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Midwest Ski Associations Helping Children Learn To Ski

msia-shanty2_1200x800 Taking a break during a Shanty Creek ski leasson.

It's good to see ski associations in the Great Lakes states help encourage participation in the sport among grade school children.

Both the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association offer passport programs that allow elementary-age kids to give skiing and snowboarding a try for free. Michigan covers both fourth and fifth graders while Minnesota is just fourth graders, and surprisingly Wisconsin, the Midwest state just behind Michigan for a number of ski areas, doesn't offer such a program.

Michigan’s Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport App offers students three free lift tickets at 29 participating downhill and cross-country ski areas scattered throughout the state and additional discounts at participating ski shops. There is a $25 fee to access the app, which helps cover operational expenses. It also helps sponsor additional school field trips. MSIA helps underprivileged kids get out on the slopes and trails through grants to schools.

The new app makes the transaction contactless. Instructions for the Passport are available on MSIA's website. Upload a photo of the child and proof of grade for identification at lift ticket windows. The association makes sure all documentation is in order before approving the application. Parents can get immediate access to the app by visiting a participating Michigan ski retailer and bringing proof of grade. Participating retailers are listed on the website.

According to MSIA, a paying adult must accompany the fourth and fifth graders on the slopes. One adult can accompany two students. The Passport is valid through the end of the 2021/22 season. It also includes a coupon for $20 off a helmet purchase and $20 off the purchase of $100 at participating Michigan ski shops.

Minnesota Ski Areas Association offers a statewide program that provides every fourth grader a passport that allows them to ski or snowboard for free during the 2021/22 winter season. The cost is $34.95, and they receive a special e-pass for a minimum of at least two free lift tickets at every member area. You order it online, and it covers skiing and boarding at 19 areas. Some offer three or more passes for use throughout the season, and a few offer unlimited access.

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