If you've been thinking about taking up skiing or snowboarding in 2011, there's no time like the present. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org), when more than 300 participating ski resorts have specials on lessons and beginner programs. Many of these specials include free and discounted lessons for all ages and skill levels.
It's easy to classify yourself as a non-skier, but there's always time to learn. (I'm a Colorado native, but I didn't learn to ski until I was in my early 30s.) As you strap on a pair of skis or a snowboard for the very first time, remember: gravity is your friend. Or at least it should be.
Ski Deals From Around the West
Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico
Mammoth Mountain, California
Mammoth is offering a terrific "Midweek Madness" deal for the month of January: slopeside ski-and-stay packages starting at $99 per person per night, with a three-night minimum. On the weekends, comparable packages (including lift tickets and lodging) start around $129 with a two-night minimum.
Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort, Oregon
Among the deals at Mt. Bachelor is a three-night ski-and-stay package at Mt. Bachelor Village for $537 for two people, or under $90 per person per night. It also pays to arrive early. Your Alaska/Horizon boarding pass is good for one free adult lift ticket on the day you touch down in Bend.
Sun Valley, Idaho
The Gem State's preeminent resort, Sun Valley, is offering a ski-and-stay package with no minimum that starts at $129 per person per night, available from the new year until spring break. For Nordic skiers, a package including a day pass and lodging starts at just $74 per person based on double occupancy. And kids ski free on Baldy and Dollar mountains for the rest of the season, excluding February 18-28. One child's lift ticket is offered per paying adult.
Sunshine Village Ski & Snowboard Resort, Alberta
Located in Banff National Park, Sunshine Village is offering a nice New Year's deal: C$143 per person per night gets you a room at Sunshine Mountain Lodge, Banff's only ski-in, ski-out hotel. You also get lift tickets and a $50 gift card as a reward for every night stayed, usable at any restaurant, shop, or service on the slopes.
Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana
Whitefish has a pair of new ski deals for 2011: The January White Sale offers a free day of lifts and lodging if you buy two or three days/nights through the end of January, as well as a midweek special at the budget Hibernation House: $75 per person nets you lift tickets and lodging on Sunday through Thursday nights through the end of the ski season (except February 18-20), based on double occupancy. As far as getting there, Amtrak is offering 20 percent off fares to one of the only railroad-accessible ski towns in the West, but you must book by Feb. 13.
Brian Head Resort, Utah
Utah's southernmost resort, Brian Head Resort, is offering a midweek coupon for a $30 lift ticket during non-holiday periods through the end of the season. Another unique deal is the "Vegas Shred & Bed" package, offering a room at the Westin Casuarina Las Vegas (a three-hour drive from Brian Head) and lift tickets starting at $164 per night.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Winter Sport Forum.