Is there anyone who does not like the word “free” especially when it comes to skiing or snowboarding? Snow sports industry research indicates that “cost” is the number one barrier for newcomers entering the sports and especially those with children. It’s even a barrier for “lapsed skiers or snowboarders” (this who once participated but dropped out). It can also deter retired seniors who may live on a fixed income. Luckily, there are solutions.
A previous post covered state resort associations’ “Passport” programs that are directed toward 4th, 5th and 6th grade youths. But there also are plenty of programs for younger children and for seniors who want to continue participating but need to be frugal. Many resorts offer free or almost free programs for both ends of the spectrum.
Traveling Mom is a good resource for those with children who are looking to cut costs. The blog posts a list of resorts throughout the U.S. that cater to the “family crowd” with free offers for youths. For example, Sugar Bowl (CA), Mt Bachelor (OR), Grand Targhee (WY), Beaver and Brighton (UT) Loon, Gunstock and Waterville (NH), Elk and Hidden Valley (PA) and Massanutten (VA) all offer free skiing to children five and under. Monarch (CO), Schweitzer (ID), Steamboat (CO) and Big Sky (MT) offer free skiing for youths 6 and under.
Cataloochee (NC) allows youths 17 and under to stay free at one of the resort’ partner lodges. Mt Bachelor (OR) allows youths 12 and under to ski free each day their parents ski.
Traveling Mom provides additional details and also links to the resorts it cites.
Senior Skiing targets adults 50 and over. Free programs target seniors 65 and older although at Mt Zion in Michigan the minimum age for free skiing is 62 years old. The web site lists more than 100 locations with free senior programs in the U.S. and more than 30 in Canada. Some programs include season pass deals as well.
Those who subscribe to Senior Skiing get weekly articles called Short Swings”, a series of articles that offer current information on a variety of topics geared to the demographic.
Additional ski and snowboard money-saving tips will be covered in the coming weeks.