Perhaps you unwrapped your first pair of skis this Christmas or received that snowboard you've been eyeing all fall. Now it's time to get out on the slopes, jump through the beginner's hoops, and make skiing or snowboarding old hat. Take part in special learn to ski/ride packages at Colorado's Gems ski areas throughout the state. These resorts are some of the best places to make your first turns.

[R20R, Arapahoe Basin] offers Super Sundays. The resort will offer a $70 package that includes a half-day lesson, access to the beginner lift, and rental equipment for the day for first-time skiers and snowboarders. The lesson is available each Sunday in January.

[R1673R, Echo Mountain] has introduced the Lil' Rippers Snowboard Experience. Geared toward Echo's aged 5-7 riders, this new program is designed to create a positive introduction to snowboarding. Lil' rippers can progress their skills even further through Echo's multi-week "Mini-Mountaineers" program. Designed for skiers 4-5 and snowboarders age 5, these fun classes are catered to children's comfort level, physical development, and attention span. Three-week sessions are $105, and equipment rental can be added for $60. January sessions begin Monday, Jan. 3, and reservations are strongly recommended.

[R143R, Eldora] offers children and adult packages for beginners. For those 13 and over, the First-Timers Ski/Snowboard Package is $109, and includes a four-hour group lesson, rental equipment, and a Little Hawk Mountain lift ticket. For children ages 4-12, the resort has its Mountain Explorer Ski/Snowboard Package, also for $109. This is for children of all ability levels, and is a full day that includes a four-hour group lesson, rental equipment, lift ticket, supervised lunch, and snacks.

[R240R, Monarch Mountain] offers three different deals for first-time skiers and snowboarders over the age of seven. Ages 7-12 can take advantage of the All Day Alpine Ski or Snowboard Introductory Package, which includes an all day lift ticket, equipment and helmet rental, snack, supervised lunch, and 5.5 hours of group instruction for $160 with a CSCUSA coupon. The 13 and over Alpine Ski or Snowboard Introductory Package is $114 for a CSCUSA coupon holder, and includes an all day lift ticket, equipment rental, and 3.5 hours of group instruction.

Monarch offers a two-hour private lesson for $180 for CSCUSA coupon holders for anyone over the age of three. This includes two hours of private alpine, snowboard, or telemark instruction for one or two people (ages seven and over for two-person lessons). If skiers and riders aren't making it to the chairlift after 3.5 hours, the next lesson is on Monarch.

The Learn to Ride Program at [R329R, Powderhorn] is for first-time skiers and snowboarders. For $350, fun and professional instructors take skiers and riders for three full-day lessons, which include the lessons, rentals, and lift tickets. After completion of all three sessions a free season pass is awarded.

[R365R, SolVista Basin] Ride School incorporates a gentle beginner hill with four Progression Terrain Parks as the perfect environment for connecting turns and learning jumps. Beginners who complete two ski or snowboarding lesson packages graduate with a complementary "Get On The Snow" season pass to SolVista Basin for the remainder of the season as well as a 20 percent discount coupon valid for a retail merchandise purchase.

[R511R, Wolf Creek] offers two packages for beginners: 1st Day Beginner Package, and 2nd Day Beginner Package. The 1st Day Beginner Package includes four hours of group lessons, and a lift ticket to the resort's beginner Nova Lift. Skiing is $52, and snowboarding is $62. The 2nd Day Beginner Package includes two hours of group lessons, and a lift ticket valid for the Nova and Raven Lifts, servicing all of the beginner terrain and most of the intermediate terrain. After the two hours of instruction, students have the rest of the day to practice the lessons they have learned. Skiing is $63 and snowboarding is $73.

Stomp out your New Year's revolution in a hurry, and take advantage of Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month in Colorado.

More Information: Arapahoe Basin; Echo Mountain; Eldora; Monarch Mountain; Powderhorn; SolVista Basin; Wolf Creek.

You may also want to read Roger Leo's featured story on National Learn To Ski & Snowboard Month and browse the Beginners Guide.