Update: Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month is working

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 19, 2011 11:43 am

The January Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month initiative has reached its mid-way point and U.S. ski areas and resorts, particularly those in the east, are reporting strong interest in their learning programs. Governors in Pennsylvania, Vermont, New York, Maine, West Virginia, Oregon and Utah thus far have declared January Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. The initiative is intended to introduce children and adults to skiing and snowboarding and to get them active outdoors in the winter.   

Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) stresses taking lessons from professional instructors. Three states in New England – Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine – collaborated on a free one-day lift, lesson, rentals package January 3 – 9 that generated a large turnout. Ski Maine ran out of its inventory of free packages and had to close its registration for the second year. New Hampshire enrolled more than 4,000 children and adults, up from about 2,600 last year, according to Ski NH President Alice Pearce. Ski Vermont Marketing Director Kathy Murphy said resorts in that state were very pleased and commented on excellent turnouts.  

“We nearly doubled the number of participants in our week-long promotion of free beginner lesson packages over last year which is terrific particularly given the fact that we had more resorts participating last year,” she said. “Bottom line – those alpine resorts and Nordic ski areas that stepped up to participate and support our week-long program really did invest significantly to help us grow the first timer base of alpine and Nordic skiers and snowboarders.”

Scott Brandi, president of Ski Areas of New York (SANY), reported that more than 3,100 discount vouchers for resort learning programs have been downloaded from its Web site. The coupons enable children and adults to get 20 per cent off a lesson, lift, rental package at participating New York resorts and ski areas.

Not all ski areas expected large turnouts. Eaglecrest, in Alaska, hosted 12 people at its Learn to Adapt Day and 15 at its Women’s First Tracks event. “”That may seem like small numbers to some but it’s very successful by our count,” said Jeffra Clough, Eaglecrest director of Sales/Marketing and Snowsports School. 

Page two – Interest in Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month programs strong

More than 1,500 LSSM coupons have been downloaded from the Ski PA Web site. All ski areas in Pennsylvania are honoring a $5.00 off coupon for a mid-week learning package. Liberty Mountain, near Gettysburg, is one of five ski areas in that state running special Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month programs in addition to the state-wide offer. 

“Word from the Ski and Snowboard School is the specials are bringing in lots of new people,” said Anne Weimer, marketing director for Pennsylvania’s Liberty Mountain. She could not confirm actual numbers at this time and will continue to monitor their program through the end of the month.

Colorado remains the state most viewed on skiandsnowboardmonth.org, the national Web site for the initiative. Colorado is followed by New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, New Jersey and Michigan. Nearly 60,000 pages have been viewed since the site launched in mid-November.  More than 300 resorts and Nordic centers in 34 states are participating.

One participant in New Hampshire’s program said afterwards, “My husband and I enjoyed our learn to ride experience at King Pine more than we ever could have imagined.  We were both too afraid to invest in the lesson lift and rentals for the past two years for fear that we would not be able to do it and would be out the money.  After our wonderful experience during learn to ski or ride free week we have both had a second lesson and are well on our way to being able to ride with our children.”