Downhill skiing is a lifelong sport, and a couple of Midwest ski associations understand the importance of getting kids on skis at an early age. It's good for the kids and helps increase family time during the winter when they can ski together, enjoy the season, and stay healthy outside together.
Both the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Minnesota Ski Areas Association (MSAA) are offering passport programs that allow elementary-age kids the chance to try skiing and snowboarding for free. In Michigan, it covers both fourth and fifth graders, and Minnesota’s program covers fourth graders.
Michigan’s Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport App program offers students three free lift tickets at 28 participating ski areas scattered throughout the state and additional discounts at participating ski shops. MSIA charges $25 for the passport app to help cover the cost of developing and maintaining the app, which is nominal compared to the cost of three lift tickets. It also helps sponsor additional school field trips. MSIA also helps underprivileged kids get out on the slopes and trails through grants to schools.
You download the app onto your phone making a contactless transaction at the lift ticket window. It's available to download from the Google and Apple stores. Once your application is complete you will receive an email with download instructions. To use the free lift tickets a paying adult must accompany the students on the slopes. One adult can accompany two students. The Passport is valid through April 30, 2020. It also includes a coupon for $20 off a helmet purchase and $20 off a $100 purchase at participating Michigan ski shops. Some ski areas also included coupons for equipment rental and free or discounted lessons.
MSAA offers a statewide passport program that provides every fourth grader the opportunity to ski or snowboard for free during the winter. The cost is $34.95 to cover printing and shipping. They receive a special pass and a minimum of two free lift tickets to 17 participating ski areas and one teaching program. Some areas offer more than just the two lift tickets. You order it online and allow two weeks for mailing.