[R293R, Nashoba Valley Ski Area] in Westford, Mass. has put together packages for newcomers to winter sports.

The packages at Nashoba cost $55 and include boots, skis, and poles for skier wannabes, and boots and snowboard for newcomers yearning to learn to ride. They also include lift ticket and lesson.

[R488R, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area] in Princeton , Mass. has a deal for never-evers who want to learn skiing or riding. The area offers various packages, including one-day, two-day, and three-day series of lessons, lift ticket, and rental gear.

The three-day package has an extra attraction. It's this: Sign up (and take) a $199 package of three lessons for either sport and, at the end of the lessons, receive a Bronze Century Pass good for skiing or riding the rest of the season.

Bruce McDonald of Wachusett points out the pass alone would cost $199, so it's a pretty good deal.

McDonald says there are fundamental differences between learning to ski and snowboard, and sums them up thus: "Skiing is easy to learn and hard to master; there are six points of contact with the snow, four edges and two poles. Snowboarding is hard to learn but easy to master, as there are only two points of contact with the snow - the two edges of the board."

More information: Nashoba; Wachusett.