Passport To Adventure: Kids Ski Free
You don't need to be a Michigander to take part in the Cold is Cool program. (Ski Snowboard Michigan/Facebook)
The “Passport” Program is a tried and true, and often free, method to introduce school children to snowsports in 10 different states. These Passports vary, but typically parents pay a small administrative fee for the "passport" booklet that includes many free offers at ski areas across each state.
Find a list of Passport programs at SnoCountry.com’s Deals tab.
"The Snowpass Program is designed to foster a child's love of skiing or riding, as well as the great outdoors. The goal is to give kids the skills, confidence and passion for skiing or snowboarding that will last a lifetime,” Linda Irvin, Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association Executive Director told SnoCountry.com.
She added, “12,071 fourth and fifth graders from Pennsylvania and the surrounding region skied and snowboarded for free in the state of Pennsylvania, thanks to the Snowpass. This program allows kids from any state to ski and snowboard for free with a paying adult at 20 participating Pennsylvania resorts. In addition, and most importantly, it offers a free learn to ski/snowboard package that includes a beginner lift ticket, lesson and rental equipment for each recipient.”
Snow sports give families the opportunity to exercise outside together during the winter months. A ninety pound youth can burn between two and three hundred calories per hour skiing and/or snowboarding depending on their activity level.
“My son, Collin, participated in the Snowpass program as a fourth grader. It was a fantastic program! We found that the Snowpass motivated us as a family to go out and explore new mountains in Pennsylvania and it made skiing more affordable,” said parent Courtney Semmel.
Mickey McWilliams of Michigan Ski Industries Association told us, “Our Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport has been a big hit with families. We surveyed parents to find out how they used their passports and the feedback was phenomenal. Each year we have between 4,000 and 5,000 kids who apply for a passport, with an average use of 3.16 times. Many of the parents thank us, saying that the passport has made it affordable for them to take a ski trip that they would not have otherwise been able to swing.”
Tim Roberts of Salt Lake City took advantage of the program in Utah. “The passport program is a great way to get your kids out skiing, particularly if you're not entirely sure your kid will even enjoy skiing. With the passport program my son Max was not only able to get on the slopes cheaply, we were able to experience a bunch of Utah's awesome resorts. The passport also has discounts at rental shops, where you can get season-long rentals. In our family we now ski every weekend and riding the chairlift is a great time to chat with the kids.”
Some participating ski areas have blackout dates for their Passport programs, so check the SnoCountry.com Kids Ski Free page for the states that offer these programs (Colo., Idaho, Maine, Mich., N.H., N.Y., Penn., Utah, Vt., and Wash.). The Passports for each state vary for fourth, fifth or sixth graders and on details such as fees, parent offers, and so on - but they are similar in that kids get to learn and enjoy snowsports and create memories with their friends from school.