Freeski Fridays

Freeski Fridays

Grand County kids belong on the hill.  

Yet one more reason why small ski area matter? The “other mother” role they play in raising children. Where else can kids be outdoors roaming free in nature without constant supervision these days?

To facilitate that on the local level, Granby Ranch offers three programs for the East and West Grand School District: Freeski Fridays (now including learn to ski/snowboard lessons); a restricted season pass for K-12 students for $99; and a $199 unrestricted pass. Also, on offer? A joint school district/Granby Ranch physical education class complete with complimentary skiing, snowboarding, rentals, and lessons.

“I grew up skiing on Howelsen Hill in Steamboat,” says Granby Ranch GM Jace Wirth. “You can’t overstate how important it is for kids that are surrounded by a recreation economy to feel as though they belong too. It’s not just about growing skiers, it’s about growing the community. We’re committed to getting every kid in Grand County that wants to learn to ski up on the hill.”

That sentiment resonates with Brooke Dryden whose two kids Berkeley and Huntington took advantage of the Freeski Friday program almost without fail last winter. “I grew up skiing Mammoth,” says Dryden, “and the [Mammoth] owner Dave McCoy always made sure that local kids could ski. When the new ownership took over Granby Ranch, we weren’t sure what was going to happen. It’s hard to make it in the mountains these days. We live in a multi-income, multicultural neighborhood here. It can look a little rough, but everyone really cares for each other. All the neighborhood kids took advantage of skiing on Fridays. With a lot of those families, the parents never skied—but now the kids are getting out on rental gear and taking lessons. It brings me to tears to talk about.”

This story appears in Granby Ranch’s fall mini-magazine edition. For more information or to get a print copy, please email eloveland (@)