Free and Discounted Ski and Snowboard Offers for Elementary School Children Give New Meaning to the Phrase “Back to School”; Programs Include Lift Tickets, Rentals and Lessons


CONTACT: Mary Jo Tarallo | | 202-431-6950


FALL 2016 - Getting youngsters involved in skiing and snowboarding at an early age is easier and more accessible than ever. Programs in a number of states – generally called “Passport Programs” - provide parents with affordable options for students in grades 4 – 7, depending on the program. In addition, the so called “New England Resort Passport” provides hundreds of dollars in savings at 35 resorts.

“Skiing and snowboarding are more affordable than many people think,” said Mary Jo Tarallo, director of the national Learn to Ski and Snowboard/Bring a Friend initiative. “You just have to know where to look for more cost-effective options and these programs are a good example of what is out there.”

Many of the programs described here offer discounts beyond those noted and require proof of enrollment, grade status and have additional restrictions and holiday blackout dates.

Idaho: The "5th and 6th Grade Ski Free Passport" program is honored at about 20 ski areas, with most offering three free full-day lift tickets for 5th Grade Passports and 2 full-day lift tickets for 6th Grade Passports. There is a one-time $15 processing fee due at the time of application, and at Sun Valley  Dollar Mountain honors passports but will charge an additional $20 to ski Bald Mountain (Baldy).


Maine: The "WinterKids Passport" helps 5th, 6th, and 7th grade children in Maine stay fit and healthy during the winter, by providing free and reduced outdoor recreation (skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating, and dog sledding) at 50 locations across the state. WinterKids is the nonprofit organization that helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through fun, outdoor winter activity. Check out the WinterKids site  for additional programs for families and schools to get outside, get active and have fun! To learn more about these programs visit the web site.

Michigan : The "Cold is Cool Ski & Ride Passport" for 4th and 5th graders provides up to three free lift tickets at about 30 participating ski areas - when accompanied by a paying adult. Many Michigan ski shops and areas offer coupons for equipment purchase and rental and free or discounted lessons. Most ski areas have a few blackout dates.  See

Vermont : Ski Vermont believes that winter in Vermont is a way of life, an opportunity to get outdoors, to be healthy and active, and to share amazing experiences with friends and family. That philosophy has led Ski Vermont to develop the "Fifth Grade Passport," a program that lets fifth graders ski and ride for free-up to 88 days a year-and fall in love with the experience of sliding on snow. The 2016-17 ski season begins the 17th year of enriching families’ winters with the 5th Grade Passport Program. It also marks the seventh year in which the program benefits the agricultural and environmental community in Vermont. Each passport comes with a $10 processing fee and passport holders need to be accompanied by a ticket or pass holding adult. Each adult may bring up to two passport holders. Passports are valid December 1, 2016 - May 1, 2017, with holiday blackout dates varying by resort. To learn more about Ski Vermont's Fifth Grade Passport visit

New York: The "Free For Kids Passport" program provides 3rd and 4th Grade students three free lift tickets with an adult purchase at over 20 participating ski resorts -up to two children per adult. There is a one-time $26 processing fee at registration, and the adult can be parents, older siblings, or friends -as long as the adult purchases a lift ticket. Several  areas, including Holiday Valley Resort, Gore Mountain and Royal Mountain have no blackout dates. For an additional $26 processing fee, "The Learn To Ski/Snowboard Package Passport" provides at all these participating ski resorts one free beginner lesson, rental and beginner lift ticket package for skiing or snowboarding without an adult purchase. Parents can purchase one or both types of cards when they apply -and see a full list of participating ski areas and associated details.  Students can apply for the programs starting October 1st 2016 at

New Hampshire : The "4th & 5th Grade Snowsports Passport" program offers one free lift ticket or trail pass to participants at sixteen downhill and nearly 20 cross country ski areas. The passport costs $35 and each ski area also provides one additional offer, some of which include savings on beginner lessons or equipment rentals for fourth or fifth graders, as well as deals on lift tickets and trail passes for parents and siblings, and more. See for more information.

Pennsylvania : The "4th and 5th Grade Snowpass" allows students to ski and snowboard for free with a paying adult at 19 participating PA resorts. In addition, it offers a First Time ski/snowboard package which includes a beginner lift ticket, lesson and rental equipment to each participant. And 50% off an adult First Time package in case the participating adult has never skied or snowboarded before.  See

Utah : The "Ski Utah 5th & 6th Grade Passport Program" provides 5th Graders with three free lift tickets at each of Utah's 14 resorts and 6th Graders with one free lift ticket at each resort. There is a $35 processing fee for both Passports. Applications for the 2016/17 season will be available beginning September 1, 2016. The Epic SchoolKids Utah Pack is a free program for Utah Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides five days of skiing and riding at Park City. It includes one free first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental for participants that have never been on skis or a snowboard before. Epic Schoolkids Utah Pack is available for registration only until October 9th.

See and respectively.

Northwest: The "Ski The Northwest Rockies  5th Grade Passport" provides three days free at each participating ski area, including Mt. Spokane and 49 Degrees North near Spokane, Lookout Pass on I-90 at the Idaho/Montana border, and Silver Mountain in Kellogg, ID. The passport also includes special deals on equipment rentals, lessons and other activities. Some ski areas even offer specials for parents or siblings. The application will be available October 2016. See

Colorado: Ski Country USA offers two Passport programs, the "5TH GRADE PASSPORT" and the "6TH GRADE PASSPORT ," and Vail Resorts offers the "Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack." The 5th grade Passport Program provides participants with three free days of skiing or snowboarding at 20 resorts. The application deadline is January 31, 2017. The 6th grade Passport Program provides participants with four days of skiing or snowboarding at 20 resorts for $105 if registered before Wednesday, November 30th, 2016, and $125 until January 31, 2017. The Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack is a free program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides four days of skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. It also includes one free first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental. For registration and other details, see and respectively.       

New England: For those who leased equipment for the 2016-17 season or purchased new skis, snowboards, boots, etc., the "New England Resort Passport" coupon book provides hundreds of dollars in savings at 35 resorts. Over 30,000 booklets are available at nearly 40 ski shops in participating states: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island.


Here is another source of information:

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