Fifth grade is a funny year.
In most places, fifth graders rule the school. They are the big kids, twice as tall as the Kindergarteners, with an edge on everyone else, both in terms of stature and wisdom.
Yet fifth graders are also on the cusp of Middle School, with its unknowns and transitions from daily recess to daily homework.
Luckily before 5th graders turn into 6th graders, they pass through winter.
And in Colorado, no one rules winter like 5th graders.
The Colorado Ski Country USA 5th Grade Passport, Presented by Christy Sports
If you’re a ski mom or dad (snowboard parents, too), you’re going to like these three words: free lift tickets.
As a parent, I know you’re busy and I know it’s hard to cut through all the noise created by school, family, sports, work and life, but please let me repeat that.
Free lift tickets.
Yes, with a CSCUSA 5th Grade Passport, your child gets one year of free skiing, totally on the house, courtesy of twenty-two Colorado ski areas and resorts and presenting sponsor Christy Sports.
Here’s how it works.
1) Go to the Colorado Ski Country USA website now (or any day this fall) and register your child.
Registration is easy. If your child attends school in Colorado, your school should have shared an application code with all 5th graders in September.
If you don’t have a code, or you live outside Colorado, upload proof of age and grade level, using a report card from last year, student ID, school schedule or a birth certificate.
2) Once you receive the passport in the mail, present it at the ticket window of any participating resort for a free one-day lift ticket.
The 5th Grade passport can be used three times at each ski area. Only Wolf Creek has blackout dates (12/27-12/31/17).
3) If your child has never skied or snowboarded before, sign up for a free First Class lesson and rental.
After applying for a passport, all eligible children will receive an email notifying them to sign up for a free lesson. Each year, about 2000 5th graders take these free lessons.
Here’s a list of the ski areas where your child can use a 5th Grade Passport: Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Cooper, Copper Mountain, Crested Butte, Echo Mountain, Eldora, Granby Ranch, Hesperus, Howelsen Hill, Loveland, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn, Purgatory, Snowmass, Steamboat, Sunlight, Telluride, Winter Park and Wolf Creek.
Among these ski areas, you’ll find some of the most well-known resorts in the world. Also among these resorts you’ll find smaller, local mountains perfect for beginners and families (and everyone else, too!).
Whether your 5th grader is an experienced rider or a never-ever, the 5th grade pass will save you money and increase your family’s wintertime fun.
Giving Every Child a Chance To Ski or Snowboard
A goal of the CSCUSA Passport program is to get kids outside, actively enjoying winter.
Similarly, presenting sponsor Christy Sports believes in the importance of introducing every Colorado child to snowsports.
“Sponsoring CSCUSA is our way of promoting our sport to the next generation of skiers and snowboarders who can develop a love for snow sports in the Colorado mountains,” explains Randy England, Director of Marketing at Christy Sports
“To grow up so close to world-class skiing and not have an opportunity to at least try skiing and snowboarding would be a great disservice to kids across the state.”
So while it’s important to help 5th graders learn to ski and ride, CSCUSA and Christy Sports recognize that it is crucial to keep the momentum going into 6th grade.
A Passport for 6th Graders, Too
The 6th Grade Passport isn’t free, but it is still an incredible deal.
If reserved before November 30, the 6th grade pass is just $105 for four days of skiing at each of the same twenty-two Colorado resorts and ski areas. After November 30, but before January 31, 2018, the cost is $125.
If your child skied all 88 days (a worthy goal!), the cost is $1.20 per lift ticket.
An easier goal might be 10 ski days, at a cost of $10.50 per ticket.
As for parents and siblings, the deals vary from season to season, but beginning in November, you can check online for Passport coupons on the CSCUSA website.
Tips for Parents, From Parents
Thousands of Colorado families have used 5th and 6th grade passports since the program began in 1996.
Here are some of their tips.
- “Use the passports as an excuse to explore Colorado.” Plan to ski mountains you’ve never skied before.
- “To save money, buy a season pass at your local mountain and take advantage of the free days at other Colorado resorts that come with your pass.” Passport coupons and CSCUSA Gem Cards with discounts at ten Colorado ski areas are other ways to save money.
- “Get a pass for your child, even if you don’t ski.” Many schools offer field trips and excursions to help kids use their passes. Also check with your child’s clubs to see if they have ski trips planned, and don’t forget to call upon friends.
- “Introduce your children’s friends to skiing and bring them along.” When our sons had passes, we enjoyed taking their friends with us.The friends had rentals and passports, so it didn’t cost us a dime.
About the Author:
Kristen Lummis is a freelance writer based in Colorado who focuses on family skiing and adventure. She blogs at.