Family ski vacations are tremendously popular, but nobody ever said they were cheap—especially when you start shelling out for lift tickets, lodging, food, equipment, and lessons.
For families who love the white, powdery days, there is nothing better than a resort that lets you save some green. While a great many ski resorts offer free lift tickets for very young children (typically under age 5 or 6), some of the most family-friendly resorts also offer packages that include free lift tickets for older children in elementary or middle school.
In addition, many states offer ski passports that let grade-school students ski and ride for free. Kids can apply online or through the mail and must provide proof of their current school grade. Typically, each passport is good for several free lift tickets at each participating ski resort.
Here’s where to find “kids ski free” offers at ski destinations in North America for the 2018-2019 season. As always, be sure to read the fine print about qualifying kids’ ages, booking deadlines, minimum stays, and blackout dates.
The June Mountain ski area is located in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains southeast of Yosemite National Park.
At the June Mountain Resort, kids 12 and under ski and ride free all season long. With 1,500 acres of uncrowded slopes, plenty of beginner-friendly terrain, this is a great place for a family to go skiing.
Children are free, but they still need a lift ticket to ride all the lifts at June, including the one that transports you up to the Chalet. Free child tickets are acquired at the June Mountain Ticket Office with proof of age.
Colorado Ski Country offers fifth-grade and sixth-grade passports for free skiing and snowboarding at 22 participating resorts. These resorts and ski areas have additional deals for children.
Early season special: Kids age 6 to 12 ski free any two days during the ski season. Sign up ends Dec. 17, 2018.
Spring ski vacation, anyone? Book lodging and rent ski equipment from Aspen-Snowmass, and kids age 7 to 12 receive free lift tickets for each day of rental. Book at least one month before arrival. Valid Travel Dates: Tuesday, January 1, 2019, to Sunday, April 21, 2019. Some blackout dates apply.
With the One! Two! Free! deal save up to 33 percent when you book a two-night stay and receive a third night free. Kids ski free with the purchase of an adult two-day lift ticket. The deal includes a third day of rentals and group lessons free plus a secret pass to skip the lines.
Take advantage of the Kid Ski Free at Crested Butte offer when you plan an early or late-season ski getaway (November 16, 2018, through April 21, 2019). 3-night minimum stay.
More than 25,000 kids have skied for free at Keystone, whose deal is as straightforward as could be, with no blackout dates: stay two nights at your choice of lodgings and two kids 12 and under ski and ride for free.
Kids 10 and under get a free season pass. Created just for first-time skiers and snowboarders (ages 4 and older), Purgatory offers first-timers a free two-hour group lesson with the purchase of one full-day, full-price lift ticket.
Kids 12 years of age and under can ski free the same number of days as an accompanying adult who purchases a 5-days-or-more lift ticket.
Ski Idaho offers free ski-and-ride passports for fifth and sixth graders. Fifth graders are eligible for three free days at 18 mountains, and 6th graders are eligible for two free days at 16 participating locations.
Ski the Northwest Rockies offers a fifth-grade passport for free skiing and snowboarding at seven ski resorts in Idaho and Washington State.
WinterKids offers free ski-and-ride passports for Maine 5th, 6th, and 7th graders for free skiing at 14 locations. New benefits have been added for the 2018-2019 ski season.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association offers a 4th-grade “Cold is Cool” passport for free skiing and snowboarding at 21 resorts. Available only to Michigan residents.
In addition to the lift tickets donated by the participating ski areas, the Cold is Cool Passport also includes a coupon for 20 percent off a helmet purchase and $20 off the purchase of $100 at participating ski shops across the state. Some ski areas have also included coupons for equipment rental and free or discounted lessons.
At the Big Sky Resort, some of the special promotions include kids ski free options. When you stay there, you have a choice of hotel rooms, condos, cabins, and homes for rent.
The resort and ski area is located in southwestern Montana, midway between Bozeman and West Yellowstone, off US Highway 191.
Ski NH offers free ski-and-ride passports for 4th and 5th graders at 34 locations.
New York State
I Ski NY offers 3rd-grade and 4th-grade passports for free skiing and snowboarding at 30 locations. Some of them are listed on our 9 Best New York Ski Hotels for 2018 list. One even has an indoor water park.
At the Cataloochee Ski Area with the Kids Stay Free, Kids Ski Free program, kids 17 and under stay free midweek (Sunday-Thursday) at participating local hotels and ski free on any non-holiday weekday.
The Mount Bachelor ski resort is a fabulous place for beginners and its “Ski or Ride in 5” program has been voted the best in the nation for novices. Kids 12 and under ski free when you buy adult lift tickets for a minimum of three days. Must be booked online at least four days in advance.
Other Oregon ski areas offer deep discounts for ski packages for children, especially those learning to ski.
The Pennsylvania Ski Area Association offers 4rd-grade and 5th-grade passports for free skiing and snowboarding at 19 locations.
Our list of the Best 9 Ski Hotels in Pennsylvania has some great ideas for family stays.
Ski Utah offers fifth and sixth-grade passports for free skiing and snowboarding for students from any state or country. Fifth graders ski free or at deep discounts at all Utah resorts for three days and sixth graders ski free or at deep discounts at 16 participating resorts for two days. An application must be completed in advance.
Book an early season Family Value Package of at least three nights of lodging, you’ll save 20 percent on lodging, lift tickets, and kids’ ski rentals—plus kids 12 and under ski free.
Kids in kindergarten through 5th grade are eligible for five free days of skiing thanks to the new Epic SchoolKids initiative from Vail Resorts.
Kids 6 and under always ski free.
Ski the Northwest Rockies offers a fifth-grade passport for free skiing and snowboarding at several ski resorts in Idaho and Washington State.
Some of the ski resorts on our 7 Biggest Ski Resorts in Washington list include great places for family skiing.
Ski Vermont offers free ski-and-ride passports for 5th graders valid at 17 locations.
Kids 6 and under always ski free at Killington when accompanied by an adult, and a special offer lets kids ages 7-12 get in on the free fun, too. The Ski & Stay Package bundles lodging and lift tickets. With every 5-day adult lift ticket, you’ll get a complimentary ticket for a child aged 7-12. Available through 2018-2019 season; blackout dates apply. The Ski & Stay Package requires a minimum 1-night lodging and 2-day lift ticket
Our 9 Best Ski Hotels in Vermont listing includes some excellent family-friendly digs.
AddressWintergreen Resort, VA 22967, USA
Stay for three nights at the lodge at Snowshoe Mountain and kids age 6-12 ski free (one child per paying adult). Available during select school break periods.
Jackson Hole Resort offers deals for families who stay there. Stay at any JHRL home rental for four nights or more and for each paying adult, kids 14 and under ski and rent free. Also, save 10 percent off lodging. Valid for stays November 24, 2018 through April 7, 2019, excluding holiday Dec 20, 2018 through Jan 4, 2019.