Skiing & Winter Sports

Free Skiing for 5th Grade Kids at These Ski Resorts in the West

Skiing - it sounds so appealing, doesn't it? Getting some much needed exercise, filling everyone's lungs with fresh mountain air, letting the kids play in snow, enjoying an activity the whole family can do together -- ah, right. That's what stops you every year. Because the whole family sounds like a whole lot more people when you're counting lift tickets rather than heads.

The good news is that some ski resorts seem to understand this dilemma and have been inspired to create 5th Graders Ski Free programs around the country. Not only did you read that right, there are no tricks or strings. No, you don't have to give anyone a credit card number that auto-pays annual ski passes every year until college. In fact, you don't really have to do anything but choose the right ski resort and prove that your kid is in the 5th grade. The rest is a win-win for all involved: the ski resort takes a gamble on hooking your kids for life after letting them ski free for an entire season. Fair enough. Mom and Dad get to ski without coughing up the extra cash to find out whether Junior loves or hates snow sports. Everyone wins; everyone skis, and all just for reaching the ripe old age of ten.

Where To Start Skiing and Boarding - Local Ski Schools for New York City Kids

When my 6-year-old son started skiing, I was advised by a former ski instructor friend to I enroll him in skiing school and under no circumstances attempt to teach him myself. She claimed that even if you are an Olympic-level skier, which I am not, it is best that they learn how to turn and stop from the pros. Plus there is the added benefit of hitting the slopes solo while your kid is in school. Heeding her advice, we enrolled him in ski school for a day during the Christmas holidays, and he loved it!

Back home in NYC I started looking for local ski resorts providing schools for weekend day trips and was surprised to find they weren’t as common as I thought they would be. Of course most ski resorts offer private and group lessons, but I was hoping for more of a half-day or full-day option for my son. After a ton of research, we've rounded up the area resorts with ski or snowboarding schools for kids, plus everything else you need to know to get them started. So grab your skis and get going!

Ski Season Deals for Pennsylvania Families & Kids

‘Tis the season for skiing. Whether you work the slopes like a pro or are more comfortable sticking with the bunny slope (that’s me!), Pennsylvania residents are lucky enough to have a bevy of ski resorts right here in their home state. If that's not enough, our sponsor, the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA), has some sweet deals for families looking to ski or snowboard together this winter. From a special program that lets 4th and 5th graders ski for free with their parents to an offer for first-time skiers, there are opportunities to hit the slopes throughout the state.

Cross-Country Skiing Near NYC: Where to Nordic Ski with Kids

While we've written plenty of posts about downhill skiing with NYC kids, we've never covered cross-country skiing. Also known as Nordic skiing, cross-country skiing is a great winter sport for families. Children as young as five can ski alone, and parents can tow tots in a sled or carry them in a backpack while on the trails. You can't do that while swooshing down a mountain!

Cross-country skiing is a fun way for active kids to burn off energy in the colder months and spend time outside. While you use most of the same equipment that you'd need for a day on the slopes—skis, boots, bindings, poles, goggles, helmets and warm clothing—cross-country skiing is nowhere near as dangerous or as expensive as downhill skiing. You won't be at risk for slamming into a tree at full speed, and trail passes usually cost about $20 per person.

After a good snowfall in New York City, you can cross-country ski just about anywhere. I've seen people doing it in parks and even right down the middle of Fifth Avenue before the snow plows cleared the street. But if you're looking to go cross-country skiing in a more scenic (and less bumpy) environment, there are tri-state area destinations that offer many miles of well-groomed trails, as well as amenities like warm lodges where you can sit back, relax, sip on hot cocoa and enjoy a family meal.

Unlike traditional ski resorts, most cross-country trails aren't in the business of making their own snow. So you're going to have to wait for the white stuff before you can get out there. Once that happens, here are six spots where families can enjoy cross-country skiing, most less than a two-hour drive from New York City.

Cross Country Skiing for Families in Boston - Weston Ski Track, Great Brook and More

Had enough already? Unlike the last couple of years, when we were thankful for even a few inches of the fluffy white stuff, the winter of 2014 has shaped up to be one of the more memorable in terms of snow. Which means it's been a memorable winter for cross country skiing, too.

The first time we took our kids cross country skiing was in child carrier sleds that we strapped around our waists and pulled behind us - great fun for them, and a great workout for us. While they’ve since grown too big for those carriers and now prefer the speed of downhill, they are still willing to spend some family time together cross-country skiing. We usually go to a local forest to ski, although we also go to Great Brook, Farm State Park, in Carlisle. Great Brook is dependent on natural snow coverage, but when it’s good, the groomed trails are fun. For near-guaranteed coverage, Weston Ski Track has snowmaking on a 2K, lighted loop as well as additional groomed trails when the weather cooperates.

Read on for the details about these and other places to ski. (Looking for downhill ski areas? You can find details on three close-by mountains here.)

Ski All Over PA: Deals and Details of the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association

Whether you jump the moguls like an Olympiad or hang on for dear life traversing the bunny hill, 'tis the season for all things skiing, and Pennsylvania just happens to be an entire state of amazing resorts. We love to let you know about cool stuff, and the incredible travel and winter recreation opportunities of the 21 sports areas in the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA) fit the bill; from a special program that lets 4th and 5th graders ski for free with their parents, to midweek skiing deals, read on to find out about all the locations and opportunities in the Keystone State!

Special Needs-Friendly Ski Resorts Near NYC: Adaptive Winter Sports Programs for Kids of Different Abilities

Winter is a wonderful season for outdoor fun—just ask my three young snow-loving kids. In fact, there are so many fantastic skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing resorts near New York City, it's difficult to choose.

But since I'm also a mom to a teenager with special needs who isn't into winter sports, that makes our decision all the more challenging. He is both physically and cognitively disabled, and the thought of struggling onto lifts, into gear, up hills and through crowds doesn't appeal to him—not to mention the possibility of wiping out. So my family needs a resort that's able to accommodate children of all ages as well as abilities.

Happily, there are some amazing adaptive winter sports programs at resorts within a few hours of NYC, and some are low cost or even FREE. Here are five ski programs for special needs families.

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