Walsh: No better month than January to try out the slopes

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"Snow is for more than shoveling."

"Humans were never meant to hibernate."

"Not knowing how to ski or snowboard is no longer an excuse for sitting at home on the sidelines," said Linda Irvin, director of the Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association (PSAA).

And January, designated as national "Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month," is an ideal time to learn how to slide and glide, she added.

"It's easier and more affordable than ever," Irvin said.

And the PSAA will help out by providing a $5 discount on midweek "Learn a Snow Sport" packages available at the 22 ski areas it represents.

Designed for first-timers, the packages include a group lesson, a lift ticket for the beginner terrain and a complete set of rental equipment -- skis, boots and poles, or a snowboard and boots.

"We're thrilled that our ski areas have united to offer an affordable 'Learn a Snow Sport' program that will open the door to the wonderful world of snow sports for many winter enthusiasts throughout the entire season," Irvin said.

Hidden Valley offers one of the best packages Mondays and Tuesdays. Anyone 7 and older receives rental equipment, a lesson and a lift ticket to the beginner slope for $32 -- $27 after the PSAA discount.

"Tens of thousands of winter enthusiasts migrate to the Keystone State mountains every week to ski and snowboard on trails that offer cruising comfort in a majestic setting or the excitement of a pulse-pounding challenge on a downhill course," Irvin said.

"Come join them."

Information: www.skipa.com.

Birthday discount

Joseph A. "Joe" Hardy III, the founder of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, will celebrate his 90th birthday Monday, and Sunday through Thursday, the cost of a room in the Chateau Lafayette lodge and two bedroom townhomes will be heavily discounted to $90 per night.

"Mr. Hardy will tell you that people thought he was crazy when he purchased this tract of land and people might say the same about us as we unveil our lowest room rates in history," the resort said on its website (www.nemacolin.com).

"But we think this occasion calls for a special celebration and special savings to honor the man who had the vision to create Nemacolin Woodlands Resort."

Taxes and a $20-per-day resort fee are extra. The fee covers valet parking, on-property shuttle service, wireless Internet, newspapers, art tours and access to the fitness center and winter trails.

Information: 1-866-344-6957.

Free lessons

The Pennsylvania Cross Country Skiers Association (PACCSA) will offer free ski lessons beginning at 1 p.m. Sunday at Laurel Ridge State Park Cross Country Ski Center off Route 653. No registration is necessary.

Instruction will focus on the basic skills of classic Nordic skiing -- balance drills, falling and rising, diagonal stride, use of poles and hill technique. It will be followed by a short trip on the trails to practice those skills and receive individual critiques from association instructors. Participants don't have to join PACCSA, but do have to buy a trail pass.

Rental equipment and trail passes are available from the concessionaire.

Information: www.paccsa.org.

Corporate Cup

Discounted "early bird" registration is open until Wednesday for the 29th Annual Corporate Cup Ski Race & Sporting Clays Feb. 22 at Seven Springs.

The event for skiers, snowboarders and shooters of all ages and abilities is a fundraiser for Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh.

The discounted registration fee is $750 for three-member ski teams, an amount that increases to $1,000 after Wednesday. The fee for five-member clays teams is $1,000 now and $1,200 later.

Information: http://www.bvrspittsburgh.org/fundraising-events/; 412-368-4400, Ext. 2287.

mobilehome - ski

Larry Walsh writes about recreational snow sports for the Post-Gazette.


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