Otsego Ski Club, founded in 1939, long has been one of the few private ski clubs left in the country. Located near Gaylord, Michigan, it's the Heartland's only full-service private ski facility complete with 28 runs, five chairlifts, one of the region's best all-mountain terrain parks, and a superpipe with special lighting. The club is perched along a high bluff overlooking the beautiful Sturgeon River Valley. Views stretch for up to 30 miles overlooking the valley and endless forest. The River Cabin, located at the bottom of the slopes along the river, makes a fabulous lunch stop.

Otsego Club is now offering Test Drive weekends for non-members to sample the slopes and club atmosphere. The resort has 117 lodge-style rooms, suites and condos, and three restaurants, including the award-winning Duck Blind Grille and Pontresina for fine dinning. The Test Drive weekends are $265 per person, double occupancy, and include two nights' lodging and two two-day lift tickets, which include night skiing. The package is available the weekends of Feb. 27-March 1 and March 13-15. The club also has some wonderful cross-country trails that meander down into the Sturgeon River valley and are open only to members and guests; never to the public.

The public also can ski and ride on Wednesday and Thursday nights from 4-9 p.m., and you can purchase a $199 Nitro Membership that allows you to ski/ride on Wednesday and Thursday nights plus Friday from noon to 9 p.m.

Having skied there over the years - my wife's parents were members - I can attest that Otsego Club is a gem. The number and breadth of runs and slopes stack up well against other northern ski resorts, and the superpipe and terrain park features are arguably the best in northern Michigan. You won't be disappointed if you give them a try, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. Get more information on the club or to book a Test Drive weekend online.