The January 31 deadline for the 5th and 6th Grade Passport is rapidly approaching! Here’s how our family used the Passport when our kids were of Passport age.
By Helen Olsson
If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done. That’s what savvy procrastinators like to say. And, people, the last minute to get a Colorado Ski Country USA 5th and 6th Grade Passport is upon us. The deadline to get the Passport is January 31. And why would you not? Free skiing? Heck, ya.
I have three kids and they all got Passports when they were in 5th and 6th grade. I was sad when my youngest aged out this year. Here’s the deal. The 5th Grade Passport gets your child three free tickets to each of 22 Colorado resorts. No parent purchase is required. Meanwhile the 6th Grade passport gets kids four tickets at each of the resorts for $125. That’s 88 days of skiing. If you’re a math whiz, you’ll know that’s $1.42 a day. It’s a screaming deal. At the resorts, you bring your Passport card to the ticket window, they punch it (with the smallest punch holer known to man), and your child gets a ticket for the day.
With the Passport, as the name suggests, we traveled all over the state, often skiing at resorts we might not ever have gone to. We’ve used the Passport at Ski Cooper, Powderhorn, Sunlight, Purgatory, Loveland, Eldora, Steamboat, Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Copper, Telluride, and even Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs.
The most unexpected ski experience we had using the Passport over the years was at Howelsen Hill, which opened in 1914 and is on the state register of historic places. Skiing the hill, which rises straight out of the town of Steamboat Springs, is like traveling back in time. The log-cabin-like base lodge reminded me of skiing in the 1970s, complete with a small snack bar window and a real stone fireplace—and lots of memorabilia on the walls from the ski area’s rich history. Howelsen has a ski jumping complex where Olympic hopefuls train and a tubing hill (we hit the tubing hill). And while the vertical drop is modest (440 feet), the pitch is darn steep for a good bunch of turns.
Passport holders who’ve never skied or snowboarded before can also get free lessons and rentals through Colorado Ski Country’s First Class Program. My kids were all rippers by the time they hit 5th grade, but we did use the Passport at Ski Cooper when my daughter decided to turn in two planks for one. That year, we had season passes to Copper, but we drove to Ski Cooper for snowboard lessons. I loved Ski Cooper for the wide, gentle beginner slope, the low-key vibe, and the reasonable cost of an all-day kids’ snowboarding lesson. When you’re still on the bunny slope, you don’t need to be at a mountain that has back bowls and gnarly high-alpine steeps.
Another key benefit of the program is that the Passport comes with a slew of Passport Family Coupon deals on lift tickets, from 50% off adult lift tickets at Purgatory to $54 at Monarch to $89 at Telluride. And it has coupons for sibling tickets and deals on lessons, including 50% off on freestyle lessons at Woodward at Copper.
Here’s the link to register for Colorado Ski Country USA’s 5th and 6th Grade Passport (remember, the deadline is January 31!).