Happy trails all over the country

If you are a skier or a boarder this is about as good as it gets.

Right now, 45 of the 50 states have some part covered in snow. Pick a ski area, any ski area in the country and they will tell you that they are loaded with the white stuff. And as you read this there is another storm in the West, dumping snow out from the Sierra Nevada to the Rockies.

Here in the East, the big storm we had dumped snow from the Southern Appalachians to New England.

Having said that, resort associations and ski areas in 34 states are gearing up to offer free or affordable ski and snowboard lessons during January. A great way to take advantage of all this snow.

“Humans Were Never Meant to Hibernate” is the theme for this national effort to get children and adults outside this winter for fun and exercise.

Learning programs in participating states are easily accessible via the new site SkiandSnowboardMonth.org. It provides links to packages and special deals, which vary from state to state.

Resort associations in three New England states — Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine — are collaborating to offer free beginner ski and snowboard lessons Jan. 3-9. Packages vary but typically include a beginner lesson taught by a professional instructor, rentals and a lift ticket for the beginner learning area. First-time participants must register at Ski Vermont, Ski NH or Ski Maine’s websites to qualify for the free offer.

Two additional monthlong Ski Vermont programs are “Bring a Friend,” designed to appeal to skiers and snowboarders who want to share their love of their sports with a friend/family member, “Partner with a Pal”, that encourages friends or family members to their first day on the slopes by taking lessons together. Both are two-for one offers.

Twenty-six ski areas in New York are offering 20 percent off their lift ticket, group lesson and rental package beginning Jan. 3 and continuing throughout the month. The only blackout date is Martin Luther King weekend (Jan. 14-17).

Blue Hills, Jiminy Peak, Nashoba Valley, and Wachusett are four of 12 ski areas and resorts in Massachusetts supporting Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.

All 22 Pennsylvania ski areas are offering a $5 refund voucher on already discounted mid-week learning packages. Individual ski areas, such as I Liberty, Camelback and Shawnee, are running special Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month packages.