January was deemed “Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM)” by organizers working for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. Obama, recently seen skiing at Vail, started the initiative aimed at ending childhood obesity in a single generation that launched early 2010.
Almost 100,000 beginner lessons were taught this January up from just 75,000 taught last year, even with a snow shortage early this winter. In an effort to get newcomers to the slopes, many resorts focused their snowmaking labors on the beginner terrain. The bunny hills were alive with the sound of snow machines this year, and everyone seemed to appreciate the resorts picking up where Mother Nature left off.
Traffic on skiandsnowboardmonth.org was up 38% over last year as well. It seems as if more and more people are learning to love the sport we adore. Programs promoting the mission of the month varied from mountain to mountain.
Our friends in the south caught some press when Obama’s initiative also recognized two LSSM programs for their involvement specifically with youth. Cataloochee Resort in North Carolina partnered with Snow Seekers, a ski and snowboard club based in Atlanta, to bring 150 youths and their chaperones to the resort for lessons the last weekend in January. Snow Seekers is a club that organizes ski and snowboard trips for locals in search of some mountain entertainment.
“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.
Davis’s organization and SKI Magazine got creative with their idea to hold a contest to win a trip to Utah for a newcomer and a current participant who helped enroll the newcomer in lessons from a professional instructor. The winner got a chance to practice what they learned in their lessons.
Most places simply offered discounted lit tickets, lessons, and equipment rental packages to intrigue those considering a trip to the slopes.
Based on a survey, over 75 percent of people stated that they got involved in snow sports because of a friend or family member. Over all, January was a great month to be on the mountain. And with the huge increase in lessons given, it seems as though LSSM can be called a success!