Fourth and Fifth Graders Ski & Ride for Free with SkiPA's Snowpass

SkiPA Makes it Affordable for Kids to Hit the Slopes this Winter

By Colleen Philbrick, December 5, 2018

The Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (SkiPA) wants to make it affordable for kids to stay active, have fun and get outdoors with their families this winter.  Celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this season, the Snowpass program provides every fourth and fifth grader the opportunity to ski or snowboard for free, up to three times at 21 participating Pennsylvania area ski resorts, when accompanied by a paying adult.

No need to worry if your child has never skied or snowboarded before because the Snowpass contains (1) FREE Learn to Ski/Board package, which includes beginner lift ticket, lesson and equipment rental with a paying adult.   The Snowpass program is also not restricted to residents of Pennsylvania. Any fourth or fifth grade student can participate by completing a simple application and providing a report card or other document verifying they are currently in the fourth or fifth grade. A photo of the student is also required. You can apply online at or download an application and apply by mail.  There is a
nominal administration/processing fee of $40.  Quantities are limited.  Snowpasses are issued on a first come, first serve basis.  Details of the program including rules and black-out dates can be found at

Skiing and snowboarding offer families the opportunity to exercise outside together during the winter months. A ninety-pound youth can burn between two and three hundred calories per hour skiing and/or snowboarding depending on their activity level. Skiing and snowboarding are listed among the activities included in the President’s Challenge organized by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Children and adults can earn points toward a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award by skiing and snowboarding. Twenty-one ski/snowboard resorts across Pennsylvania belong to the Snowpass program.

The Snowpass can be used at the following Pennsylvania ski area resorts:  

First-Time Ski Tips for Kids

It can be a little overwhelming skiing with kids in tow for the first-time.  SkiPA has five helpful tips to make the experience less stressful and enjoyable for all.

  1. Memorize the NSAA Your Responsibility Code. Before embarking out on the first ski trek, make sure everyone in the family discusses the Your Responsibility Code. The National Ski Areas Association developed the code to help skiers and boarders be aware that there are elements of risk in snow sports that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce.
  2. Wear a Helmet. The National Ski Areas Association recommends wearing a helmet.  It is important to make sure the helmet fits correctly for maximum protection and comfort on the slopes. A ski and snowboard helmet are not something to grow into. Learn more at
  3. Dress for Success. Properly suiting up for a day on the slopes is key to staying warm and dry. Cotton clothing such as jeans and a sweatshirt will become wet, then cold.  So, the key is to make smart fabric choices and dress in layers. Layering allows the body to adapt to changing temperatures. Look for fabric that is water and wind-resistant. Most importantly, kids should wear a hat or headband, polyester or wool socks and gloves or mittens as the extremities are the first to feel heat-loss.
  4. Wear Sun Protection. Always make sure children have sunscreen and ski goggles.  The sun reflects off the snow, so is stronger than you think even on overcast days.  Goggles provide the best protection for every day on the slopes, especially for children. Making sure the goggles fit properly is very important.  When fitting children, be sure to try on the helmet and goggles together to make sure they fit seamlessly.
  5. Take a Lesson. Start kids out with a ski lesson by a trained professional.  Most resorts offer lessons for kids as young as three or four.  Children’s instructors know how to teach kids specifically by starting with key fundamentals and slowly progressing to make the experience fun while building confidence on the slopes.