On a budget but want to get the kids skiing and/or snowboarding this season? If there’s a 5th or 6th grade student in the household, you’re in luck. Ski Utah has an offer that’s hard to refuse.  

Fifth graders can ski or snowboard for 42 days this season at 14 resorts for free. Sixth graders can get the same deal for 14 days. No strings. No deadlines. No borders. No limitations. Just give name, address, age, school, teacher and a $30 registration fee.

“Last year we gave out 8,700 Ski Utah Passports,’’ says Raelene Davis, marketing director. “We’re shooting for 10,000 this year.’’ 

There are roughly 70,000 5th and 6th grade students in Utah, “and we’d like to see each and every one of them receive a Ski Utah Passport,’’ she adds.

The objective is simple enough. That is, to give youngsters a fun winter activity, at very little cost, just 71 cents a day when accounting for the registration fee, and to spend time on the slopes with their families if parents choose to tag along.

As it stands now, 5th graders will receive three day passes at each of the 14 Utah resorts and 6th graders will receive a one day pass at each of the 14.

Along with the free passes students also receive discount coupons, which include ski or snowboard lessons, rentals and two-for-one buddy passes. The program is not limited to Utah students. The offer has been extended worldwide. 

To receive a passport, students must supply Ski Utah with the following info: student name, name of school district, teacher's name, age, birthday and address. There is a $30 registration fee if registering before Jan. 31. After that date the fee will jump to $40. The online passport application must be accompanied by a photo of the students. 

Ski Utah also is involved in a 4th grade “Learn to Ski and Ride” program. In cooperation with schools, teachers instruct students on balance, flexibility and skiing and snowboarding techniques.

“Students are taught the basics on dry land," Davis says. “Teachers will set up cones, for example, and have students run around the cones to teach balance and weight transfer. All this makes the transition onto the mountain smoother and easier. We put about 10,000 4th graders through this program each year. 

“There is a fee for this program, but if a student can’t afford the fee we give him or her a free scholarship into the program,’’ Davis says.