Organizers of 2012 Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) estimate that the number of beginner lessons taught during January as part of the initiative totaled nearly 100,000, up from 75,000 over the previous year, despite lack of snow in the early part of the winter. Many resorts focused attention on their snowmaking expertise to help create awareness that snow was plentiful on learning terrain. Traffic on skiandsnowboardmonth.org was up 38 percent over last year from mid-October to mid-February.
The estimate was made after an analysis of a survey sent to participating resorts in early February. About 60 percent of those who responded said that participation in their LSSM programs were either about the same or higher than last year. Programs varied in different parts of the country. Most were discounted lift, lesson, and equipment rental packages.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative recognized two LSSM programs for their outreach to youth. Cataloochee Resort in North Carolina teamed with the Snow Seekers , an Atlanta-based ski and snowboard club, to bring 150 youths and their chaperones to the resort for lessons the last weekend in January. Colorado Ski Country USA was cited for its Fifth Grade First Class programs to get youngsters active in snow sports. Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month is a strong advocate of the Let’s Move goals.
“The success of LSSM is due to the collaborative efforts of the entire snow sports industry,” said Raelene Davis, LSSM chair and marketing director for Ski Utah . Her organization teamed with SKI magazine to host the Bring a Friend contest that offered a trip to Utah for a newcomer and a current participant who helped the newcomer enroll in lessons from a professional instructor. LSSM promotes taking lessons from professionals and not friends or family members.
More than 75 percent of those who responded to a LSSM survey this winter said that they got involved with snow sports because of a friend or family member.