There are a few different types of "Kids Ski Free" opportunities.
Kids Ski Free - Until They Hit a Certain Age
At most mountains, kids always ski free, up to a certain age. Typically, that age is pretty young: say, five years old. But some mountains give kids a green light 'til they're as old as ten or twelve.
Kids in a Certain Grade Ski Free
Typically these programs aim to get kids skiing at local ski resorts.
SkiNH (Ski New Hampshire), for instance, has free skiing and riding programs for kids in Grades 4 and 5.*
Meanwhile, in Canada, the Grade 4 and 5 Snowpass (associated with the Canadian Ski Council) gives kids free lift coupons at hundreds of participating ski resorts divided into East and West regions.
New York State, meanwhile, has a 4th Graders Ski And Ride Passport, valid at 25 participating New York State ski areas; see the I Love NY site.
Kids Ski Free - Promotions
Various ski resorts and vacation packagers offer "Kids Free" deals during the course of the ski season. Some points to watch out for:
- typically one kid per paying adult gets the freebies
- "kid" is usually age 12 and under
- kids may variously Stay, Ski, Rent Gear, and/or Fly for free
- "Stay Free" isn't that big a deal, as usually kids are staying free in parents' room anyway
- often, "Kids Ski Free" deals are limited to weekdays
This opportunity for free skiing has been offered at several ski resorts, and isn't limited to kids. Guests can ski or board free on the day they fly in to their destination; typically, a guest receives a free lift ticket by presenting a same-day boarding pass. Park City Utah has offered this promotion for several years at its ski resorts; guests flying into Eagle Airport for stays at Vail and Beaver Creek can look for a similar deal.
Below are some good bets for promotions that repeat year after year.
- United Vacations is a good source for "Kids Ski Free" promotions, and typically teams up with a number of popular ski resorts every year for deals where kids can ski free, rent free, and / or fly free (with paying adults.)
- Kids Ski Free in Utah: Utah has terrific ski resorts, and visitors can conveniently find info about all of them at SkiUtah.com. Check for "Kids Ski Free" deals: in past seasons kids 5 and younger have skied free with an adult at Brian Head, Wolf Mountain, and Powder Mountain; at Solitude, near Salt Lake City, the magic age was under six; and at Snowbird (also near SLC) two kids 12 and under were able to ski free with a paying adult -- and the whole family got free ski nights on the beginner hill. Meanwhile, the three Park City ski resorts have a Quick START Ski Free promotion: visitors can ski free on the day they fly in; convert your boarding pass into a lift ticket. (Some blackout dates.)
- Steamboat, Colorado is a good bet for Kids Ski Free promotions: Kids Ski Free and Grandkids Ski Free runs all season; kids 12 and under ski free when parents/grandparents purchase a 5-or-more day adult lift ticket at regular prices. Also, look for deals at Steamboat in combination with popular airlines such as United, Northwest, and American; kids may get to Fly Free, too.
- Mammoth Mountain, in California is another ski resort with frequent Kids Stay and Ski Free promotions.
- Eagle Airport, in Colorado, gets direct flights from Miami, Chicago, Newark and other cities, for skiers heading to Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts, both just a half-hour drive away. Look for a repeat of Kids Fly Free promotions with American Airlines, and for Kids Ski, Ride and Stay Free deals as well. Beaver Creek and Vail have also offered "Fly In, Ski Free" promotions that give free lift tickets to guests on the day they fly in to Eagle Airport. Direct flights to smaller ski-resort airports mean fewer hours spent traveling and zero chance of missing a connecting flight. (Read more about reducing your airport-to-slope-time.)