There's no denying it's getting harder and harder for families to afford skiing together. Walk-up window tickets make it damn near impossible and even the best deals on passes add up when you buy one for mom, dad, and two little nuggets.
Of course, the truly dedicated find a way. When I was a kid, our skis came from gear swaps and we had PB&J for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on days we skied. My parents bought one lift ticket and took turns swapping the jacket while the other waited in the lodge. They did whatever they could to get us on the mountain.
Skiing is expensive. There's no way around it. But a number of resorts across the country offer ski deals that let kids ski free (Maybe those big, bad corporations aren't all evil, all the time).
On Monday, Vail Resorts opened registration for its Epic SchoolKids program, which provides Colorado students in kindergarten through fifth grade with four days of free skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that Colorado parents want their kids to have access to the mountains and the many benefits of snowsports,” Kristin Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts, said in a statement.
A free, full-day beginner lesson and equipment rental will also be provided at one of the four resorts in January as part of Learn to Ski and Ride Month.
Vail's program falls in line with similar offers at resorts like Mount Bachelor where kids (12 and under) ski free any day their parents buy a day adult lift ticket in advance. Back East, fourth and fifth graders can ski for free in Pennsylvania. At Steamboat, one child gets a free season pass when their parent or guardian purchases an adult season pass.
Vail Resorts also offers the Epic SchoolKids Utah Pack that offers free days of skiing or riding at Park City. Similarly, it includes one free lesson and rental during the month of January.