September is here and it’s time to start planning your family’s winter ski vacation! While most ski resorts offer free skiing for kids five and under, there is still free skiing to be had if your kids are ages 6 – 12, and even as old as 17. Here are some of the best kids-ski-free programs in the US.
Cream of the Crop
These are the best kids ski free programs that I have found based on value and restrictions.
Keystone, Colo.: This is my favorite ski resort for families and they offer a spectacular, no-nonsense deal. Stay at least two nights in their lodging and kids 12 and under ski free – no blackout dates.
Sugarloaf, Maine: Same deal as Keystone, but you need to book by November 30, 2015. Book any ski and stay package for two or more nights and kids 12 and under are free. Also no blackout dates.
June Mountain, Calif.: Just north of Mammoth Mountain, June offers free skiing for kids 12 and under – all the time.
Copper, Colo.: Copper’s “One. Two. Free!” program has lots of perks. Book two nights lodging, get the third free, and kids 12 and under ski free. You’ll also get 33% off rentals, tubing, Woodward, and off lodging beyond the third night.
Loveland, Colo.: If you live locally, Loveland will give you a free season pass if you purchase three full-day lesson packages – offer applies to kids and adults!
If you have a 4th, 5th or 6th grader – rejoice! Tons of ski areas are working to get upper elementary aged kids bitten by the ski bug by offering passports for free skiing. Some passports require a small fee ($20 – $40), some are only good for students in that state, some offer free tickets all season, and others only offer a few tickets at each resort. Please check the fine print.
- Vail Resorts’ “Epic SchoolKids Pack” for K – 5th graders gives Colorado kids four days of free skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas, and Utah kids four days of free skiing at Park City.
- Colorado Ski Country Passport: 5th Graders ski free for three days at each of the 20 Colorado member resorts. 6th graders can get four days of skiing at each resort for $99.
- Steamboat Springs: Children 12 and under can ski free the same number of days as their parents/grandparents when the adult purchases a 5-or-more day adult lift ticket.
- Ski Utah’s 5th & 6th Grade Passport: 5th graders ski three times free (6th graders get one time free) at each of Utah’s 14 resorts. Good for any kid, no matter where you live.
- Ski Idaho: 5th & 6th graders ski free at 18 participating Idaho resorts.
- Big Sky, Montana – Kids 10 and under ski free when staying in lodging through Big Sky Central Reservations.
- Ski the NW Rockies – 5th grade passport offers three free days of skiing at 49 Degrees North, Lookout Pass, Mt. Spokane, and Silver Mountain.
- Winter Kids: 5th, 6th & 7th graders in Maine can get the Winter Kids Passport – downhill, cross-country, ice skating and even tubing for free at many locations in Maine.
- SkiNH: 4th & 5th graders get one free ticket at each of the participating resorts in New Hampshire.
- ISkiNY: 3rd & 4th graders ski free with a paying adult at the majority of New York’s resorts.
- SkiPA: 4th and 5th graders ski free at 15 participating resorts in Pennsylvania.
- Ski VT: 5th grade passport offers three free days at each participating resort.
- Killington, VT: Book an adult 5-day ticket and 5 nights lodging and get a 5-day ticket for kids ages 7 – 12.
- Ski Michigan “Cold is Cool” Passport: 4th & 5th graders get up to three free lift tickets at 27 ski areas (who knew Michigan even had 27 ski areas?).
- At Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor, MI, kids 17 and under ski free with a paying adult and a 2-night stay.
Several resorts additionally offer unrestricted free skiing for the 12 and under crowd in the early and late ski season – typically before mid-December and after mid-March. And March is a great time to get kids on skis for the first time – a sunny spring day always makes for a better first time ski experience!