How your kids can ski for free this winter season

Oct 20, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Skiing is my family’s most expensive activity.

Thankfully, there are many ski resorts throughout the U.S. where kids can ski for free, or at least for a reduced price. Many mountains and programs around the U.S. even extend this discounted pricing to kids up to 12 years old.

Although last year’s ski programs looked quite a bit different due to COVID-19, we are starting to see things come back to normal a bit. Fortunately, many of the very popular ski “passport programs” designed for elementary-school-aged kids are running this year.

Let’s break down some of your choices across the U.S.

For more TPG travel tips and deals delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our free daily newsletter.

Catching the ski bug early. (Photo courtesy of Jennifer Yellin/DealsWeLike.)

In This Post

California

There are plenty of spots in California where families can ski without breaking the bank.

June Mountain

Every single child 12 and under skis for free at June Mountain, although there are blackout days on that promotion during the most popular times of the year. These dates include Dec. 26, 2021 — Jan. 2, 2022, Jan. 15-16, 2022 and Feb. 19-20, 2022. If your vacation overlaps with one of these dates, you can purchase a child’s ticket for $25 on these days. Free child and season passes have to be picked up at the June Mountain ticket office and can not be purchased online.

Palisades Tahoe

Children four and under always ski for free at Palisades Tahoe.

In the past, no matter what your age, if you had a morning flight to Palisades Tahoe, you could ski for free for the rest of the day — a promotion that isn’t unique to kids. Typically, all you have to do is show your same-day boarding pass from a commercial airline and you’ll receive a complimentary lift ticket for the rest of the day. As of now, Palisades Tahoe hasn’t announced if they will continue with this program for the 2021/2022 winter season, but hopefully skiers will know more in November.

(Photo by stockphoto52/Getty Images)
Arrive and go skiing on the same day, for free. (Photo by stockphoto52/Getty Images.)

Colorado

Colorado 4th-, 5th- and 6th-grade passport program

In addition to the one-off mountain deals listed below, if you have a fourth-, fifth- or sixth-grader, your child can get a ski passport for incredibly reduced rate of just $59 for four, one-day lift tickets good for 21 mountains throughout Colorado. In fact, this promotion has even been enhanced for the 2021/2022 season with the addition of fourth-graders (up from just fifth and sixth grades in the past). You can register online and Colorado residency is not required. These lift tickets have a few holiday blackout dates (Nov. 26-27, 2021, Dec. 25, 2021 — Jan. 1, 2022, Jan. 15-16, 2022 and Feb. 19-20, 2022) and are valid seven days a week.

This year’s participating resorts are Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Cooper, Copper Mountain, Echo Mountain, Eldora, Granby Ranch, Hesperus Ski Area, Howelsen Hill, Kendall Mountain, Loveland, Monarch, Powderhorn, Purgatory Resort, Silverton, Snowmass, Steamboat, Sunlight, Telluride and Winter Park.

Prices are subject to change throughout the season, so if you know you’ll get some use out of this program, you should lock in the price now.

Related: 7 of our favorite Airbnb rentals in Colorado 

Epic SchoolKids Colorado program

The Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack is a free program for children in kindergarten through 5th grade that provides four days of skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte. It also includes one free first-timer ski or ride lesson with equipment rental.

There is no residency requirement for the Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack, but you do need to sign up in person in Colorado. There are also blackout dates which include Nov. 26-27, 2021, Dec. 26-31, 2021, Jan. 16, 2022 and Feb. 19-20, 2022.

Arapahoe Basin

At Arapahoe Basin, children 5 and under ski free. You’ll need to visit guest services in person with both your child and age verification to pick up this pass.

Arapahoe Basin, CO. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado. (Photo via Shutterstock.)

Aspen Snowmass

Children six and under traditionally ski for free here. at Aspen Snowmass. And now, Four Mountain Sports is incentivizing families with kids seven to 12 to rent ski equipment with the company by providing a free lift ticket at Aspen Snowmass valid for the entire length of your rental if lodging is booked through Stay Aspen Snowmass (minimum two-night stay). This promotion is valid Jan. 1 through April 17, 2022.

You also must book by the 15th of the month the month before you are arriving to take advantage of this promotion.

If your travel does take you to Aspen, here are ways to enjoy the area for less.

