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SAM Magazine—Salt Lake City, Utah, March 14, 2019—Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) resort partners provided more than 150,000 beginner lessons in January, bringing the total to more than one million lessons provided by the initiative since it launched in 2009. As reported earlier, 6,200 of those lessons were provided on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, during the first “Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day.” LSSD

Although the majority of resorts reported in a survey that weather had little to no impact on program participation, Raelene Davis, VP of marketing for Ski Utah and chair of the LSSM initiative, acknowledged that “Early snow certainly helped get newcomers in the mood to learn this year.”

Ninety percent of participating resorts reported an equal or higher number of lessons given compared to last year. That said, few resorts noticed any significant changes in the demographic makeup of their clientele, except for a slight uptick in Asian participation.

Most resorts reported in the survey that they keep their marketing budgets small—less than $1,000—for LSSM and primarily utilize digital platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and email to promote the initiative, making the strong participation stats all the more impressive.

Historically, LSSM sees a surge in participation following an Olympics year. In 2011, there were 75,000 participants compared to 30,000 during the 2010 Olympics year, and in 2015 there were more than 133,750 participants compared to 74,900 in the 2014 Olympics year. The trend continued in 2019, with more than 150,000 lessons compared to 90,000 in 2018.

“The established branding of the initiative paid off in spades within the industry and also among consumers,” said Davis. “People know that January IS Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.”

Report by Katie Brinton