Utah is known for its fantastic snow, so why not sign up your kids for a ski or snowboard lesson to whet their whistle for those great sports? Utah's canyons are chock full of ski resorts that are not much farther than your own backyard. Last October, I signed up my two older kids for the Epic School Kids Pass for FREE! From the snow.com website:"The Epic SchoolKids Utah Pack is a free program for Utah Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides five days of skiing and riding at Park City. No purchase necessary! It includes one free first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental." This is exactly what a friend of mine and I did. After signing up online, I received an email confirmation with available dates for a ski or snowboard lesson. I called ahead of time to schedule our ski lessons (snowboard lessons are for kids ages 7 and up) at the Canyons Resort in Park City for January.
On the appointed date, it ended up snowing a ton, making the canyon drive nearly impossible. I called to reschedule the lesson, and the friendly employees were really nice and accommodating to let me reschedule for the following week for free.
On the date of the lesson, my friend and I carpooled with our six kids piled into a minivan. We had to be at the Canyons Resort at 8 am to give us plenty of time to rent the kids' gear (which was included in the cost of the lesson, which was FREE!!!) Every employee at the Canyons was super helpful in directing us where to go.
After the kids were decked out in ski gear, my friend and I dropped them off with their ski instructors. The lesson ran all day, going from 9 am to 3 pm (no parental supervision required). After some instruction at the base of the resort, the kids rode the gondola up the mountain to get some ski time in with the instructors.
Lunch was even provided at the Red Pine Lodge at the top of the gondola.
The ski instructors took excellent care of my kids all day long. I didn't get to see them ski at all, since they were somewhere else on the mountain, but when they returned, they raved about the lesson!
They LOVED skiing! My four-year-old wanted to keep all of the rental gear and was very reluctant to return it to the rental place. She asked if we could go skiing the next day. I was so pleased and excited about how well my kids were taken care of, and with how much my kids loved their new-found sport. I was also impressed with the ski instructor, who took the time to discuss each of my girls' progress on the slopes.
Since our Epic Schoolkids Pass is good for 5 day lift passes, I'm excited to take my girls back four more times to the Canyons for more skiing. The trick will be to find a good place to either buy or rent their gear so that we can return.
This was seriously one of the best new adventures for my girls! I highly recommend signing up for the Epic SchoolKids Pass in the fall for the coming winter season!
Things I learned from this experience:
- A ski lesson like this is an all-day event. My friend and I brought reading, snacks, and things to do so that we could just hang out at the resort, at the various shops and restaurants and coffee shops that are available there. If you want, you can leave after dropping your kids off for their lesson and go skiing yourself or check out Main Street in Park City, or any number of other sites in town.
- Skiing during the Sundance Film Festival is actually a really good idea. Our lesson happened to be during the Sundance Film Festival, which means that most people are in town for films, not skiing. The resorts in Park City are dead during Sundance.
- If you have really young kids, drop them off with a babysitter so that you can enjoy spending a day to yourself while your older kids participate in ski or snowboard lessons.
After doing more research for all you readers out there who want to sign up your kids for ski or snowboard lessons, I found some great blog posts on these subjects from Jodi Saeland below: "Jodi Saeland is a part-time KSL Meteorologist and full-time Mom of an 10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son. Follow Jodi as she explores the trials and triumphs of skiing with your kids. Gain practical real-world advice on how to pack, dress, communicate and ski with your kids on Utah's famous slopes. How to be a skier while having an avid, excited budding snowboarder!"
From the Epic SchoolKids website: "To get yourself set for the entire season, there's no better deal than our Junior Trade program. New ski and snowboard packages start at $199 and you can exchange up in size once during the season for no charge. The next season, you receive 50% back towards your purchase making new packages only $99 after trade in! Visit either of our locations below to get your child ready to go for next season:"
Canyon Mountain Sports (435) 615-3440
$22/day rentals for kids
Breeze Ice Rink (435) 649-1902
$23.24/day rentals for kids
I'm sure there are more deals out there! Anyone else know of any good deals out there for buying/renting kids' ski gear? Please share!
I tried multiple times (3-4 at least) to sign up for this this year and it never went through. I sent in all the info needed and found the website confusing. Was I just having a terrible time or is it a somewhat confusing process? I had to print out papers fill them out and scan/email them back. I was really looking forward to this for my kindergartener and was sad it didn't work out.
From Camilie: To answer the comment, she'll have to wait until the fall to sign up for the 2017-2018 Epic Schoolkids pass. The 2016-2017 option is over. ;0(