Winters can feel like they never end in New England, but one sure way to combat cabin fever is to get the kids having fun outside. Living within driving distance of dozens of ski mountains in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts makes it easy to hit the slopes for the day or a whole weekend. But with a lift ticket usually costing upward of $50 per session, a ski day can get expensive. Luckily, several mountains offer great deals on ski passes for fourth and fifth graders. Here’s how to score one for a super skiing season.
In New Hampshire, fourth and fifth graders can get a $35 Snowsports Passport that contains a free lift ticket or trail pass to all Ski NH downhill and cross country area members, nearly 30 locations in all. The passport can be used all over New Hampshire, from Bretton Woods and Cannon Mountain up north to Pats Peak outside of Concord, plus it is good at many of the Nordic ski centers throughout the state. In addition to getting to ski on the cheap, the passport comes with additional discounts like savings on adult tickets, free learn-to-ski sessions and savings on equipment rentals. Take advantage of the pass in January, which is Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month in New Hampshire, when many mountains will be having additional deals and special events. One caveat: The passport is valid for the entire season except during certain blackout dates.
Vermont offers a special ski deal through its Fifth Grade Passport that provides kids with a full season of skiing and riding on the cheap. For only $11, fifth graders get a passport with free passes to downhill and cross country facilities throughout the state. You’ll find tickets to places like Killington and Stowe (pictured below) as well as Mad River Glen and Suicide Six that can be used from December to May 1. Passport holders must be accompanied by a ticket- or pass-holding adult and there are blackout dates at each mountain during which the passport is not valid.
To combat childhood obesity, Maine has started a WinterKids Passport for fifth, sixth and seventh graders enrolled in school in the state. The passport, which costs $25, provides free and discounted tickets, lessons and rentals for downhill and cross country skiing, tubing and ice skating at 50 areas throughout Maine. January is also Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month in Maine, so stay tuned for details on special deals and events.
While Massachusetts doesn’t have a special statewide passport program like its Northern New England neighbors, a few ski areas do offer discounts to kids. Ski Butternut, located in Great Barrington, offers a free ski pass for fifth graders that is valid Sunday through Friday (excluding holiday periods) when the skier is accompanied by an adult full-price, regular-rate lift ticket. Berkshire East in Charlemont has several discounts perfect for kids and families, including $15 Thursday night skiing, discounted rates on Saturday Family Night and Massachusetts Resident Days.
Winter is right around the corner, so be sure to snap up these deals before the ski season gets rolling!
Top photo: Bretton Woods, NH