skiingfamily_PlattekillSki vacations conjure up dreams of Gstaad, Park City, Vermont and.. New York?

New York State actually has over 50 ski resorts, more than any other state in the United States. New York City residents can take day trips to a number of nearby ski resorts; there are also plenty of destination resorts with a wide range of winter activities.

Most exciting, New York also has a newly expanded state-wide ski free program, for kids in 3rd and 4th grade. Kids in those grades, from anywhere in the world, can get up to 3 lift tickets at participating resorts. This year, 25 New York State ski resorts offer the free ski program. Since skiing is generally a rather expensive family vacation, any chance to save money is welcome.

For third and fourth graders who haven’t skied before, there is a limited free learn to ski (or snowboard) package where kids can get a free lesson.

The ski free program requires you to get a passport in advance, which carries a $22 processing fee. And children using the free lift tickets must be accompanied by a paying adult. No sitting in the lodge while your kids hit the slopes.

Note – there are some black out dates: over the Christmas holiday, Martin Luther King weekend and President’s week.