Tired of making resolutions that never stick? Here's our secret: make them snowy! This New Year's, ditch those cliché goals for getting organized or cleaning out the attic and make 2015 all about snow to avoid another year of #ResolutionFail.
1. Learn to Ski or Ride
The New Year is the perfect time to pick up a new sport and try sliding on snow for the very first time. And since January is national Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month—a month-long initiative where ski associations and resorts offer special discounts to first-timers of all ages —there's hardly an excuse for not trying it out.
In the Northeast, the Vermont Ski Area's Association and Ski New Hampshire pairs up with their local resorts to offer a deeply discounted beginner package including lesson, lift ticket and rental equipment. Packages are valid all month long (except during holidays) at dozens of resorts from Stratton to Bretton Woods.
Throughout New England, handfuls of resorts offer their own learning packages with instruction available for different skill levels and disciplines (ski, snowboard, telemark).
In New York, I SKI NY hosts Discover NY Ski Day on January 8. Discounted one-day lift tickets and lesson vouchers can be purchased online and redeemed at participating resorts statewide.
Future ambassadors of snow in the making!
Copyright: Smugglers' Notch
Downeast, Pennsylvania's Shawnee Mountain hosts a one-day, ultra-discounted learn to ski or snowboard promotion on January 6, with proceeds benefiting a local charity. For the remainder of the month, discounted beginner pacakges are offered daily. Other Mid-Atlantic resorts, like Seven Springs offer progressive first time experience packages with 45 minute to 1 hour instruction to get you sliding, stopping and turning by day's end. North Carolina's Beech Mountain Resort turns the learning experience into a mini-getaway with their Skiing 101 package—complete with one night’s lodging, equipment rental, helmet rental, full-day lift ticket and a beginner ski or snowboard lesson for a complete introduction to the mountain lifestyle.
This year, the Midwest Ski Areas Association have banded Michigan resorts together to offer "Discover Michigan Skiing," a cheap, beginner learning package honored at 24 ski areas across the state January 2-31, 2015. It's even possible to find free beginner lessons at Ski Brule after January 9 (reservations required) and every Sunday in January at Snow Snake.
Colorado's Powderhorn resort offers a three-day beginner program that adds the value of progression over mutli-day instruction. Newbies "graduate" from the program with a 50 percent coupon to use on future lessons, lift tickets and rentals. Granby Ranch's Get on the Snow season pass is granted to beginners who complete two ski or snowboard lesson days. The Copper Mountain ski and ride school also offers a free season pass to help beginners keep progressing and exploring their terrain through the remainder of the season.
Check with your local mountain to find out how they're celebrating Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.
Isn't it time you treated yourself to a new set of sticks?
Copyright: Shawnee Mountain
2. Bring a Friend
If you're already a corduroy cruiser or a double-diamond daredevil—and as valued OnTheSnow visitors, you probably are—then share your love for snow by getting a friend involved in the sport. From December 1-February 28, we (the snow sports industry) challenge you to become an ambassador of snow sports and bring a friend along. Similar to many Learn to Ski and Snowboard incentives at resorts, the Bring a Friend iniative has offers for not only beginners breaking into the sport, but the friends responsible for getting them onto the hill.
According to an online poll on skiandsnowboardmonth.org, more than 30 percent of first-time skiers and riders are introduced to the sport by a friend. So if not for sake of seeing your friend grin from ear to ear when they make it down the bunny slope, there are loads of benefits and perks to be had just for being a pal. Score yourself some free lift tickets and other goodies by doing your friend, and the sport, a solid.
Help multiple friends to get into the sport and you could even be named the Amassador of the Year! And that's more than just a title... the grand prize includes a season pass to a selected venue for 2015/16, plus gear from The North Face, Zeal and other top brands. You'll thank yourself for crossing this resolution off the list.
Start the new year with a new set of sticks.
3. Update Your Quiver
Short of an epic powder day, there are few things that make skiers and riders giggle with delight like new gear. Isn't it time you treated yourself to those new twin tips you've been eyeing? Maybe you've been debating going full rocker or you've been saying that old helmet's got "one more season in it" for the past half-decade. With the holidays gone by, now's the perfect time for a little guilt-free pampering. New gear won't make you a better skier or rider, but you'll sure look and feel better doing it.
We've taken the guesswork out of your next gear upgrade with our faves. Have a look at our 2015 Editors' Choice roundups:
Our 41 Favorite Skis
From Frontside carvers and All-Mountain Front/All-Mountain Back versatility machines to Powder slayers, this is the best of what your favorite ski brands have to offer.
The Best Gear & Outerwear Out There
Bags and bibs. Goggles and gloves. You name it, we tested it–and only this handful stood out, earning the prestigious OnTheSnow Editors' Choice badge.