January is Learn to Ski or Snowboard Month, and hundreds of areas across North America, including some in Maine, are offering free or reduced-price beginner packages, according to the website onthesnow.com.
Some resorts have set aside a number of free lessons on certain days in January. Others are honoring reduced-price coupons all month long.
The program, says the website, “is a good deal for people who have wanted to try skiing or snowboarding, and it’s crucial for the future of the snowsports industry.”
Sunday River in Bethel, for example, is offering special Learn to Ski or Snowboard programs for adults through Jan. 31. More information is available at www.skimaine.com.
According to onthesnow.com, Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association, a principal sponsor of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, said the snowsports industry faces a dire demographics problem and the program is an important way to solve it.
“Demographics studies show the baby boomers, a key part of the snowsports economy, are starting to reach the end of their active lives, and are thinking more in terms of a warm beach in winter than snow-covered slopes. That creates a challenge, Berry has said repeatedly over the last few years, where resorts must recruit and retain new skiers and snowboarders,” wrote the website.
“Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month gives that effort focus, it really keeps it as a priority, and that’s why we’re happy to support it,” Berry told the website.