GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With the skiing and snowboarding season getting underway, officials with the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association are touting affordable programs they have to get new enthusiasts, including kids, started.
The Cold is Cool program offers fourth and fifth grade students a chance to ski or board at nearly 30 participating resorts across Michigan for the one-time cost of a $30 passport.
“That’s like the perfect age for kids to get involved in skiing,” Mickey MacWilliams, the association’s executive director, said. “They’re fearless still and they can take direction.”
In January, participating resorts will also offer a one-time lesson, equipment rental and a lift ticket to beginners of all ages for $45.
“A program to try to attract new folks into the sports of skiing and snowboarding,” Steve Kershner at Shanty Creek Resort said.
MacWilliams said outdoor recreation is a $27 billion industry in Michigan, with winter-specific actives making up almost a third of that.
“Michigan has the second most number of ski areas of any state in the country, which always surprises folks,” Kershner said.
Kershner said Michigan was the first place to introduce skiing to the United States.
“The Finnish folks, the Scandinavian folks and the Norwegian folks who came to the Upper Peninsula, mainly attracted by the mining industry, started skiing on the hills and the mountains on the peninsula,” he said.
The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association works to preserve and protect the history of skiing and snowboarding in the state.