Two Midwest States Offer Grade School Passports
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. In Michigan, it covers both fourth and fifth graders. Minnesota’s program covers just fourth graders. Surprisingly Wisconsin, the Heartland state just behind Michigan for a number of ski areas doesn't offer such a program.
Michigan’s Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport program offers students three free lift tickets at 27 participating downhill and cross-country ski areas scattered throughout the state and additional discounts at participating ski shops. There is a $20 printing and shipping fee for each passport ordered, which is nominal compared to the cost of three lift tickets. It also helps sponsor additional school field trips. MSIA helps underprivileged kids get out on the slopes and trails through grants to schools.
You can get an application online or pick up one at participating ski shops. To use the free lift tickets a paying adult must accompany the students on the slope. 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.
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 winter. The cost is $34.95, and they receive a special e-pass and a minimum of two free lift tickets at every member area. You order it online.