan. 22 through Feb. 1. There isn't an event they haven't tried on snow over the last century. Blanket tossing and snow golf still rate high with these Midwestern revelers.

Over 300,000 people are expected to attend this winter's event during its 10-day run. It's not only the nation's oldest winter carnival; it's the best attended. Events times and schedules can be found online.

All three of the surrounding ski resorts have gotten off to one of the best starts for the snowsports season in the last decade. Wild actually opened in late October, and the other two weren't far behind. Conditions have been optimum so far this season for skiing and riding. Spend the day on the slopes and head into St. Paul for a little revelry in the evening.

The Winter Carnival is big, historic, and it's fun. A lot has changed since 1887 when that first carnival took place, but not the spirit of the event.