As winter kicks into high gear, the snow sports industry is grappling with a number of complex issues including the effects of climate change and the challenge of attracting newcomers. Only three percent of the U.S. population participates in skiing or snowboarding, according to industry research. That’s about 10.3 million people and 87 percent of them are white. The biggest barriers are cost and accessibility.
There may be a third major barrier – lack of information targeting newcomers who know little about the sports. It’s a barrier that is solvable if only newcomers knew where to go for simple, basic information when much of the snow sports jargon is geared toward current participants with experience.
One resource is this web site. But, there are many others. Each day during January, professional ski instructor Kevin Jordan is posting quick and snappy suggestions at Kevin Jordan Ski Tips that cover topics such as How to Size a Ski, How to Size a Snowboard, What to Wear, How to Load a Chairlift and How to Get Off plus many other practical words of wisdom that help demystify entrance to the sports. He is a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).
Jordan is the Children’s Coordinator for Ski and Snowboard Schools at Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado. He was featured for several years as an Industry Ambassador the non-defunct national Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month web site and is in training to be on the PSIA National Team. Jordan has been skiing since he was two years old and he has some ernest advice for timid beginners.
“You can do it,” he says. “Give it a try and don’t get discouraged if you get frustrated your first time out.” Of course, Jordan is an advocate for taking lessons from professionally trained instructors but he is not the only one feels that way.
Journalist Kristen Lummis also advocates taking lessons and her Brave Ski Mom blog is an excellent source of information for families and kids. Lummis hails from Grand Junction, CO.
She advises: “For both kids and adult beginners, my best suggestions are to: 1) seek out “never ever” lesson packages. 2) Dress for success. This doesn’t mean you need to go spend a lot of money on new clothes. 3) Stayed fueled and hydrated. This is important for maintaining your energy and keeping you warm. 4) Have fun! Professional ski instructors are trained to make learning fun and they take pride in this. Don’t forget to celebrate with hot chocolate or another treat! Enjoy.”
Additional information on these topics is available elsewhere on this web site and also on Brave Ski Mom.
Other resources include The Ski Diva, MomTrends and Alba Adventures. The Ski Diva web site may target current participants – specifically women – but its Forum hosts some lively conversations that also benefit beginners. MomTrends is a sophisticated, New York-based site that includes ski and ski travel and also style and beauty trends. The Alba Family motto is “The Family that Skis Together, Stays Together”. Their web site – Alba Adventures – specializes in all kinds of ski videos but also offer helpful articles like “Family Skiing in the Northeast on a Budget”.
All of the writers and videographers mentioned in this article belong to the North American Snow Sports Journalists Association (NASJA).