[R123R, Crystal Mountain], one of the Heartland's most popular family resorts, is in a holiday mood the weekend of December 19-21 with events scheduled for both on-and-off the slopes. It starts with a Holiday Trim-a-Tree Party on Friday night, and Santa NASTAR and Tree Lighting Parade Saturday. Sunday, the shortest day of the year, they observe the Winter Solstice.

Helping to keep snowsports affordable, Crystal's Mountain Sports Shop, located slopeside within the resort's original main lodge, is offering a new program for young skiers called Crystal Kids Gear Up Program. It ensures that kids are fitted in the right equipment. Kids grow and sometimes in spurts. To keep them properly fitted often requires new equipment every year.

This new program is a ski equipment trade-in/trade-up program making sure their equipment meets their needs and growth. You receive a voucher equal to 70-percent off the original to be used on your child's next season's gear if you return it in good condition. You receive a credit voucher equal to 40-percent off the original price after two seasons. The first set of skis, boots, bindings are purchased at retail price. The savings kicks in over subsequent seasons. it can offer some significant savings for families with multiple young skiers coming up. It also means that they will enjoy the sport that much more with the proper equipment.

Crystal has teaching programs for youngsters as young as two-and-a-half. Private lessons are available for toddlers with pros that specialize in teaching young kids.

Visit OnTheSnow.com's 2008 Holiday Guide for a library of news stories and features about special holiday events from visits by Santa (even his reindeer) to where the best parties are planned for New Year's Eve at the world's mountain resorts.