The ski areas want you and the kids to visit and they're offering some screaming deals to get you there. It's what you need during these difficult economic times.

Aspen has a promotion that is impressive. It's in conjunction with Frontier Airlines which just started flying into the [R25R, Aspen]/[R406R, Snowmass] area. Buy two plane tickets on Frontier and one is free (buy four tickets and two are free, and so on). Then book a four-day, four-night package in conjunction with the flight, and get a fifth day of lodging and a fifth day of skiing free for everyone in the group.

Rentals are the same, with the fifth day free at Four Mountain Sports. There are shops throughout the area, and at all four Aspen-owned mountains of Aspen, Snowmass, [R92R, Buttermilk], and [R24R, Aspen Highlands].

Jeff Hanle with the resort says it's the best deal they've had in years. "For a family to come out here, this makes the most affordable trip to Aspen/Snowmass in the 20 years I've lived here." There are no blackout dates and it's good through the season with a variety of lodging with budget options to the top end at the St. Regis, to slopeside condos at Snowmass.

Packages can be booked through Stay Aspen Snowmass by calling 800-214-7669.

They call it "Family Bonding on a Budget at its Best!" at Sun Valley, Idaho. Kids ages two to 11 can fly free on Horizon Air with non-stop flights from Los Angeles and Seattle to [R440R, Sun Valley]/Ketchum. The flights are free if families book a qualifying lodging package and travel during March.

Kids 15 and under can also ski and stay free in a participating Wood River Valley lodging property and eat free at seven different restaurants throughout the area. Kids have to pick up a "Kids Eat Free" voucher at the participating lodging property.

The numbers to call for information are 877-359-4674 or 800-525-SKIS (7547).

[R113R, Copper Mountain] in Colorado is offering family activities along with family deals to get you there. You save 20 percent on lodging when you stay four nights. Different rates and room types are available. Another option is the Freedom Package. When you book four nights and an adult buys a four-day lift ticket, a child can ski and stay for free. The number to call is 866-841-2481, extension 8.

The fun activities include the Family & Friends private lessons, where you can take a lesson with your whole gang. It's good for four to six people The number to call is 866-464-4432.

Kids will love the new Woodward at Copper ski and snowboard training facility that should be open any day. It's another option especially for the teenagers. More information is available at 970-968-3400.

The other family fun entertainment is Copper's tubing hill in the East Village, at the base of the Super Bee Chairlift. Copper's tubing hill could very well be the best in the state and it's an absolute riot for everyone in the family. Kids will love watching mom scream like a banshee as she goes warp speed down the tubing track. Copper's tubing hill is divided into five lanes, with different speeds. You can all hook on to each other or ride individually. Visit any Guest Services location to sign up. This is something you don't want to miss.

[R395R, Smugglers' Notch] in Vermont has the coolest looking room I've ever seen. As my teenage son would say, "It's sick and I'm down with it." It's called the FunZone Family Entertainment and Recreation Center, and it's next to the Nordic Center. This place has slides, an obstacle course, air jumps, a fun house, ping pong tables, a kid wall, and a runt run (whatever that is). The whole family will love this place.

Smugglers' Notch also offers the FamilyFest Program. Options include All-Day Ski or Snowboard Camp with rentals and races. The Children's FunFeast is every Tuesday with Make-Your-Own Sundaes ice cream and a pizza party. It's all part of the Club Smugglers' Advantage Package, which includes lodging, lift tickets, lessons, and other fun. Details are available by calling 800-419-4615.

Finally, at [R120R, Crested Butte], all skiers and riders flying into town on Delta Air Lines via Salt Lake City will receive free lift tickets. Kids ages 7-12 ski free when staying at any Crested Butte Mountain Resort Properties condominiums. Call 800-600-2803 for details.