Apply to become the official learn to ski family at Pine Knob. (Pine Knob)

January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard month all across the nation. Throughout the Midwest many ski areas are offering discounted lesson programs, but Michigan, in my opinion, offers the best programs for the cost and simplicity.

Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and McDonald’s Restaurants have teamed up to offer an affordable lesson program for both adults and children. It covers downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing. Pine Knob Ski Area, near Detroit, is offering to teach a family how to ski this winter, everything included, for free.

Timber Ridge instructors providing a group lesson. (Timber Ridge/Facebook)

The Discover Michigan Ski program includes a beginner lesson, ski or snowboard rental, and a beginner area lift pass or cross country trail pass at 28 of the state’s top ski areas. The program is available throughout the month of January. The cost for the program, which is open to everyone from seven on up, is $20 for a cross country skiing lesson and $35 for a downhill skiing or snowboarding lesson, and you don’t have to live in the Wolverine State to participate.

Swiss Valley kids in a ski lesson. (Swiss Valley/Facebook)

A printable Discover Michigan Ski voucher is available online and at selected ski shops while quantities last. The voucher lists participating ski areas. You must pre-register with the area. Everyone who completes the program will receive a packet of ski information in the mail next fall, including a coupon valid for $20 off the purchase of $100 or more in ski-related merchandise at the participating MSIA retail ski shops.

An instructor at Boyne Highlands provides instruction. (Boyne Highlands)

A new, innovative learn to ski program.

Pine Knob is looking for a family of four first time skiers to participate in weekly lesson programs throughout the 2018 season. Lift tickets, rental equipment, including helmets and an hour lesson, will be provided each time. After the lesson the family will be encouraged to stay and practice.

Pine Knob will document the “learn to ski family” by taking photos and videos along the way posting them to social media.

“We want to show off our wonderful progressive beginner area at Pine Knob,” said Jeff King, ski school manager. “Our professional instructors will take the family from first time on skis, through the basics and advance them as they are ready.”

Families interested in participating should send an email to with “learn to ski family” in the subject line. It should include a note on why they want to learn to ski, a family photo, ages of participants, social media sites they use and contact information. Pine Knob will review all applicants the week of January 15 and lessons will start shortly after.