TREASURE VALLEY — January marks Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, so there couldn’t be a more appropriate time to hit the slopes in Idaho and take up a new, active way of enjoying the remaining winter months.

There are 18 ski areas scattered around Idaho, with an assortment within easy driving distance of the Treasure Valley. Many of the areas are offering special deals to encourage newcomers to strap on skis or a snowboard and learn how to carve and glide their way down both easy and difficult runs.

Bogus Basin, for instance, is offering a $30 package (lesson, equipment, coach ticket) for beginners or first-timers. The package has to be purchased at the ski/board school office on the mountain the day of the lesson. The package is based on lesson availability. Call 332-5340 for more information. Brundage Mountain is offering a $249 ExpressPASS “Learn & Earn” program. You can choose four consecutive Saturday or Sunday lessons, four rentals and a season pass for 2013/14 at the end of your four sessions. Call 634-6631 for more information. You can find additional deals at skiidaho.us/learn-to-ski-and-snowboard-month.

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, according to skiandsnowboardmonth.org, began in 2009 in a handful of states, when about 20,000 children and adults took lessons through the initiative. Now, more than 300 resorts in 33 states offer special learning programs during January.

TIPS FOR SKIERS AND SNOWBOARDERS

Ski Idaho provided the following tips to help ensure new skiers and snowboarders have a fun outing:

• The best way to dress for winter is to wear layers. Layering provides the necessary flexibility to add or remove apparel, depending on the weather and your particular activity. In general, the three main layers are classified as wicking, insulating and weather protection.

• Don’t even think of not taking a lesson.

• Make sure your car is equipped for winter travel and that the driver has the skills for driving on ice and snow when you travel to a ski area.

• Most larger resorts have free outer parking lots with shuttles to the base area or pay-parking close in. But close is a relative term. Generally, there’s a fair amount of walking involved getting from the car to the slopes.

• If you bring equipment, don’t walk in ski boots. You likely are not used to them yet, and you can slip easily on ice and snow. Carry your boots to lockers where you can store your stuff and gear up. Boot bags are handy for hauling and storing boots, gloves, goggles, helmets, hats, hand warmers and extra clothing.

• Once at the base area, look for signs directing you to Skier Services, where you’ll find everything from rental and retail shops to ski-and-ride school to lift ticket windows. Here’s where you’ll begin your first day.

• After your lesson, practice a bit, but don’t overdo it. Above all, relax, take it all in and have fun. Talk to other skiers and snowboarders, watch them on the hill and begin the transformation.

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