January is learn to ski and snowboard month!

Ever wanted to strap on a pair of skis and hit the slopes, but don’t have the necessary skills to survive a single trip down the hill? Well, you’re in luck, as January has been declared learn to ski and snowboard month with dozens of resorts across the country offering discounted, or even free, lessons in hopes of attracing newbies during a traditionally slow time for the industry.

The official website for Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month has plenty of information for those looking to participate. For instance, the site offers guides on how to get started in both alpine skiing and snowboarding, as well as information on how to dress and what equipment you’ll be using while on the slopes. There is even a section just for kids and they’re also giving away a set of skis courtesy of Head Ski Company.

Best off all, if you’re wondering where you can go to take part in this month-long event, the site includes a list of places that are participating. With resorts in more than 30 states taking part in Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, you’re bound to find a destination not far from where you live. To see a list of those sites simply click here.

The post holiday period is often a slow one for ski resorts across the country. Many travelers have time off during the week between Christmas and New Years Day and they often spend time on the slopes to take advantage of that break. This event is one way to drum up some business during that down time while also introducing people to the sport for the first time. If you’re looking for something to do during the month of January, and sitting inside isn’t an option, then why not hit the slopes? With the option for free lessons, you’re starting to run out of excuses.

[Photo credit: Ripley119 via WikiMedia]

First heated ski lift in the U.S. opens in Utah

Skiers and snowboarders headed to the Canyons Ski Resort, located in Park City, Utah, will find a very pleasant surprise when they hit the slopes this weekend. The resort, which is the largest in the state, opened the first heated ski lift in all of North America yesterday, providing a more comfortable experience for visitors.

The new lift features heated seats and an enclosing bubble to help keep the elements at bay while making the nine-minute trip from the Grand Summit Hotel to the top of Lookout Peak. The protective bubble is orange in hue and designed to evoke a feeling of being inside a pair of ski goggles, which will be greatly appreciated when the snow starts flying. The lift should allow for more time on the slopes as well, as rather than heading to the lodge for a little warmth, you can get a respite from the cold weather while heading back up the mountain.

The “Orange Bubble Express” isn’t the only improvement that the Canyons has introduced for the new ski season. They’ve also opened a new base area, dubbed “Ski Beach,” where guests can sit around fire pits on sun lounges while enjoying a variety of tasty food from nearby kiosks. The resort has also built a new 1.1-mile long terrain park, with over 50 features, that snowboarders are going to love, and added a quad-lift and direct access gondola, amongst various other improvements.

With 182 trails, spread out over 4000 skiable acres, the Canyons is one of the top ski destinations in all of North America. It also features five fantastic lodges to stay in, including the newly opened Waldorf Astoria, and has plenty of amazing places to dine as well. If you’re looking for a great destination where you can play in the snow this winter, then the Canyons should be at the top of your list.

[Photo credit: The Canyons]

Tahoe gets 8 feet of snow in time for Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving weekend is often considered the unofficial start to ski season. Sure, plenty of resorts open up well before the holiday, but with lots of people traveling across the country this weekend, many will head to the slopes on the post-turkey day weekend for a little early-winter fun.

Those going in search of spectacular snow over the next few days should look no further than the Lake Tahoe region, where early season storms have already dumped more than 8 feet of of the white stuff on local resorts. Recent weather patterns have been more reminiscent of those that occur in late December, and as a result, conditions on the slopes are more like mid-winter than mid-fall.

The long range forecasts indicate that this early season snow isn’t likely to be an anomaly either. In fact, the Northern Sierra Nevada mountains are expecting to get higher than normal snow falls again this year, perhaps even topping last season’s 600 inches. That should earn Lake Tahoe a spot on any skier or snowboarders destination list in the months ahead.

With all this snow in the forecast, the Sierra at Tahoe resort is expecting plenty of visitors this year. But they are also trying to make it as easy as possible for beginners to join in on the outdoor fun too. With that in mind, they will be offering a Learn to Ski/Ride Package for new skiers and boarders. The package is available December 18 – January 1, January 15-17, and February 21-27, and includes a limited access lift ticket for the beginner park, all of your gear rental, and a 2.5 hour first-time lesson, for just $35.

For other great deals and options for skiing the Tahoe region, check out SkiLakeTahoe.com.

[Photo credit: Charles J Sharp via WikiMedia]

Winter Park offers free lift tickets for early ski season

The calendar may say that winter is still two months off, but the snow is already falling at Winter Park Resort, located an hours drive northwest of Denver, Colorado. Last week, the resort received more than 10 inches of snow on the mountain, and they are already gearing up for a great ski season ahead.

A few days back Winter Park announced their “Ski and Ride FREE” promotion, which gives visitors the opportunity to earn free lift tickets for the early ski season. The deal includes one free lift ticket for each nights stay booked at the lodge between November 17 and December 25 of this year, with a minimum of two nights required. This means that skiers and snowboarders who visit Winter Park during that period can not only take advantage of their already affordable room rates, they’ll also get to hit the slopes on the cheap as well.

Winter Park Resort offers access to three mountain peaks – Mary Jane, Vasquez Ridge, and Winter Park, under a single lift ticket, and with 134 total runs, a Superpipe, and 25 different lifts, the snow park has something to offer everyone. While the slopes are geared more for the intermediate and advanced skiers, beginners will find plenty of great trails as well. The more adventurous and experienced skiers will want to try the guided backcountry skiing option, which offers pristine snow that is only accessible by Snowcat. So, whether you’re just learning to shred or you’re an old ski bum, you’ll find plenty love in Winter Park.

The 2010 ski season at Winter Park Resort opens November 17th and season passes can be purchased now by clicking here.

Document your vacation with RockResorts “Three for Free” promotion

With the slumping economy and decline in hotel occupancy rates, lots of hotels and resorts are offering deals that allow you stay for free after you pay for a certain number of nights. But not many resorts are throwing in a free “adventure cam” to use during your stay.

RockResorts, which operates properties in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and St. Lucia, is offering a “Three for Free” promotion that goes above and beyond the standard package deal. The minimum stay at each resort varies (ranging from 3-6 nights) and dates of validity vary through April depending on which of the 12 resorts you choose, but at each one you’ll receive: one free night’s stay, a $50 gift card or resort credit, and a free Adventure Eye Video Systems action/ helmet camcorder to make a movie off all the fun you have during your stay.

As an added bonus, those who actually use the camera to record themselves out and about on the property can enter their movie into a contest to win free Epic Passes for the 2010-2011 season. The passes allow unlimited skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado.

To take advantage of the promotion, rooms must be booked by January 31.

[via La Times]