As the summer comes to a close and kids head back to school, it is the time to begin to prepare for the winter ahead. As an industry, growing snowsports participation is a priority, especially in youth. This priority is outlined as one of the CWSAA corporate strategic directives – Sustainable Market Growth.
As part of pre-season sales & marketing, school and group bookings are an important proactive opportunity. This edition of the Canada West Way, shares tools, best practices and resources that may help develop conversations and interest from schools, but also other influential people within your community to ensure the benefits of youth participation in snowsports are known.
Benefits of Snowsports
- A 5 minute video was developed last year with CSC to tell the story to schools and other decision makers, as to why snowsports were beneficial to youth. We’ve also found this video very helpful in advocacy efforts to support funding and approvals for ski area operations. The video can be shared/watched online, or a contact Cynthia to receive an electronic file.
- Presentation – When the opportunity is available, a face-to-face meeting is often the best way to share the opportunities and benefits of engaging youth in snowsports. This presentation may help you deliver these messages during a meeting with decision makers.
School Activities – available through 3rd parties
For schools that may be on the fence about booking a school ski trip, there are a number of great 3rd party programs, that can be brought to the classroom, gymnasium or even playground to help introduce snowsports concepts. These programs could provide a great first step into building a school skiing/boarding program.
- Burton Riglet – this introduction to snowboarding is offered in school gymnasiums aimed at primary-aged students. This program is offered FREE to schools through many of provincial snowboard associations, thanks to funding from the Canadian Ski Council and grants. Consider working with your PSO to target specific schools in conjunction with your schools strategy. By getting the kids excited about snowboarding, and engaging the PE teachers to see the connection with the curriculum, this program may be a good ‘first-step’ to engaging a school in snowsports.
- Snow safety education program from AdventureSmart (for children 9-11). This program is delivered FREE of charge by either designated AdventureSmart teams (located in many regions of Canada), or volunteers. The program covers The Alpine Responsibility Code; Ski resort signs and symbols; Backcountry hazards; Avalanches and being prepared. AdventureSmart teams may also be available to come to your resort and set up a booth. Ski Areas should connect with AdventureSmart to ensure they are familiar of specific challenges and opportunities in your region, as well as to help facilitate bringing them into schools that may be looking for a safety orientation prior to their ski trip.
- Ski, Skate and Slide from EverActive Alberta will provide resources for teachers, service providers and schools. The program encourages creative environments – for example in school yards for cross-country skiing, on a rink for skating or curling, or out on the ski and snowboard hill – which gives teachers the space to guide students through practice and challenges that are coached by the space, rather than the teacher. The program was piloted last season, and resources are expected to be available near the end of September. We’ll provide an update once available.
Other Youth initiatives
Grade 4/5 SnowPass – is your ski area participating in the SnowPass program. Join over 150 ski areas in Canada in offer youth in Grades 4 & 5 the opportunity to ski/ride 3 times at your resort. Brochures will be mailed to many schools in Canada this Fall. Digital marketing materials are also available for ski resorts to use and share with local youth organizations, sports retailers etc (watch for new updated materials coming soon!).