Learn to ski for free this winter

9th September 2008, by Chris Gill

Know someone who wants to learn to ski or board? Maybe that person is you and you are considering your first trip to the snow? Well, free beginner lessons are up for grabs in 46 resorts next January.

The Association of Snow Sports Countries (ASC) - a UK organisation representing a group of national tourist offices - has teamed up with some of the UK’s leading tour operators to encourage first-timers to try a winter sport for free.

The ASC has over 1,000 places on offer in a wide choice of resorts in Andorra, Austria, Finland, France, Norway, Switzerland and even Canada.

Who can do it?

To qualify, you must be over 18 years old and have never skied/boarded before. It is important to note that the scheme does not apply to skiers who simply wish to try snowboarding, or vice versa. Once signed up, if you choose not to attend the school for any reason, the free ski pass will also be cancelled.

How does it work?

The deal includes free lift passes, free lessons and free equipment hire. All you need to do is book a standard holiday package through any of the seven participating tour operators: Airtours, Crystal, First Choice, Erna Low, Neilson, Inghams and Thomson Ski.

For example, Erna Low is one company involved in the scheme:Book your holiday accommodation and travel with them and benefit from: free half days in Arc 1800 or full days in Belle Plagne; as well as the local ski pass and equipment hire for a week.

Places are strictly limited to 10 persons per resort, regardless of the week so early booking is strongly recommended.

Freshers’ Ski Weeks are being held on 17th or 24th January 2009. Details are available through the participating tour operators or on the dedicated website at: www.freshersskiweek.com

The Ski Week scheme is not new: the ASC ran similar offers in 2001 and 2002. The idea is to encourage more people to try winter sports, especially those over 40 who may have been tempted to learn in the past, but never quite got around to it. It’s never too late too learn…

Every little helps…

And as every novice skier knows, buying your first ski clothing can add quite a lot to the cost of your holiday. So, ASC has also teamed up with retailer TK Maxx - which sells a wide choice of good value winter sports clothing - to offer some excellent discounts. You’ll be able to view these shortly on the shop’s website: www.tkmaxx.com

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