Related: Review of the ski-out Westin Snowmass

Keystone

If you book a lodging package directly through Keystone for two or more nights, kids 12 and under ski for free. You’ll receive one complimentary lift ticket on a two-night stay, then an additional lift ticket on every night booked thereafter. Children four and under traditionally ski for free at Keystone.

Kidtopia. Courtesy of Keystone Resort
Kidtopia. (Photo courtesy of Keystone Resort.)

This “kids ski free” offer even includes the Hyatt Place Keystone, so you can use points to stay less than a mile from the mountain.

This Category 4 Hyatt hotel accepts Category 1–4 reward night certificates that you earn each year with the World of Hyatt Credit Card. If paying with points, nights start at 15,000 points, or the Points + Cash rate is 7,500 points plus $75. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to your Hyatt account instantly on a 1:1 basis. Earn Ultimate Rewards points with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Loveland

Families who want to put their kids in ski school can score their child a free season pass at Loveland. Simply sign up your child for three half-day lessons (ski or snowboard) and they’ll receive a season pass after completion. This offer is valid for children between the ages of seven and 14; the three class pass costs $399. Children five and under traditionally ski for free.

Steamboat Springs

If you purchase an adult ticket for five or more days at Steamboat Springs, any child under 12 will ski for free for the same number of days. This is valid for a child skiing with a parent, grandparent or legal guardian. Only one child is allowed to ski for free per adult.

Sheraton Steamboat Villas
Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas. (Photo courtesy of the hotel.)

If you happen to visit Steamboat this winter, the Sheraton Steamboat Resort Villas is a great place to stay, and you can even use your up to 35,000-point Marriott Bonvoy reward night certificate that comes with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card and Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (capped at a 35,000-point redemption each year).

Related: These are the best ski towns in Colorado 

Breckenridge

Children four and under traditionally ski for free at Breckenridge.

Breckenridge also has many hotel options where you can use your points for a free stay. You can use your Hilton points at the Valdoro Mountain Lodge or the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge and your Marriott Bonvoy points at the Residence Inn Breckenridge.

Related: 7 great ways to use 180,000 Hilton Honors points

Crested Butte

Pre-COVID, Crested Butte was known to run a promotion where kids 12 and under could ski for free during a certain period. Hopefully we will see that promotion pop back up this year, but as of now there is no such offer.

Children four and under typically ski for free at Crested Butte.

Related: Why Crested Butte, Colorado, Is America’s Most Idyllic Family Ski Town

Beaver Creek

Children four and under typically ski for free at Beaver Creek.

Beaver Creek is another great option in Colorado if you’re looking to use your hotel points. There are many chain hotel options, such as the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek (from 30,000 World of Hyatt points), The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch (85,000 Bonvoy points on standard dates) and the Westin Riverfront Spa & Resort (60,000 Bonvoy points on standard dates).

View of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek from the mountain (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
View of the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek from the mountain. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.)

Vail

Children four and under ski for free at Vail.

Similar to Beaver Creek, using points and miles is an excellent way to make your overall vacation here even more affordable. Some popular options for points and miles enthusiasts are the Vail Marriott (between 50,000 and 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points), Highline Vail – a DoubleTree by Hilton (between 42,000 and 80,000 Honors points) and the Grand Hyatt Vail (from 30,000 World of Hyatt points).

Vail Marriott (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Vail Marriott. (Summer Hull/The Points Guy.)

Purgatory

Purgatory is part of the Power Kids program, where kids 12 and under can get a free season pass they can use at eight participating western resorts. Other valid resorts include Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and Sipapu Ski & Summer Resort in New Mexico, Arizona Snowbowl, Hesperus Ski Area in Colorado, Nordic Valley Ski Resort in Utah, Brian Head Resort in Utah and Spider Mountain Bike Park in Texas.

Utah

Ski Utah offers a fifth- and sixth-grade passport program that you can purchase even if you’re not a resident. The cost is $45 per pass (although that price will increase on Dec 1, 2021) and is valid seven days a week. The pass grants access to 15 different Utah resorts. Fifth-graders receive three passes to each resort, while sixth-graders receive only one pass to each resort for the season.

