SkiPA’s SnowPass for 4th and 5th Graders and Ski New Hampshire’s 4th and 5th Grade Passport Program have been “suspended” for the 2020-21 winter season. Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association board members made the decision citing “our current inability to guarantee complete fulfillment of the offerings traditionally promised” due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
SkiPA’s SnowPass was one of the largest in the country last year with sales topping 15,000. It was available to youths throughout Pennsylvania and surrounding states. The SkiPA and SkiNH programs operate much like similar programs in other states that make them available. For a nominal fee, “passports” enable elementary level youths to ski or snowboard at all participating resorts up to three times at each resort. Grade levels vary from state to state.
The Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association board members noted that they are working with the National Ski Areas Association and state and local officials to ensure that resorts meet health and safety issues pertaining to Covid-19 “to make adjustments to our operations as needed in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our guests and employees throughout the entire winter season”.
Ski New Hampshire issued a similar notice and also is offering to refund Passport purchases made on or after 2/24/20.
Other state resort associations such as ISKiNY (Free 4 Kids), and Vermont Ski Areas Association (5th Grade Passport) are still trying to determine the status of their own “passport programs”and have indicated as such on their web sites.
Michigan SnowSports Industry Association (Cold is Cool) has posted details with the caveat that the situation might change due to the Covid situation. Colorado Ski Country (5th and 6th grade passports) and Ski Utah (5th and 6th grade passports) are moving ahead with their programs and both have details posted on their web sites. Maine’s stand alone Winterkids, one of the oldest such programs in the country, focuses more heavily on incorporating skiing and snowboarding into school physical activity/education programs. The “passport” portion of the program was suspended as well.
SkiPA executive director Linda Irvin indicated that some individual resorts in Pennsylvania will organize their own youth program. Vail Resorts now owns five ski areas in the state and the company invested millions of dollars last season to provide affordable ski and snowboard opportunities to “underserved youths”.
This story will be updated when more information is available.