Tweens ski for free in Idaho

Got a fifth- or sixth-grader? It might be time to try skiing.

Ski areas across the country know they need to hook kids on skiing early to create customers who will return to their resorts again and again over a lifetime. So ski destinations, including the resorts in Idaho, offer free skiing for kids in late elementary grades.

Idaho ski resorts allow fifth-graders to ski free three times and sixth-graders to ski free two times. Depending on where you ski and when, that deal could save you as much as $70 a day. Fill out the application at now-the deal is not available once you arrive in Idaho and it takes at least two weeks for the pass to be delivered. There’s a $20 processing fee, but most resorts include deals on equipment rentals and specials for parents and siblings.

The kids’ ski free deal is available at most of the state’s 18 ski areas (see the website for the full list), including the state’s premier resort, Sun Valley.

This gorgeous resort is not for those afraid of heights or prone to altitude sickness. Its peaks rise to 9,150 feet with a vertical drop of 3,400 feet. The longest of its 80 runs stretches 1.2 miles. The views-from the ski runs as well as the gondola and lodge-are breathtaking.

When you’re done skiing, head to the Sun Valley Lodge bowling alley. The 1950s-style six-lane bowling alley is one of the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. Or, if it’s snowing, head to one of the heated outdoor pools for a swim. Few things are quite as fun as swimming when snowflakes start falling.

Deals at the Sun Valley Lodge this winter include a $139 per person rate for lodging and skiing from Jan. 3-March 31 and a $79.50 per person rate after April 1.

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