By David Schissler and Bruce McCloy, Mount Sunapee, NH

(December 2012) Being a novice skier or snowboarder is not easy. Renting equipment, buying lift tickets, and lift procedures are just a few of the obstacles faced before even getting on the snow. In order to alleviate those circumstances, Mount Sunapee has devised what I believe is a unique approach to providing novice skiers and boarders with an option that will avoid these pitfalls and make the first day or two of becoming a rider much easier. It’s a new, guided program called “Start Here”.

Participants in this program are met by their instructor when they arrive at the lodge and then guided from check-in, through the rental shop, up the lifts and through their first lesson. It’s kind of a “valet” introduction to the sport. The goal is to provide each participant with everything they need to know to continue skiing and boarding on their own and make it a lifetime activity.

“When you are about to learn something new there is always the fear of the unknown lurking in the back of your mind,” says Kyle Steinmetz, learning center director at Mount Sunapee. “Learning to ski or snowboard is no different. The terminology, equipment and culture is all foreign. Having the instructor meet the guests when they arrive, instead of when the lesson begins, allows us to guide them through the entire first day process including check-in, renting equipment and the lesson.”

Guided “Start Here” packages are available weekends and holidays from December 22, 2012 through March 31, 2013. A one-day package costs $84 and must be purchased in advance on-line for a specific time and date. There is also a two-day package for only $130. Each day includes a two-hour group lesson, use of specially designed rental equipment for the day, and a full-day lift ticket to the South Peak Learning Area at Mount Sunapee. To introduce the new Guided “Start Here” package it will be available daily from opening day at the South Peak Learning Area through Thursday, December 20 for only $29.

The end of the second day is just the beginning. Each person receives a free Mount Sunapee Flex Card ($79-$99 value). Flex Cards offer 25% off lift tickets on weekends, holidays and peak periods, 50% off lift tickets midweek non-holiday and $10 off group lessons and rental equipment for the remainder of the season. The Flex Card also includes an optional Day-Three package that includes a lesson, rental equipment and an all-mountain lift ticket for only $65. Each person also receives a voucher from Golf & Ski Warehouse for discounts if they want to purchase a ski or snowboard package. They have everything they need to continue skiing or snowboarding for the rest of the season and beyond.

The South Peak Learning Area at Mount Sunapee, one of the best in the East, is sculpted specifically for beginner and novice skiers and snowboarders, as it is totally separate from the rest of the mountain. There are 14 easier trails and three easy-to-ride carpet lifts. The rental equipment from Burton, Elan and Dalbello is specially designed and prepared for beginners making learning to ski or snowboard easier and more fun. For more information about the “Start Here” program visit:

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