Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month Begins Now!

Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

The excitement of skiing or riding a snowy hillside is unforgettable, especially for those new to the sport or new to winter in general. Freeing, flowing exercise that feels more like fun, skiing or snowboarding is a skill many of us want, but don’t always have the opportunity to learn. Be it financial or fear factor, introducing snowsports can be more challenging than not, so 8 years ago the industry made a change.

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month is a nationwide initiative to encourage kids and adults to learn the basics of snow sports. Non-threatening, affordable, and incredibly cool, LSSM brings together professional instructors to partner with ski areas around the country for a monthlong party on the snow. Mary Jo Tarallo, Executive Director of the organization, says since the program launched in 2009, 600,000 kids and grownups have taken to the slopes as part of coordinated, professional classes that teach proper technique, safety, all with plenty of ride time.

In 2016, 150 ski areas nationwide are participating in Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, with two of those found in Alaska. Alyeska Resort is offering a 3-lesson package with details found HERE; but our favorite little-ski-area-that-could – Eaglecrest in Juneau – has a full slate of family-friendly skiing and snowboarding options that stretch from today to the end of the month.

Here’s the full scoop:

The World’s Largest Lesson is Friday, January 8 – Eaglecrest is we are gearing up to teach for a few hours (yes, it’s a school day, but this is for Guinness Book of WORLD Records!) at 10 a.m.; at the same time all the other 149 resorts will be teaching too, making this a huge consecutive lesson around the nation! Want in? Call EC now and book your kids’ (or your) lesson today.

Eaglecrest’s 34th annual Learn to Ski Weekend for free is January 16 & 17. Sponsored by Mendenhall Auto Subaru, the weekend is for 3,4,& 5th graders who have never skied before. Applications for the event were available starting January 5 (yesterday), and youngsters have until Jan. 12 to submit applications, when the area staff will do a random drawing to choose 40 lucky kids who will win a free ride to the mountain, free lessons (all day both days), free equipment, and free lift tickets. The weekend also includes lunch, snacks and a big awards celebration on Sunday afternoon. It is one of our favorite events.

Image courtesy Eaglecrest Ski Area

Image courtesy Eaglecrest Ski Area

January 17 is Eaglecrest’s annual Learn to Adapt day. This free event (participants must have a lift ticket) gives the community an opportunity to find out more about adaptive skiing and snowboarding. Guest can even take a short adaptive lesson i.e. bi-ski, three track, or mono-ski. Important to know, even more important to respect as more and more differently-abled skiers are taking to the hills, this is a super event.

And, tah-dah! The The last weekend of January is Eaglecrest’s 40th anniversary party that will likely (weather permitting) include night skiing on Friday, January 29, a Retro Race on Jan. 30, Lesson Roll-Back Day on January 30 (prices back to what they were in 1976), and on Sunday we will have another Retro Roll-Back day for lift tickets. I won’t tell you how old I was in 1976 and that I remember ski lessons from that era….where’s my powder-blue snow suit and rainbow pom-pom hat?

Other January events include Mountain Savvy for kids ages 12-17 on Monday, January 18. This all-day workshop is designed to help kids make good decisions when skiing/riding on and off groomed terrain. Topics include boundary awareness, tree well safety, terrain choices, and the difference between in-bounds decision- making and out of bounds-decision-making.

Also weekdays in January learn to ski/snowboard packages are just $44 (normally $54). This includes lesson, lower mountain lift ticket, and equipment rental.

AK Dad and Kid head up the Porcupine lift at Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau.

AK Dad and Kid head up the Porcupine lift at Eaglecrest Ski Area in Juneau.

You can catch the entire lineup of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month fun on my KTVA 11 Daybreak segment for Travel Tuesday, right HERE. And, if you’d like to watch us in action, AK Kid and I will be at Alyeska Resort Friday morning at 10 a.m. for the World Record-Largest Lesson EVER event, just for the Guinness Book of Records. Yep.

See you on the schuss-paths!

~EK

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