WV Travel Team: An alternative to buying kids new ski gear every year

By Compiled by the GoToWV Team

Finally, one of the East Coast’s best ski destinations created a genius program to help you bring your family back to the snow, year after year — affordably.

Cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to start the kiddos out on the snow, and a great family activity: solitude, more terrain to explore and more affordable equipment — unless you have kids who are outgrowing their ski gear every year.

If you’re concerned about the costs or logistics of getting kids into skiing, White Grass in Davis has the answer: a gear exchange program for growing kids that will keep them outfitted with top-quality gear from toddlerhood to adolescence.

Here’s how it works:

Families with very young children can sign up for a $45 buy-in, which gets kids a starter ski set-up designed for young learners.

“These are very basic packages,” said Chip Chase, owner of White Grass. “They can be down to 100 centimeters [about 39 inches] in length or less, with bindings that don’t even require ski boots.”

This is the perfect outfit for kids to plod, fall, learn and eventually glide over some of White Grass’s beginner loop courses in the resort’s front country.

But here’s where it gets better. Next year, when your little ones are a bit bigger and begging to go skiing again, you can take back the skis they’ve outgrown, find some slightly sportier models for a bit more and trade in those old skis for a full $45 credit, the same amount you started out with.

When they outgrow those skis, you can do the same — again and again and again.

If you stick with this exchange all the way until your children reach their teenage years, you’ll wind up having spent around $350 total on multiple pairs of skis, Chase estimated. That is about the same as a set-up for just one adult pair of skis, boots and poles.

Be the family that skis together. White Grass offers this deal out of pure love for the sport, so you can share it with your kids.

And it doesn’t hurt that White Grass is a great place for your little ones to learn. It’s one of the top-rated ski centers on the East Coast, and it’s in West Virginia high country (which guarantees plenty of snowfall).

Plus, it is really an all-encompassing ski center, with a retail and tune-up shop, restaurant and all varieties and levels of skiing areas.

It is quite possible your child starts out picking around the basic loops and is shredding high-speed telemark turns in the backcountry by the time he or she is a teenager — all on skis from the exchange.

And the skis are good for more than White Grass.

Once you and your kids have dialed in your ski skills at the resort, there are infinite other options around the Mountain State for cross-country and downhill skiing.

“We have a lot of folks get into skiing here, and then take their skis back home, too,” Chase said.

In fact, almost anywhere can make great cross-country terrain. Given the right snow and temperatures, even most West Virginia hiking trails are great for skiing.

If you want to instill a lifelong love of mountains, physical activity, snow and the beauty of the state, pack up the car, and take the family to White Grass.

For more information, call 800-CALL-WVA or visit GoToWV.com. Share your Real. West Virginia stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #GoToWV and #RealWV.

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