January 8th is a huge day for ski resorts across the U.S.
As part of the annual Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, January 8th is the day when over 150 participating resorts will try to break two Guinness world records.
The first attempt, the largest ski and snowboard lesson at a single-venue, will go down at some of the nation’s larger resorts, where they are hoping to sign up more than 500 beginners for lessons.
The second attempt is a multi-venue attempt, an aggregate of students from across the country, all learning a new snowsport on a single day.
While I haven’t yet heard the number necessary to break the aggregate record, it’s big. And resorts are motivated, many offering discounts, deals and promotions on January 8th.
Doing Good Together
While there are many, many LSSM programs to feature, one of my favorites will happen at Sunlight Mountain Resort, a local Colorado ski area near Glenwood Springs.
Partnering with the U.S. Forest Service and LiveWell Garfield County, Sunlight will host two dozen local 3rd graders, providing them with their first exposure to winter sports. With underwriting from LiveWell, these students will receive free rentals, lessons and transportation. The goal is get them excited about outdoor activity in winter, any activity. Whether or not they ski or snowboard again, the hope is that they’ll try sledding or snowshoeing or some other wintery fun.
“These ski and snowboard lessons will put many kids in an unfamiliar outdoor winter mountain environment, which will cultivate new skills and abilities for them to learn a winter activity sport that encourages them to lead a year-round physical active lifestyle,” explains Jeff Jackel, an area recreation director and member of the LiveWell Garfield County Steering Committee.
And the families of these kids (as well as the rest of the local community) won’t be left out in the cold.
In addition to hosting this World’s Largest Lesson event, Sunlight is offering $20 lift tickets to everyone, except local teachers. Teachers get to ski for free, as part of the resort’s annual Student/Teacher Appreciation Day. Plus, 100% of Sunlight’s lift ticket proceeds on January 8 are donated to the local United Way.
Partnering with the U.S. Forest Service
In addition to local and nonprofits, the U.S. Forest Service is also providing important support.
Twenty-five percent of U.S. ski areas are located on forest service lands, accounting for approximately 23 million skier visits on 180,000 skiable acres.
While walking and hiking are the most popular recreational activities on the forests, skiing and snowboarding are number two. Which is impressive, considering that hiking and walking are year-round activities, while skiing and snowboarding are generally not.
“We are excited to once again partner with Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to get out and enjoy national forests as much during the winter as they do in the summer,” said Sean Wetterberg, manager of the Winter Sports Program for the Forest Service.
On January 8, Forest Service officials will be on site at many resorts acting as impartial witnesses per Guinness Book of World Record guidelines.
Additionally, they’ll be promoting the agency’s Junior Snow Ranger program, a set of activities designed to introduce children in the fourth and fifth grades to a life-long relationship with outdoor winter activities and become the next generation of land stewards. The program highlights safety, wildlife, winter ecology, recreation, and the sheer joy of being outside in the winter.
Help Spread the Word
One of my favorite slogans comes from Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month. As they put it, “humans were never meant to hibernate.”
If you know any children or adults who are beginners or never-ever skiers and snowboarders, please let them know about all the fun happening on January 8, 2016.
Not only can they score lessons and rentals at a substantial discount, but the experience just might inspire them to enjoy winter more fully for the rest of their lives.
They’ll also be part of a World Record, with a certificate to prove it.
If I were a kid that would motivate me. It’s so much more fun (and easier) than becoming the world’s tallest man.
More About Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month
It’s a fantastic resource.
More Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month:
- Ski Resort Marketing: The Best of the Best for 2015, July 20, 2015.
- Learn to Ski, One Tip At a Time, January 20, 2014.
- Start Right: Eight Learn to Ski Tips for Your Child (And You!), January 8, 2014.
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