Pros: big mountain feel, lots of runs, most vertical in the midwest
Cons: often windy and cold which causes runs to become boilerplates, lacks steep challenging runs
It may not be the rockies, but it's the best you can find in Minnesota. No other resort within reasonable driving distance even comes close. It's about 3.5-4 hours drive from the Twin Cities. The only thing that might be better is upper peninsula, but then you're talking 7-8 hours from the cities.
Lutsen brings a big resort feel to the midwest with 4 mountains. Moose mountain serves up to 900 ft of vertical. Not very impressive compared with the Rockies, but it's still 3 times the vertical of any local hill.
Beginner skiers will find Ullr mountain a great place to start. It offers a nice slow chair lift, and all the runs coming off are very gentle. People looking for jumps and terrain park features will head to Mystery mountain. Other than some terrain park features, Mystery mountain has little to offer.
Experienced skiers will be spending most of their day on Eagle mountain, and especially Moose. Eagle may offer some steeps, but Moose has the biggest vertical, the most runs, and even has off-piste skiing. The tree runs aren't that great on most days due to lack of snow. It will be completely icy and have many areas of exposed ground. However, if you're lucky to show up right after a big snow storm, then you're in for a treat. This is really the only place to do any decent tree skiing in Minnesota.
One of the best areas is the Timberwolf lift on the far side of Moose. The groomer there has gentle varing terrain that's great for working on carving and just ripping it up. On both sides of the groomed run are two of the more interesting tree runs they have. Because it's at the far side, there's never a line at the bottom of the lift. Sometimes they will have a fire going outside at the bottom where you can sit down, take a break and warm up without having to head all the way back to the Chalet. They opened up a run on the backside of moose called the plunge this year. It's a very steep groomed run with grades reaching upwards of 90%. A short thrilling ride for those that thrive on adrenaline. There's also plans to open up more runs on the backside of Moose in the near future, so expect to see more steep runs and possibly even steep tree runs.
Overall, Lutsen is a great weekend getaway that offers something for everyone. You can feel like you went on a ski vacation without the cost and time commitment of going out west. One suggestion is to plan for trips late in February or March. Due to being very far north and close to lake Superior, it can get very cold and windy.