The resorts include Alta Ski Area, Brighton Resort, Beaver Mountain, Brian Head Resort, Cherry Peak Resort, Deer Valley Resort, Eagle Point, Nordic Valley Resort, Park City Mountain, Powder Mountain, Snowbasin Resort, Snowbird, Solitude, Sundance Resort and Woodward Park City.

Related: Review of the St. Regis Deer Valley

Brighton

Brighton has an extremely generous kids ski program where two children ages 10 and under can ski for free with the purchase of one adult ticket. You just have to purchase a one-time reloadable cardstock for $5.

Additionally, you can purchase a 10-and-under season pass for a small fee (the cost for the 2021/2022 season has not yet been announced). Not only children can ski for free at any time, but there also are a few perks of the season pass, which include free days at other resorts in the Wasatch and across the Boyne family, use of the UTA ski bus and more. You also don’t have to go to the ticket window each day to claim your free day pass.

Snowbasin

Snowbasin has also not released its 2021/2022 ticket pricing, but similar to last year, children four and under will probably continue to ski free.

Snowbird

Children six and under ski for free at Snowbird.

Solitude

Children four and under ski for free at Solitude.

Powder Mountain

Children six and under ski for free at Powder Mountain.

Sundance

Children five and under ski for free at Sundance.

(Photo courtesy of Solitude Mountain Resort.)
(Photo courtesy of Solitude Mountain Resort.)

Idaho

Although Idaho’s Peak Season Passport information is not yet available for the 2021/2022 winter, in past years, both fifth- and sixth-graders have been able to ski for a majority of the winter for just $18 for the season. Typically, fifth-graders get three free days at each of the 18 mountains (for a total of 54 days of skiing) while sixth-graders get two free days at only 17 mountains (for a total of 34 days of skiing). There’s no residency restriction for this deal, although last year there were restrictions on weekends, holidays and other busy ski days during the season. Stay tuned to see what this year brings.

Participating mountains include Bald Mountain, Bogus Basin, Brundage Mountain, Cottonwood Butte, Grand Targhee, Kelly Canyon, Little Ski Hill, Lookout Pass, Lost Trail, Magic Mountain, Pebble Creek, Pomerelle (fifth-graders only), Schweitzer, Silver Mountain, Snowhaven, Soldier Mountain, Sun Valley and Tamarack.

Schweitzer

If you’re flying Alaska Airlines into Spokane Airport, your entire family can ski for free. While exact details won’t be announced until Nov. 1, 2021, we were told that Schweitzer will be participating in the “Fly Alaska, ski free” promotion.

In the past, all you had to do was show your Alaska Airlines boarding pass and you’d receive a free lift ticket for the same day as your arrival.

Sun Valley

When you book lodging at Sun Valley, many packages offer free skiing to kids 12 and under with the purchase of an adult ski ticket. Currently, a three-night minimum stay is required and you must book by Nov. 21, 2021. There are also blackout dates, which include Dec. 21, 2021 — Jan. 2, 2022 and Feb. 18 — Feb 22, 2022.

Children four  and under always ski for free.

Sun Valley Idaho and Ketchum in Winter. (Photo by Ro-ma Stock Photography/Getty Images)
Sun Valley Idaho and Ketchum in winter. (Photo by Ro-ma Stock Photography/Getty Images.)

Washington State

The Washington State passport program for fifth-graders costs $20 and is available this season, though they may face usage restrictions based on capacity constraints at specific resorts.

The passport program usually includes access to six different mountains throughout Idaho and Washington State, including 49 Degrees North, Lookout Pass, Mount Spokane, Silver Mountain, Brundage Mountain and Loup Loup. The pass allows you to ski for up to three days at each of the participating resorts.

There’s also an Idaho pass that includes a different set of mountains; get both passes if you wish to explore more slopes.

Wyoming

Everyone thinks of Jackson Hole when it comes to skiing Wyoming and with good reason. Here’s the deal for families headed in that direction.

Jackson Hole

Children four and under always ski for free with a Jcard purchase, which comes with a one-time $5 fee.

Using points is a solid way to make your overall vacation here more affordable. The SpringHill Suites Jackson Hole is a good option that costs 50,000 points per night on standard dates. Or, you can opt for the brand new Cloudveil, a Marriott Autograph Collection.

Springhill Suites Jackson Hole (Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Springhill Suites Jackson Hole .(Summer Hull/The Points Guy.)

