Bring The Kids And Save Some Bucks This Season
A burgeoning trend in the ski and snowboard industry is for resorts and states all across the country to expand ski-free programs for youngsters and teens in hopes they stick with the sport -- and also save families a bit on ski vacations.
For years, it's been common that if you stay in resort-owned lodging, you and your youngsters likely get a deal on lift tickets. In the West, some go further: Keystone gives out a full season pass for one 12-and-under offspring if the family books at least two nights in a resort lodge.
Most resorts won't charge for skiers or snowboarders five and under. Many kids-ski-free offers require adult ticket purchases, like at Bachelor and Steamboat where there's no charge for pre-teeners if the accompanying adult buys a full-priced pass for a day or multiple days.
Even more: Buy an adult season pass at Copper and you get one free season pass for a son or daughter 12 or under. At a few others, like Loveland, kids get a free season pass after taking a package of lessons.
As for ski-free offers without limitations, all eight Power Pass mountains, including Arizona Snowbowl, Purgatory, and Utah's Brian Head and Nordic Valley, let kids 12 years and younger ski and ride for free; just have to pick up a Power Kids pass at any resort. Same with June Mountain in California. Six and under get in free at Monarch, Schweitzer, and Diamond Peak, but it costs $1 at Big Sky.
And, a number of state ski organizations offer "passports" with visit limits for students in grades 4-6, with younger skiers and riders getting the best deal. Most of them charge a fee, and most have holiday blackout dates.
The Ski Idaho passport has come online with three days at 17 Idaho resorts for 5th graders, and two days for 6th graders -- all for $18. Utah's passport program gets 5th-graders on 15 hills three times for $45.
Colorado's program charges $59 for four days on 21 mountains for $49, the same price for grades 4-6. Ski the Northwest Rockies aims a 5th-graders with three free days at Washington's Lookout Mountain, 49 Degrees North, Mt. Spokane, and Loup Loup -- plus Idaho's Silver Mountain.
Before you head the hills with your children, give the resort a call to see what they can offer as far as free skiing and riding for youngsters.