Start ‘em young, that’s what I say. (And it’s how I wish I’d started skiing, though I didn’t discover that sport until my twenties). A program offered by Colorado Ski Country USA makes it easy for fifth and sixth graders to do just that and try skiing and snowboarding. In fact, it practically drives kids to the hill.

The Fifth Grade Passport gives young ‘uns three days of free skiing at each of the 20 CSCUSA member resorts (which includes practically everyone except Vail-owned destinations). For example, at Steamboat, a participating ski area, the Passport saves families $60 a pop.

The deal gets even better if Junior is brand-new to skiing or snowboarding. The First Class Lesson program gives never-ever fifth graders a free ski or snowboard lesson—rental equipment included. It’s offered only in January, which is “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.” But it’s a great deal for all Colorado parents: Even those who don’t ski or snowboard might enjoy dropping their child off for what amounts to free babysitting while they sip a hot toddy in the lodge.

Sixth graders get perks, too. For $99, they can ski four days at each of the 20 member resorts.

Both deals seem to encourage a sort of skiing scavenger hunt: You could try tagging all 20 resorts in one season, and all it’d cost you is gas. Visit to register, or call 303-866-9707.

—Image courtesy of Casey Day