The Michigan Ski Industries Association (MSIA) is offering all state fourth graders the chance to ski and snowboard for free this winter, and White Gold Card holders can ski or ride 32 different areas across the Wolverine State for around $6.20 per lift ticket.

Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport program offers fourth grade students three free lift tickets or trail passes at 21 participating ski areas scattered throughout the state and some offer discounted season passes to participants completing the program. There is a $15 printing and shipping fee for each passport ordered, which is nominal compared to the cost of three lift tickets. It also sponsors school field trips, which includes rental equipment, lift ticket and a lesson for $30 or less per student.

Cold is Cool packets with application forms for the fourth grade Passport are mailed to all Michigan schools in the fall.  You can also go online for an application or pick up one at participating MSIA ski shops. A paying adult must accompany fourth graders on the slopes. One adult can accompany two students. 

“We feel fourth grade students should be supervised by an adult while skiing or riding. It keeps it an affordable, fun, safe activity the family can enjoy together,” explains Mickey McWilliams, MSIA executive director.

The White Gold Card is now on sale for $199.  It allows you to ski one time during the 2013/14 winter at 32 of the Wolverine State’s top ski areas, and also includes a free edge sharpening and waxing for your skis.

"The White Gold Card is an exceptional value," says Steve Kershner, Director of Snowsports at Shanty Creek.  "If you paid for a lift ticket at each of these ski areas and brought your skis in for a tune-up, you could easily spend around $1,200."

Just take the card to the ski area's lift ticket window where a corresponding square on the card is punched and you get a ticket. It’s that simple, and the only blackout time is throughout the Christmas/New Year Holiday period.

Boyne Resorts, Nubs Nob, Shanty Creek, Crystal Mountain, Caberfae Peaks, The Homestead, Indianhead, Marquette Mountain, Mt. Bohemia and Treetops are just a sampling of the many choices found on the White Gold Card, which went on sale this week. They are sold in limited quantity and normally sell out. Only 400 are printed each season. Don’t delay if interested. They routinely sell out by Christmas.

Photo: Indianhead Resort, Mich. (Indianhead)