Skiing and snowboarding is an activity that can be shared and enjoyed by the whole family.
But it also can be prohibitively expensive.
One great way to cut down on costs are the Grade School Passports that several states’ — and Canada’s — ski associations make available to eligible kids. These passports, generally aimed at fourth through sixth graders, allow children to ski or ride for free at participating resorts when accompanied by a lift-ticket-paying adult (or season pass holder).
Most of these passports have a processing fee ranging from $10 (Vermont) to $35 (Utah) and are blacked out during certain holiday periods (i.e., Christmas-New Year’s week, MLK and Presidents’ weekends). There also are no lessons or rental gear available with these passports, although some states do have separate and free Learn to Ski or Snowboard programs for youngsters that include gear, instruction and lifts.
The following are the 10 states that have Grade School Programs; Canada’s program is nationwide:
Fourth and fifth graders are eligible to ski for free for three days at each of 20 participating resorts, include Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Keystone, Steamboat, Telluride and Vail.
The WinterKids Passport is aimed at fifth, sixth and seventh graders in Maine and New Hampshire and is good for two to three days of free or discounted skiing at 50 resorts, including Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Saddleback in Maine and Bretton Woods, Loon and Waterville Valley in New Hampshire.
The SnowSports Passport is handed out to fourth and fifth graders from anywhere, not just the Granite State, and is good for one lift ticket or trail pass to any of the state’s 34 resorts, including Cannon, Cranmore, Pats Peak, Waterville Valley and Loon.
Apply for the Snowpass as a fourth grader and it’s good for two seasons (5th graders who apply get just one season) at more than 150 Canadian resorts, including Whistler Blackcombe and Kimberley in British Columbia, Lake Louise and Sunshine Village in Alberta and Mont Tremblant and Mont Sutton in Quebec.