Oregon

For families visiting Oregon, Mt. Bachelor is the place to visit for free kid skiing.

Mt. Bachelor

Children five and under always ski for free at Mt. Bachelor, though they require physical lift tickets, which can be picked up at any ticket window on the day you want to ski.

Maine

Maine offers a few options for your kids to ski for free. While many mountains have their own programs, the Winter Kids app also will offer many discounts on skiing along with other activities throughout the state (with some New Hampshire activities even added this year). This membership costs $40 and covers a family of five. Yearly membership doesn’t start until Nov. 1, but an example from last year includes a free junior lift ticket with a paying adult at Camden Snow Bowl.

Sunday River

Children five and under ski for free at Sunday River.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Children five and under ski at Sugarloaf Mountain for just $5.

Image by Getty Images / Imgorthand
(Image by Getty Images/Imgorthand.)

New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s Snowsports Passport program provides your fourth- or fifth-grader access to 33 different resorts once each throughout the season. The cost is $59.

Bretton Woods

Children four and under ski for free at Bretton Woods.

Gunstock Mountain

Children five and under always ski for free at Gunstock.

Waterville Valley Resort

Children five and under ski for free at Waterville Valley Resort. Additionally, kids 12 and under will receive a free season pass with the purchase of an adult season pass.

Separately, if you lease seasonal gear for your child at Ken Jones Ski Mart in New Hampshire, those between the age of six and 12 receive a free junior Waterville Valley Season Pass. All rentals must be leased by Dec. 12, 2021.

Cannon Mountain

Typically, children five and under ski free at Cannon Mountain with a paying adult.

Loon Mountain

Children five and under ski for free at Loon Mountain.

Mount Sunapee

Children four and under ski for free at Mount Sunapee.

Courtesy of Bretton Woods Resort
(Photo courtesy of Bretton Woods Resort.)

Vermont

Even though the Ski Vermont passport took a break during last year’s season, it is making a return for 2021/2022, and it’s even better. Traditionally this was limited to just fifth-graders, but this year sixth-graders can also purchase the passport book. With this $20 passport, each fifth- and sixth-grader can ski twice at 20 different alpine and 28 cross country ski areas between Dec. 1, 2021 and May 1, 2022 (date restrictions apply).

There is no residency requirement. However, each passport holder needs to be accompanied by a ticket or ski pass holder (one adult can bring up to two children using the passport).

Bromley Mountain

Kids five and under usually ski for free at Bromley Mountain. While this resort is only seven miles away from the historic Equinox Resort, it left the Marriott chain in 2021. Although you can no longer use your Marriott Bonvoy points for a free night stay, you can still use flexible reward points, such as Capital One Venture miles, to wipe away the charges.

Okemo Mountain

Children six and under ski for free at Okemo Mountain.

Mount Snow

Children six and under ski for free at Mount Snow.

Killington

With every five-day adult ticket purchased, a child between the ages of seven and 12 can ski for free at Killington with a ski and stay package (not valid during blackout dates). Children six and under always ski for free.

Pico Mountain

Kids six and under ski for free at Pico Mountain. Additionally, you can receive a free kids season pass (for ages 7-12) with the purchase of an adult season pass (the child must be a dependent).

Stowe Mountain

Kids four and under ski for free at Stowe.

In case you find yourself visiting the resort, here is everything you need to know about Stowe. Hint: You can use your World of Hyatt points to stay at the Lodge at Spruce Peak at the base of the mountain.

Stowe Mountain, Vermont. (Photo via Shutterstock.)

New Mexico

Sandia Peak

Pricing has not yet been released for the 2021/2022 winter season, but traditionally, children under 46 inches tall ski for $10.

Ski Apache

Children five and under ski free at Ski Apache.

Ski Santa Fe

Children five and under ski for $15.

Taos

Children six and under ski free with a paying adult.

Related: Choosing the best annual ski pass

Bottom line

The combination of skiing at a mountain where your kids can ski for free and using points and miles on your airfare and hotel will help make your upcoming ski vacation much more affordable. You can also use miles earned from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Discover it Miles to pay for the rest of your family’s ski tickets and bring down the out-of-pocket total cost.

Where will your family ski this winter?

Learn more about planning for a ski trip…

Additional reporting by Summer Hull.

Featured image by Imgorthand/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.