Anthony De Rocco, President and CEO of K2 Sports, presented youth development charity SOS Outreach with a check for $25,000 to demonstrate K2’s support for programs that get youth from diverse demographic backgrounds outdoors. During a time of changing demographics in the snow sports industry, K2 Sports is taking a leadership role in recognizing and addressing the needs of an increasingly diverse outdoor market.
SOS Outreach is a leading Colorado-based youth development non-profit that utilizes outdoor adventure sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, as the platform for a long-term, values-based leadership and character development curriculum. K2 Sports has been one of SOS Outreach’s biggest supporters. Over the past decade, the company has donated more than $250,000 in cash and in-kind donations as well as SOS office space in K2’s Seattle office. Their support helps SOS to serve nearly 5,000 youth across 15 states and, most recently, in New Zealand.
De Rocco, who is also an SOS Outreach Board member, referenced the unique drawing power of winter sports to turn kids into lifelong outdoor enthusiasts, and thanked SOS Outreach for their sustained efforts to get kids outdoors and diversify the world of snow sports.
“At K2 Sports, one of our key initiatives is to continue to push access and awareness to as many of our winter sports as we can. Not only is this vital for the longevity and success of our industry, but we have also seen firsthand the joy and personal impact that regular outdoor activity can bring,” said De Rocco, citing the impacts outdoor sports can have on participants.
K2 and many others in the industry recognize that SOS Outreach is attracting a more diverse audience to mountain sports, an audience that the industry needs to cater to in order to sustain growth in the years ahead. Nearly one in four kids who participate in SOS Outreach programs return to their sport of choice as lifelong participants. This compares to an industry conversion rate of about 16 percent.
“By reaching out to today’s youth, many of whom would never have the opportunity to ski or snowboard, K2 has positioned itself as both a leader in winter sports and a leader in the community,” said Arn Menconi, SOS Outreach executive director. “Together, we are making a difference in the lives of thousands of underserved youth because we share the philosophy that ‘doing good equates to doing well.’