The new "StartNOW"program at Park City Mountain Resort targeting first-time skiers and riders, offers participants five days of instruction, equipment rentals, and lift access for $25 per day. Yes, you read right. $25 per day. Serious props to PCMR and Powdr Corp. for taking a huge step toward growing our sport.

Research done by both the National Ski Areas Association and PCMR's own ski school looked at ski industry growth over the past 10 years and determined it was destined to die a horrible death as boomers aged unless they did something about it.

"Powdr Corp. started looking at this info- especially after last year- and looked at where we had an opportunity to grow," said PCMR Communications Manager Meisha Lawson. "We're good with destination visitors but not with people in our backyard."

"Research shows that a low percentage of Utah residents participate in snowsports," added Tom Pettigrew, director of skier services for Park City Mountain Resort. Locals are scared of the price (a non-holiday, all-day ticket at PCMR is $85, a half-day lesson is $90) and of getting hurt. Take a lesson and you won't be scared. Sign up for StartNOW and you won't be broke."

The program was developed to increase the number of people who become lifelong skiers and riders. The research showed a person needs to participate in winter sports five times to be a convert- not just once.

StartNOW is open to Utah residents, ages six and up. You have to be a 'never-ever' and register for your lesson online. Experienced skiers can also take advantage if they want to learn to snowboard (and vice versa). You're still a beginner when you learn something new. Careful not to pretend you're a newbie when you're not however. Lawson said the instructor would have the power to cancel your bounceback. "Our target is the family that doesn't have the means and just hasn't tried to ski yet," said Lawson.

Your first day includes an afternoon ski or snowboard lesson, rentals through the shop in the Legacy Lodge and an all-day, all-mountain lift ticket. $25. Your class has a cap of five students per instructor which means you get personalized attention and a better on-mountain experience than if you went up on your own or were crammed into a class of eight.

Participants are invited to return to the resort up to four additional times during the 2009-10 winter season after they complete the first StartNOW lesson. When you return your rentals on the first day, you'll get a "media card" assigned to your credit card. All you have to do for the next four visits is show up at the shop for your gear (with 24-hour advance reservations), show your StartNOW pass, and you're good to go.

Your card is automatically charged. $25. If you don't need rentals, you can head straight to the lifts. $25. If you want to take a lesson, you will need to make a reservation 24 hours in advance. Those are half-day afternoon ones and based on availability. Again, you'll get lifts, lesson and rentals (or any combination of those three) for $25 total for four more times.

The program runs through the end of the season with blackout dates from Dec. 18, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2010 and Feb. 13-20, 2010. 

For information or call 800-545-8112