Children Ski Free Program in Great Lakes Region

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Winter, especially in the northern states, can be quite long. Therefore, it is important to find something for kids to do to get some physical activity. Several states have programs to encourage kids and their parents to get involved in downhill skiing and snowboarding. Few of them are in the Great Lakes region.


Michigan – Fourth and Fifth Graders Ski Free in Michigan!

“The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) and Michigan McDonald’s restaurants want to give Michigan kids an opportunity to get out, have fun and get healthy this winter. This is why MSIA has established a state-wide program that provides every 4th and 5th grader the opportunity to ski for free. Students can obtain a “Cold is Cool” Ski & Ride Passport that gives them up to three free lift tickets or trail passes over 25 participating ski areas, plus additional discounts on the slopes and in Michigan ski shops. MSIA charges $20 for the passport (to cover printing and shipping.)”

“In addition to the lift tickets donated by the participating ski areas, the Cold is Cool Passport also includes a coupon for 20% off a helmet purchase. And also $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.”

More info about Michigan Ski Free program can be found here.



New York

Ski or Ride at New York Ski Areas for FREE with the Learn to Ski Passport program and the Kids Ski Free Passport program. Both programs are valid for any 3rd or 4th grader in the world at participating New York State ski areas.

The Kids Learn to Ski or Ride Passport is the perfect program for those who are true beginners. With the program, a child receives a lift ticket, lesson and equipment rental free* at all participating ski areas. There are over 20 ski areas throughout New York State participating in the Learn to Ski or Ride program.

The Kids Ski or Ride Free Passport is the program for 3rd and 4th graders who already know how to ski or snowboard. With the program, a child receives up to 3 free lift tickets at all participating ski areas when accompanied by a paying adult.

More info about New York progam is available here.



Pennsylvania –  Snowpass Program

You don’t have to live in PA to take advantage of this program, just ski/ride PA!

Any child in the 4th or 5th grade a can ski or ride for FREE at all participating ski areas in the state of Pennsylvania with the 4th & 5th Grade Snowpass (when accompanied by a paying adult.)

You can find more info about Snowpass Program here.




Canada has the similar program for kids. Canadian students in 4th and 5th grade are eligible for the Snow Pass. It provides three free lift tickets at 150 Canadian ski areas each participating resort with the processing fee of $29.95.

More about Canadian program here.


Cover photo credit: Pamela Saunders/



Rich S. is a lifetime photographer and traveler based in Metro Detroit area. He has been traveling the Great Lakes area for over 30 years. Follow his blog about his trips, interesting activities and destinations in the Great Lakes region.

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