Now Is the Time to Learn to Ski or Snowboard on the Cheap

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It’s hard to claim that downhill skiing is remotely inexpensive. Colorado’s Steamboat Ski Area is noteworthy this year because its top price for a one-day lift ticket is “just” $99. In other words, it hasn’t crossed the $100 threshold like other Colorado ski resorts such as Vail, Telluride, Breckenridge, and Aspen have. For the month of January, though, learning to ski or snowboard is remarkably cheap—and in some cases, totally free.

January is generally a slow month at ski resorts. The peak holiday crowds are gone, and the peak spring break crowds haven’t yet arrived. Also: It’s COLD. It’s during this January lull that the industry hosts Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, when resorts across the country offer special packages that usually include equipment rentals, lift tickets, and a lesson for one small price.

Each state coordinates its January promos a little differently. Throughout the current week in New Hampshire, for example, more than a dozen ski areas are offering free lessons, rentals, and lift tickets for beginngers (through January 13). Over in neighboring Vermont, the specials are available throughout the entire month, with the exception of blackout dates on January 14 and 15. On all other days in January, a flat $29 will buy a package covering a day’s rentals (choice of ski or snowboard equipment) and a lift ticket (for the hill’s beginner area only), along with a group lesson at 14 different ski resorts.

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In Michigan, 23 resorts are offering special learn-to-ski packages, which include rentals, a lift ticket or access pass, and a beginner lesson. Per-day prices for the packages are $20 for newbie cross-country skiers, $30 for traditional skiers, and $40 for snowboarders, and the special prices are valid every remaining day in January (pending availability).

Resorts in Utah, on the other hand, have each come up with their own promotions and prices for Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month. The Canyons Resort, for example, has a $13 special—$13 for a lift ticket, $13 for a lesson, and $13 for lessons ($39 total) through January. Most of the deals in Utah are only valid for Utah residents, though.

As for Colorado, where $100 lift tickets have become commonplace, most of the learn-to-ski promotions are significantly more expensive—generally costing in the neighborhood of $75 to $100 for a one-day package. In Colorado, these prices count as major deals.

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Plenty of other states have learn-to-ski specials as well, including Oregon, New Mexico, and New York to name three. You can search the options by state at SkiandSnowboardMonth.org.

Brad Tuttle is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @bradrtuttle. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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