Maine Entices Kids to the Slopes

Thanks to rolling power outages, the power goes out five or six times in my first night here. Upon meeting up with the crew and packing my bags for the last time, I head to my home for the next month: the Gulmarg Resort. Tomorrow will be my first day skiing and give me a good chance to get out and stretch my legs after traveling for two full days.

In an attempt to get children on the slopes and anxious to return, Maine has created a statewide skiing program for fifth and sixth graders.Maine, Portland, Aug. 21--In its second year, Maine prepares to launch its statewide skiing program to educate and entice children to the excitement of the slopes. The program, known as "Ski Maine for Kids," has a stated purpose to enable the development and enhancement of outdoor fitness winter programs for all Maine children and families. Ski Maine for Kids Association has recently been awarded charitable, or IRS 501c3, status.

The program features the Fifth Grade Passport. The Passport provides a season of free skiing and snowboarding to all 5th graders in Maine. Each of fifteen participating Ski Maine ski areas offers three days of free skiing or snowboarding, totaling forty-five days for the season.

"We've found that fifth grade is the best age to get these children on the mountain. They're just really receptive at this point in their lives," said Carla Marcus of Ski Maine for Kids.

In an effort to involve entire families and to keep kids skiing, the Passport also includes discounted or free lessons and rentals for Passport holders, their parents and siblings. Every fifth grader, and home-schoolee of comparable age, in the state is eligible for the program.

Another incentive to keep children coming back is the Sixth Grade SnowPass. It's only for previous Passport holders and offers discounts at Maine resorts for sixth graders and their families. "It's basically a retention program, to keep all those kids on the mountain and involved in skiing," said Carla.

Beyond the Passport and SnowPass, Ski Maine distributes skier and snowboarder safety information to all students, grades four through 12, participating in school ski recreational programs. For more information on these programs, contact Ski Maine for Kids at (207) 761-3774.