As a parent, it’s always very satisfying to watch your child progress on skis from year-to-year. It seems as though kids go from learning how to buckle their boots and carry their own skis to passing you on your favorite black diamond in the blink of an eye. It’s more than just their ability level that changes over time, it’s the mental game as well. Skiing and riding builds confidence, helps kids learn to trust themselves, and gets them excited about being outside and on the mountain. The earlier you can get them started, the better.
In Colorado, there are family-friendly programs that will help keep the expense of skiing down from year to year while teaching your kiddos mad skills. Epic Mountain Gear’s Junior Trade Program and Vail Resorts’ Epic SchoolKids are two such opportunities to get your little ones geared up with equipment and passes for the whole season.
Junior Trade Program
Buying skis for kids can get costly, but with the Junior Trade Program, you can save tons of money while still ensuring your children have the gear they need. Daniel Milchev
Everyone knows how awesome it is to get new gear. Your child’s no different. Getting new skis or a new board before the season starts is a perfect way to inspire your little rippers. Getting decent gear at a good price is a great way to inspire your wallet. This is where the Junior Trade Program comes in.
The program lets you get new or used equipment for your kids based on their size and ability, then each year after, you can trade it in for new gear as your child grows and their needs change. This is not a rental program; the gear you buy, you own. Each gear package includes skis or a snowboard, boots, bindings, binding adjustment, and wax. People used to working with and fitting kids will help you choose exactly what your child needs, and make the experience fun, quick, and efficient.
Prices start at $119.99 for used gear or $219.99 for new gear. When you trade-in your child’s old gear, you’ll receive fifty percent of the original purchase price back as credit to use towards gear for the upcoming season. You can repeat this annually with no return deadlines, which means you can keep your skis for more than a year and still take advantage of the program.
Sizes run into the tweens and there’s no strict age cutoff. Our experts will let you know when your kid is ready to graduate into adult sizes. Plus, if your skiing or snowboarding prodigy has a mid-winter growth spurt, you get in-season size exchanges for free. It saves you a ton of money.
Even better still is that your children will benefit from the pride and consistency of learning on their own equipment that they get to decorate and individualize to suit their mountain kid personalities.
This year, the Junior Trade Program will be safer and easier with appointment slots for you and your kiddos. Once you sign up and get their gear, you’re guaranteed to see the sparkle in their eyes as they carry out their brand-new or new-to-them skis or board to the car.
Free lessons, free rentals, free skiing? Oh my! © Vail Resorts
Now that gear is covered, it’s time to decide on a ski pass. For kids, it’s a no-brainer. Epic Pass, offered by Vail Resorts, makes it easy and free with the Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack. Designed for children in Kindergarten through fifth grade, this pass gives participants 20 days of free skiing and riding every year—four days each at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Crested Butte.
This comes with no gimmicks and no strings attached, simply free snow-sliding for the fun of it. The pass does have some blackout dates so be sure to check those out before planning your ski getaway.
First-time skiers and riders also get one free introductory lesson with free equipment rental. Start enrollment here for Epic SchoolKids.
As your kids get started in these programs it’s important to remember that the main goal here is for them to have fun and develop a love for skiing and riding. The following tips will help keep them smiling from the first time they strap in to last chair of the season.
While kids often develop skiing and riding proficiency faster than their parents (sorry mom and dad), they still benefit from a positive introduction to new things. © Vail Resorts
- Introduce kids to their equipment prior to the lesson. Put them in their gear and have them wear it around the house and move around on snow if possible.
- Pack the essentials every time you head to the mountain. Bring equipment that fits appropriately, including warm, waterproof gloves or mittens; a helmet; goggles; warm, waterproof jacket; waterproof snow pants; warm socks, ideally a single layer, non-cotton sock; and a snack, such as a granola bar, to put in their pocket. You can grab all of these essentials at Epic Mountain Gear when you sign up for the Junior Trade Program.
- Be patient–developing skills takes time.
- Most importantly, have fun!
These programs provide such a great opportunity for you to affordably get (and keep) your children skiing and riding. Time on the mountain is precious and sure to reap big smiles. Don’t wait another minute, get your kiddos signed up for mountain fun today.
Written by Allison Pattillo for Matcha in partnership with Rent Skis.