In my last post, I described a wonderful, free incentive program to get kids outdoors. I’ve spent some time looking around for similar cold-weather programs elsewhere in the AMC region and haven’t found anything quite like UVTA’s Passport to Winter Fun.
I did find several “winter passport” programs for downhill and Nordic ski areas in the five states listed below. The programs offer free lift tickets and day passes to school-age children, and in some cases discounts for their parents or siblings. The incentives here work both ways: The ski areas get more of the next generation of skiers and boarders, and families get a break on the ever-increasing cost of lift tickets.
All of these programs, with the exception of Maine’s WinterKids, are available to any child who meets the criteria, no matter where that child lives. Maine’s program is open only to children who live in Maine.
Maine WinterKids Passport. The Maine program offers three free lift tickets or day passes at each of more than 50 participating recreational areas to fifth-graders; two passes to sixth-graders; and one pass per area to seventh-graders. $25 two-week processing fee; $50 rush fee for 2- or 3-day processing. No-cost scholarships are available.
New Hampshire’s Earn Your Turns and 5th Grade Snowsports Passport. To earn a free downhill or trail pass to any of 37 participating areas in the Ski NH Earn Your Turns program, fourth-graders must research some aspect of the history of skiing in New Hampshire and turn in a report to a teacher, who then sends in a completed application on the child’s behalf.
The 5th Grade Snowsports Passport program offers fifth-graders up to 3 complimentary passes at 37 participating downhill and cross-country ski resorts, and other discounts and savings to accompanying adults. $25 processing fee, of which $5 is donated to the Make-a-Wish Foundation of New Hampshire.
New York 4th Grade Ski and Ride Passport. New York’s Passport program gives 3 free passes and discounted learn-to-ski and learn-to-ride packages to participating fourth-grade students for 30 participating ski areas. $19 application fee.
Pennsylvania 4th and 5th Grade Snowpass. Each Snowpass booklet contains 3 complimentary children’s day lift tickets for 22 participating areas, plus one coupon for a free learn-to-ski/ride package. $20 processing fee.
Vermont 5th Grade Passport. The Vermont Passport program offers fifth-graders 94 free passes to Vermont’s Nordic and downhill ski areas. The program adds a Vermont twist by donating the $10 processing fees to Keep Local Farms, a program that supports Vermont’s dairy farms.
National Passport. All of the states listed above are linked in a national passport program. Passport holders in one program are also able to use their passports at participating resorts in other states around the country.
Drawing from the cover of Pennsylvania’s Snowpass.
“Great Kids, Great Outdoors” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Kristen Laine.