Lutsen Mountains, the Heartlands largest ski resort, is hosting a family festival the weekend of Feb., 6-8. Special lodging packages for a complete family vacation including lift tickets, ski rental, sleigh rides, snowshoeing, bonfire and marshmallow roast, fireworks, and more with two-night/two-day packages, starting from $448 for a family of four.

Check for availability online and book packages. A longtime favorite for guests to Minnesota's rugged North Shore has been Lutsen's $99 Weekends; four people to a room for two nights and two days of skiing. The price is per person and based on quad occupancy, but it's a heck of a deal and available all season long.

The skiing and riding doesn't get any better around the Great Lakes. Lutsen is huge by Heartland standards. You'll ski off four mountain peaks. How can you go wrong with a near 900-foot vertical drop, over 70 trails to choose from, and America's only mid-continent gondola, . One whole mountain - Mystery - is devoted to a terrain park. The views of Lake Superior from the top of any of the four mountain peaks are spectacular. Stretching as far as the eye can see, it's like an inland sea.

The 90-minute drive from Duluth along the rocky, rugged coastline reminds me of driving along the Maine seacoast. Lutsen also have one of the longest seasons in the Midwest. Scheduled closings normally occur after the second weekend in April; sometimes even later.