Cover Story / Skiing/Snowboarding

COVER: Ski areas gear up to get first-timers on the slopes



Photo by Carl Frey/Winter Park

There is no better time to learn how to take advantage of Colorado ski area’s downhill delights then in January during  Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. All across the state, ski areas are gearing up to offer their best deals, promotions and programs for beginners. The goal is to make it easier than ever to learn how to enjoy one of our state’s greatest assets, and raise appreciation of outdoor winter recreation.


“Humans were never meant to hibernate” is the slogan for the snow sports industry’s annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative to get more children and adults outdoors in winter.

More than 80 U.S. Ski and snowboard resorts have signed on as host sites in an attempt to set a Guinness record for the World’s Largest Ski and Largest Snowboard Lessons, Jan. 6. Ski and snowboard are taught separately. Copper, Winter Park and Granby Ranch are locally  participating resorts.

Colorado ski areas offer acclaimed ski-school learning programs that are the perfect springboard to a lifelong love affair with the slopes. Whether you’ve tried skiing or snowboarding a few times or you want to make that inaugural Colorado mountain trip, taking a professional lesson will help you get the basics down and improve techniques more quickly.

Learn to Ski and Snowboard activities and offerings can be found at most regional ski areas. Here are some:

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
A-Basin’s “First Timer” lessons are half-day only lessons for first time skiers and snowboarders. Adult ages 15 and older are $70 and include the lesson and lift ticket. The lessons are offered Jan. 8-12, 15-20, 22-27 and 29-31.

“I think A-Basin’s Snowsports lessons are one of the hidden gems of our ski area. While we get a lot of attention for our steeps, we have amazing learning areas and beautiful beginner terrain,” Marketing and Communications Manager Adrienne Saia Isaac said. “Our instructors truly love what they do, and that passion shows through in their instruction. We also keep our class sizes small, which allows for more individualized attention. And, the best thing about learning in January is that we and most ski areas offer really great deals; what I like about our deal is that it’s for adults, because it’s never too late to try skiing or snowboarding.”

Breckenridge Ski Resort
Breck’s “Ultimate Four” semi-private lesson is the ideal combination of a large-group and private course, giving the maximum four participants plenty of one-on-one time with the instructor.

Copper Mountain Ski Area
Woodward at Copper offers a year-round indoor ski and snowboard camp with foam pits, trampolines, simulated snow and more to allow riders to test their skills before launching outdoors. If new to the sport, Copper offers an introductory experience featuring an intro session to learn the basis on varied beginner terrain.

Copper Mountain’s Ski and Ride University offers three lessons with lift tickets, equipment rentals, close in parking and lunch on the 2nd and 3rd day for just $249. After completing the 3rd lesson, graduates receive a free Copper Mountain season pass for the remainder of the season and 50 percent off next seasons’ pass. Those wanting to enroll must be 18 years of age or older and new to skiing and snowboarding.

Eldora Mountain Resort
Eldora Mountain Resort is offering the Start with Woodward Children’s “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Package” for $159. The day package includes an all mountain lift ticket, all day rental and all day lesson with snacks and lunch.

For adults, Eldora offers the “Discover Adult Group Lesson” for $149. The package includes one day of mountain lift access, all day equipment rental and a three and a half hour lesson.

Granby Ranch
Granby Ranch is a favorite for new skiers and snowboarders who want to learn and grow in a comfortable, friendly environment. The family-owned resort offers the amenities of a large Colorado ski resort, but without the crowds and attitude. Instructors at Ski Granby Ranch’s ski and ride school utilize the Haral Harb teaching method, which utilizes specific body movements and shaped skis to get students on the slopes and confident with the fundamentals.

Loveland Ski Area
The most important thing to remember when skiing and snowboarding is that skiing and riding are supposed to be fun. Loveland Ski Area has been helping people learn to ski and snowboard for over 75 years and are excited to help everyone develop a lifelong love of snow sports.

In January, Loveland offers its “Three-Class Pass Lesson Package,” which includes a free season pass, for first timer adult and children ages 6-14. All first timer adults and children ages 6-14 that take three full lessons, starting with a Level 1 full day newcomer lesson package, receive a free season pass.

“Loveland Valley is the perfect place to introduce newcomers to snow sports.  It is a separate base area where beginners can make their first turns on gentle slopes away from more advanced skiers and riders. They can enjoy their own lifts and gentle slopes without having to worry about intimidating runs crossing their path,” Loveland Marketing and Communications Director John Sellers said.



Photo by Carl Frey/Winter Park

Winter Park Resort
Colorado’s oldest Ski and Ride School has a pair of specials to celebrate the special month. During January, first-timers receive 25 percent off of a Fast Track 5 lesson, a convenient half-day semi-private lesson limited to five students per instructor. The special is valid any Monday-Thursday in January, but must be booked online in advance. On Jan. 6, Winter Park will join resorts from all over the country for the World’s Largest Lesson. Those wanting to participate can get 25 percent off a Fast Track 5 lesson on that day only, which also must be booked online in advance.

“Winter Park boasts the oldest ski school in Colorado and an importance on teaching beginners has been ingrained here since the ski area’s infancy,” Director of Public Relations and Communications Steve Hurlbert said. “Our instructors pride themselves on making sure every student has a great experience because instilling a love for skiing or snowboarding is, and always will be, the best way to grow the sport. Winter Park also features a variety of lesson plans to accommodate every schedule and budget.”

Designed for kids, adults and those of all skill levels, nearly every Colorado ski resort has a learning program to get anyone started with skiing or snowboarding.

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