The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) wants to give Michigan kids an opportunity to get out, have fun, and get healthy this winter. MSIA also introduces kids to the sports of skiing and snowboarding, which they hope will become a lifelong activity.   

The Cold is Cool program, endorsed by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, allows fourth grade students to obtain a Ski & Ride Passport that gives them up to three free lift tickets at 22 statewide participating ski areas.  A caveat is that the student has to be accompanied by a paying adult.  There is also a $15 printing and shipping fee for each passport ordered. 

"We feel that fourth graders should be supervised by an adult while on the slopes and trails.  Our intention is to make this a fun, affordable activity for the entire family," says MSIA Executive Director Mickey MacWilliams.  Up to two fourth graders can ski free with each adult. 

Michigan elementary and middle school principals have received a Cold is Cool packet with application forms for the fourth grade Passport.  You also can visit MSIA's Web site for an application, or pick up one at participating MSIA ski shops.  A list of those is available at the Web site.

Many of the state's largest ski areas and resorts are participating with the program.  Boyne Mountain and Highlands, Crystal Mountain, Nubs Nob, and Shanty Creek in the Lower Peninsula, and Big Powderhorn and Marquette Mountain in the Upper Peninsula are just a few of the participating areas.  It's a great program, and a great age to learn a new sport.