First-times skiers and snowboarders visiting Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vt., through Dec. 24 are invited to take part in a learn-to-ski or learn-to-snowboard program at no cost.

Okemo's Learn-to Ski/Snowboard Free Program is designed to generate excitement for snow sports and encourage trial at the start of the winter season.

"About 1,500 people learn how to ski or snowboard through this program every year, and we're expecting to introduce more beginners to snowsports this year," Okemo Ski and Ride School Director Dan Bergeron said. "There's no time like early season, to try skiing or snowboarding for the first time."

Okemo's beginner package includes a free combination lower-mountain lift ticket, a free Level 1 beginner group lesson at 10 a.m. or 1:30 p.m., and free special introductory level rental equipment (skis, boots, poles, or boots and snowboard). The Learn to Ski or Snowboard Free Program is available for ages 7 and up, at no charge every day through Friday, Dec. 24.

The Free Learn-to-Ski/Snowboard program also will run all season long, as part of Okemo's Midweek Madness Ski and Stay Package, for guests staying multiple nights in an Okemo-managed lodging property.

Reservations are encouraged. Those without reservations may participate on a space-available basis. Program attendees should plan to arrive at the Okemo Express Rental Shop, located in the Okemo Clock Tower base area, about an hour before lesson time. This allows time for program registration and equipment fitting. Although free of charge, a beginner-package ticket is required to participate and a credit card deposit is required for rental equipment.

More information. Or call 802-228-1600.