MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Bargains for beginners

Free or cut-rate ski and snowboard packages make it easy to learn.

A skier and snowboarder on a chairlift.

© Torsten Muller

When youíre a beginning skier, itís nice to catch a break.

Alpine ski areas want to foster lifelong skiers and snowboarders, so most offer great deals to first-timers. Places are limited, so reserve in advance.

At Trollhaugen in western Wisconsin, adults who buy lift ticket and rental get a free beginner's lesson any time. And for $136, first-time skiers or snowboarders age 13 and over get three lessons in January, either Sundays or Tuesdays, plus rentals and lift tickets, plus a free lift ticket for the rest of the season.

In Duluth, Minn., Spirit Mountain offers Sunday Super Savers on some afternoons: $15 lift, $15 rental and free lesson. Buy in advance; quantities are limited.

Tyrol Basin near Madison offers free group lessons to beginners with purchase of lift ticket and rental. 

At Christie Mountain near Rice Lake, Wis., beginner ski and snowboard lessons are $5, and refresher lessons are $10.  

In Minnesota, fourth-graders get a pass with two free lift tickets to each member of the Minnesota Ski Areas Association for $34.95.

Fourth- and fifth-graders in Michigan also get a great deal. With a "Cold Is Cool'' Ski & Ride Passport, they get up to three free lift tickets at 30 resorts and pay just $20. 

And every beginning skier age 7 and older, or snowboarder age 10 or older, can use a Discover Michigan Skiing voucher to get a skiing or snowboarding package of lesson, equipment rental and lift ticket for $35.

A cross-country package is $20. The vouchers are good at 27 ski areas in January.

In Wisconsin, the last week of January is Learn to Ski or Snowboard Week, when 17 ski areas offer a $29 lift, rental and lesson package.

Nearly every ski area offers steep discounts on beginner packages. Look under "Lessons'' on web sites.

For more about learning to ski or snowboard, see Class on the slopes.

For a list of ski resorts in the Upper Midwest, see Fun in the fast lane.

Last updated on January 30, 2020