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Dec 312012
 December 31, 2012  Posted by  Expired
Kids Ski School Ages 3-6

Ski and snowboard areas all over the U.S. are again offering discounted and occasionally even free introductions to skiing and snowboarding in January. Professional instructors coach children and adults through those first turns during the fifth annual Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month (LSSM). Last winter nearly 100,000 beginners took advantage of the initiative.

Each ski area designs its own specific LSSM offer, so you should contact them individually for details. Typically well-priced packages include a lift ticket, a beginner lesson and equipment rentals, and sometimes extras. LSSM’s website is a national resource that serves as a good starting point for information. Newcomers who don’t want to try to learn on their own can bring a buddy and also enter to win prizes through the Bring a Friend Challenge. Here’s a look across America at some of the offers:

New England is the birthplace of American skiing as we know it today, and resorts in this region are enthusiastic providers of affordable LSSM packages. Ski New Hampshire member areas each offer a free beginner lift, lesson and rental package during the week of January 12. Ski Vermont resorts have a similar lift/lesson/rental deal for $29  per day all month. Ski Maine‘s third annual Get a Lift contest includes prizes for families that learn how to ski or snowboard.

Elsewhere in the East, Ski Areas of New York members are offering 10,000 $10 lift tickets for use on January 10 and also well-priced January learning deals. New York, in fact, boasts more ski/snowboard areas than any other state. In Pennsylvania, SkiPA‘s statewide discount voucher program includes special January learning programs. There’s skiing in the South too, and this winter has provided good conditions. The Southeastern Ski Areas Association website and the Ski West Virginia website provide information for member resorts. For example, North Carolina’s Beech Mountain is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a $45 learning package.

The upper Midwest is flocked with (relatively) small ski areas that rock after school and evenings, as well as on weekends. Michigan in particular boasts scores of ski areas, many of which are convenient to major metropolitan areas. Discover Michigan, a Michigan Ski Industries Association learning program, is in place at 23 member resorts, and the Midwest Ski Areas Association lists its members’ offers in ten states as well.

Experienced snowriders acknowledge, and newbies quickly learn, the West is best. All Ski Utah members are providing learn-to packages at discounted rates. Select resorts with programs in Colorado  include Arapahoe Basin, Durango, Loveland, Powderhorn and Winter Park — plus the four Vail properties of Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and VailSki New Mexico and KOAT offer a $30 Kids Learn to Ski & Snowboard program for ages 6 to 12 at eight ski areas.

Four resorts in Ski the Northwest Rockies have special January learning programs. So do the nine members of Ski Oregon and 13 venues that belong to Ski Washington. The Idaho Ski Areas Association has details on its 18 members’ special learning programs. The Pacific Northwest Ski Areas Association includes venues in Washington and Oregon. The California Ski Industry Association and the Montana Ski Areas Association have information on programs in those states. Wyoming’s Grand Targhee is that state’s sole representative and Eaglecrest represents Alaska.

Photo: Dan Davis, Vail Resorts.

Claire Walter

Claire Walter is an award-winning freelance writer, author and blogger specializing in travel, food and winter sports. Her books include Nordic Walking: The Complete Guide to Health Fitness & Fun, The Snowshoe Experience and Skiing on a Budget; she was also a contributor to Rodale Books’ How to Cut Your Spending in Half Without Settling for Less. Originally from Connecticut, she lived for more than 20 years in pricey New York, where she learned to live well for less. She co-owns Mile High on the Cheap. Claire and her husband live in Boulder, Colorado, and she is the mother of grown son who, as a single mom for years, raised him “on the cheap.”

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