DETROIT (CBS Detroit) Bracing for a holiday break with the kids — otherwise known as two weeks of “I’m bored?”

Then check this out.

The Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) wants to give Michigan kids an opportunity to get out, have fun and get healthy this winter, so they’ve established a statewide program providing every fourth grader in Michigan the opportunity to ski for free.

Any fourth grader can obtain a “Cold is Cool” Ski & Ride Passport that gives them up to three free lift tickets or trail passes at each of the 20 participating ski areas.

This is part of an initiative to get Michigan kids healthy during the long, cold winter. The program has been approved as an “advocate” for The President’s Challenge program, which encourages regular activity among children and adults.

“Fourth grade is the perfect age to learn to ski.  Nine- and ten-year-old kids have the coordination to pick up the sport quickly,” said Steve Kershner, MSIA chairman and director of skiing at Shanty Creek Resorts.

In order for fourth graders to use the free lift or trail pass coupons, a paying adult must accompany them.

“Our intention is to make this a fun, affordable and safe activity for the entire family,” said Mickey MacWilliams, MSIA executive director. With the Passport, up to two fourth graders can ski free with each paying adult.

For more information, or to sign up for the challenge, visit, and click on the President’s Challenge link.

Applications for the Cold is Cool Passport are sent to all Michigan schools.  Parents can also pick up the applications at participating MSIA ski shops and online.  Although the skiing is free, MSIA charges a $15 printing and shipping fee for each passport ordered.

Participating ski areas include: Alpine Valley of White Lake; Big Powderhorn in Bessemer; Blackjack Resort in Bessemer; Boyne Highlands of Harbor Springs; Boyne Mountain of Boyne Falls; Caberfae Peaks of Cadillac; Cannonsburg Ski Area of Cannonsburg; Cross Country Ski Headquarters of Roscommon; Crystal Mountain of Thompsonville; Hanson Hills of Grayling; The Homestead of Glen Arbor; Mt. Brighton of Brighton; Mt. Holiday in Traverse City; Mulligan’s Hollow of Grand Haven; Nub’s Nob of Harbor Springs; Shanty Creek Resorts of Bellaire; Snow Snake Ski & Golf of Harrison; Swiss Valley Ski Area of Jones; Timber Ridge Ski Area of Gobles; and Treetops Resort of Gaylord.  The Cold is Cool Fourth Grade Ski & Ride Passport has blackout dates at some of the participating ski areas, which are noted on the application.

For more information, call MSIA at 248-620-4448.


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