The 11th annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, going on now, has a new twist. Resorts across the U.S. are gearing up for a special celebration Friday, Jan. 11 – the first National Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day.
The goal for Jan. 11 is to set a new snow sports industry record for the most beginner lessons taught in one day. The Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative encourages newcomers to take lessons from professional instructors rather than trying to teach themselves or ask a friend or family member to teach them.
“You wouldn’t ask a friend or family member to teach you how to sky dive so why do that with skiing or snowboarding,” said Mary Jo Tarallo, director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. “We want newcomers to come out and have some fun on the snow by learning some initial skills from those who are trained to teach them.”
New York State has the most resorts signed up for January 11 with 11 locations, but resorts in 21 states will also participate, including Alaska, California, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The governors of Massachusetts and Utah have declared January Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and both the Pennsylvania House and Senate passed resolutions declaring the same. More states expect to receive proclamations.
Through the efforts of Ski Utah, more than 300 children from elementary schools around Utah will take beginner ski or snowboard lessons at various Utah ski resorts on January 11.
Some resorts are offering extra affordable deals such as Massachusetts’s Butternut ($10 beginner lessons) and New York’s Holiday Valley ($25 beginner package). In Pennsylvania, the first 100 who sign up at Shawnee get a $29 package and Blue Mountain is offering free lessons Jan. 11.
Industry research shows that most newcomers want to learn the sports so they can spend more time with friends or family members. The other motivating factor is more of a “bucket list approach – something I’ve always wanted to do," according to a national study conducted by RRC Associates.
The initiative also encourages newcomers and current participants to Bring a Friend for a day of fun on the slopes. “Our slogan is ‘Humans Were Never Meant to Hibernate'," said Tarallo, “so we encourage folks of all ages to get outside during January and learn something new.”
The Learn to Ski and Snowboard web site makes it easy for newcomers to find locations near where they live by using a zip code driven mapping tool. It also lists, by state, all participating resorts with links to resort web sites. The national web site also provides basic and practical information for children and adults who are just getting into the sports.