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Taking the Kids: Having fun in the snow during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

By Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

Sometimes, that one selfie offers indisputable vacation bragging rights. My nephew, Chris Yemma, took his dad up in the Imperial Express SuperChair at Breckenridge Resort in Colorado in whiteout conditions, just so he could take a selfie atop the highest chairlift in North America. He persuaded his dad to go along, but his father wasn't a happy camper when they struggled to get down the mountain in a snowstorm.

Sure, it's great when millennial kids lead their parents in new directions. But sometimes it's a good idea to let the pros lead the way -- especially with so many enticing deals during Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. While January is the designated month, some of the offers extend all season, as long as you've purchased the packages in January, for often as low as $49 for lift, lesson and rentals. That's a real deal when you consider lift tickets alone can routinely go for twice that amount.

Whenever you are heading to the snow, the worst thing you can do is try to teach your significant other or kids to ski, offered veteran Breckenridge instructor Ben Pleimann. "Teaching your wife or kids is bound to lead to fighting," he said, and who wants that on a family vacation!

Pleimann, who has been here for more than 18 years, showed me some of this massive mountain (five huge peaks, 2,908 acres, four terrain parks, a 22-foot Superpipe, 11 bowls, some of the country's best above-tree-line terrain and plenty of family-friendly runs. There's something for all abilities, including those with special challenges at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.

Before you and the kids head to the slopes, the excitement of the upcoming Winter Olympics next month in South Korea building, check out our new Taking the Kids Winter Wow section to find out more about what resorts around the country have to offer families this winter season.

Pennsylvania makes it easy for beginners by using the Pennsylvania Ski Association to promote 19 member resorts by highlighting their bargain rates, especially in January, Learn to Ski and Snowboard month. The state welcomes local and visiting fourth- and fifth-graders ski free with a free lesson, rentals and beginner lift ticket package for a minimal processing fee. Novices from toddlers to grandparents can learn to ski with the PSAA’s First-Time Ski or Snowboard Program, which gets you a beginner lesson, beginner lift ticket and all the rentals you need at any resort for just $59. That's what we call a bargain.

January is also a great time to try a snow sport with more than 100 offers now posted at resorts in 23 states across the country. And after the holidays (with the exclusion of Martin Luther King weekend) you will typically find lodging-lift deals, too, including at Breckenridge. Breck Break, which runs January 16 through March 11, offers deals that can save you up to 30 percent on lodging.

Book a room from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31, 2018 at one of 86 participating hotels in the Salt Lake area (all relatively close to the resorts), and get two free Salt Lake Super Passes for Alta, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude for each night you book at a Salt Lake-area hotel.

During January, post that selfie of your first day learning and you might win $250 gift vouchers for lift tickets and more.

Introduce a friend to snow sports and you are eligible to win prizes during January.

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