Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

If Price Is Keeping You off Slopes, Here Are Some Tips

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

If Price Is Keeping You off Slopes, Here Are Some Tips

Article excerpt

Cost is one of the top reasons individuals give for not wanting to learn to ski or snowboard.

No surprise there.

But SnowSports Industries America (SIA), an organization that represents suppliers and retailers and promotes the growth and development of snowsports, said they "can be surprisingly affordable" for smart shoppers.

Here's what the SIA recommends "to cut the costs without cutting the fun" - as soon as there's enough snow.

* Take advantage of all-inclusive packages at local and regional resorts during January, which SIA has designated as Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. The packages include rental equipment, a lift ticket and a lesson taught by a professional instructor.

Participating resorts include:

Blue Knob, Hidden Valley, Mystic Mountain at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Seven Springs, Ski Sawmill Family Resort and Whitetail in Pennsylvania; Canaan Valley, Timberline and Snowshoe in West Virginia; Holiday Valley, Kissing Bridge and Peek'n Peak in New York; and Wisp in Maryland.

Information: www.learntoskiandsnowboard.org.

* Have a child in the fourth or fifth grade? Sign them up for Pennsylvania's 4th and 5th Grade Snowpass Program that last year introduced more than 9,000 children to skiing and snowboarding.

The program, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA), includes one free Learn to Ski/Snowboard Package that includes equipment, a lesson and a lift ticket for the beginner lift.

The package also includes three free day lift tickets to each of the 20 resorts that belong to the association. There is a $35 administrative fee. Some blackout dates apply.

Why fourth and fifth graders? Kids in those grade levels "learn a new sport with ease and excel rapidly," said Linda Irvin, the PSAA's executive director.

The snowpass program is available at Blue Knob, Hidden Valley, Mystic Mountain, Seven Springs, Ski Sawmill and Whitetail.

Information: www.SkiPA.com; 1-570-443-0963. …

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