Children hit the slopes

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette Lindsay Jenson helps bundle up her 4-year-old daughter, Willow, before the start of the Mont Ripley Christmas Ski School in December 2013. Mont Ripley is participating in two promotions sponsored by the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, including Cold is Cool, which is aimed at children in fourth and fifth grades.

HANCOCK — Winter is snow recreation time in Michigan, and the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association is conducting promotions to get more people on the ski slopes, including children.

The Clarkston, Michigan-based MSIA is providing a “Cold is Cool” Ski & Ride passport for fourth- and fifth-grade students for the 2016-17 ski season. The passports can be purchased at participating McDonald’s Restaurants and ski hills.

Nick Sirdenis, general manager of Michigan Technological University’s Mont Ripley ski hill in Ripley, said in order to take part in the promotion, a child’s parents must provide a child’s latest report card or progress report. There is $20 fee to cover printing, postage and processing. The passports can be purchased at participating McDonald’s restaurants or participating ski hills. They can be purchased, also, online at goskimichigan.org.

Sirdenis said the passports are a good way to get children to the slopes.

“Each kid can get three lift tickets,” he said.

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette Children participate in the Mont Ripley Christmas Ski School in December 2013. Mont Ripley is participating in two promotions sponsored by the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, including Cold is Cool, which is aimed at children in fourth and fifth grades.

With the passport, a child can get coupons for lessons and a $20 discount for the purchase of $100 worth of items, and a helmet discount to use at participating ski shops.

Sirdenis said a child using the passport can ski for free with a paying adult.

Mont Ripley has been participating in the “Cold is Cool” promotion for a few years, but it hasn’t really become popular, yet.

“There (were) a few last year, but none this year,” he said.

Sirdenis said he thinks that might be because of the relatively small population in the Upper Peninsula compared to ski slopes near larger population centers downstate.

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette A child enjoys the winter weather via snowboard. Mont Ripley is participating in two promotions sponsored by the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association, including Cold is Cool, which is aimed at children in fourth and fifth grades.

Another promotion Mont Ripley is currently involved with is Ski the Ripley, which is part of the MSIA Discover Michigan Skiing promotion. It allows participants to get ski rentals, a one and a half hour ski or snowboarding lesson, and a lift ticket for $35 rather than the normal $60.

Sirdenis said the MSIA-promoted $269 White Gold Card, which allows card holders to ski once at each participating ski hill for the 2016-17 ski season. They also get on complementary ski or snowboard tune up, three hot-wax sessions and $20 off a purchase of $100 at participating retailers.

“It’s a season pass for all the hills that participate,” he said.

Some people do a pilgrimage to use the White Gold Cards, Sirdenis said.

“They drive around the state,” he said.

Mickey MacWilliams, executive director of the MSIA, said the White Gold Card was initiated when the organization formed as a fundraiser.

“That is our primary funding source,” she said.

The Cold is Cool promotion began about 15 years ago as a way to get children active in the winter, MacWilliams said.

“It’s just awful when they sit inside when we have this great winter wonder land,” she said.

There are 300 MSIA members, McWilliams said, including ski areas, ski shops and manufacturers’ representatives. There are 30 members participating in the Cold is Cool promotion , and 35 members participating in the White Gold Card promotion, for which only 400 cards are printed each ski season.

“They have been selling out every year,” she said.

MacWilliams said the Discover Michigan Skiing promotion has been popular.

“It’s a great way to get out and learn,” she said.

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