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One winter, 25 ski areas


By: Jenn Fields
Colorado Daily
April 16, 2012

Boulder fifth grader takes full advantage of free ski pass for season

Carter Hanson probably has more ski passes dangling off his jacket than any other fifth grader in Boulder.

And he’s even missing some — he’s had to chop off some to fit more as the season wore on, he said.

So far, Hanson has skied at 24 resorts in Colorado this winter. He’s taking advantage of the programs offered by Colorado Ski Country and Vail Resorts for Colorado’s fifth graders — free lift tickets for three or four days at each of their resorts.

The programs give fifth graders free access to 25 ski areas in the state. Hanson is just one short of hitting them all, and he plans to snag that last area — Arapahoe Basin, which the family saved for last since it traditionally is the last area in the state to close — in the next few weeks.

Colorado Ski Country’s
Craig Bannister said about 14,000 fifth graders participated in the program this ski season. But they don’t have a way of keeping track of where the kids ski, or how many of the resorts they visit. However, he said, they hadn’t heard of any fifth graders hitting all of the ski areas.

“This could be the first ever,” he said, adding that the program has been around for 15 years.

Though Tom Hanson, Carter’s dad, and Carter had both been excited about this winter for about three years, the real planning didn’t start until early last fall.

“Tom planned everything,” said Lori Hobkirk, Carter’s mom. “He had a spreadsheet early in the season. He tried to plan it so you’d get to the right ski area at the right part of the season.”

“We started with Loveland,” Carter said.

“Because it’s an early opener,” Tom added.

They visited other resorts they weren’t as excited about early in the season. This winter was a somewhat dismal one for snowsports enthusiasts, but Tom and Carter said it didn’t bother them much, and that they made the best of it.

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Check out more information on Passport Programs such as Colorado Ski Country USA