National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month

All too many people tried skiing or snowboarding after a challenge from a spouse or friend, “We'll go to the top. You can do it.” No need for that any more. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. 


The best way to accomplish a lifelong yearning for you or your kids is to take advantage of this month-long celebration. The program offers opportunities for sliders with some snow experience under their boots to improve. More than 300 resorts across North America are official participants in the program, but you can probably find a place near or far which has learn-to-slide deals.


The way to get started is to visit the Ski and Snowboard Month website where you will find a wealth of information.


Mary Jo Tarallo, executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and a “sister program” called the Bring A Friend Challenge (see below), recommends you get started on the website by using the Special Features tab. Then go to the resort locator map, insert your zip code, and see what's available in your neck of the woods.


For adults, whether parents, or doting friends, or youth group leaders, Tarallo pointed to the Just for Kids tab, which also has an interactive Snow Monsters game to introduce youngsters to winter sports.


Speaking of introducing newbies, Tarallo noted that interest in snow sports isn't the same thing as knowledge of how to navigate a ski resort, so there is information on the website about what happens after you park your car. “A lot of people don't know what to do when they get to a ski area.


“The thrust of the program is to get new people involved,” Tarallo told Don't try to teach yourself and don't try to learn from a friend. If you're the experienced skier or snowboarder, point your friend to a professional instructor.”



The slogan for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and Bring A Friend is “Humans were never meant to hibernate.”  People visiting the website seem to know this beforehand. On a survey on the site, the reason for considering a winter sport is most often the desire to try something new, followed by spending more time with the family, and getting some exercise.


“You can burn a lot of calories,” Tarallo added, and the website has specific data on how many calories are expended depending on your weight and level of activity.


Some resorts are offering free learn-to-ski or snowboard packages that include equipment rental, a lesson from a professional instructor and a beginner lift ticket. Others have very good deals for what is a full day in the fresh air. (A movie ticket, by contrast, costs $10 for 90 minutes in the dark.)


Try the “Bring A Friend” challenge as well where you can win prizes for helping to enroll at least one newcomer to a beginner lesson or lesson package provided by a professional instructor. It works even if you are a newcomer yourself. Visit the Bring A Friend website for challenge details. 


There are many resources about snow sports that are available: friends (for information not instruction), ski shops, local clubs, ski and snowboarding web sites, the National Ski Patrol. The National Brotherhood of Skiers which brings together African-Americans interested in winter sports, the U.S. Deaf Ski and Snowboard Association assists the hearing impaired, and many areas offer adaptive skiing for children and adults with physical, developmental or emotional challenges.


All of the sponsors of January's festivities can help, and are only a click away: the American Association of Snowboard Instructors, National Ski Areas Association, National Ski Patrol, Professional Ski Instructors of America, Ski Industry Association,, U.S. Skiing and Snowboarding, and the U.S. Forest Service. is the official media sponsor of National Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and the Bring A Friend Challenge.