Just five months ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, a campaign has been launched to actively encourage more people in the UK to become involved in snowsports. The GO SKI GO BOARD campaign which was launched last week, is the largest ever campaign of its kind.
There has been a sharp decline in the number of beginners taking skiing holidays in recent years, with a particularly noticeable decrease in the number of schoolchildren and students taking part in organised ski trips. It is estimated that this market has fallen by 11.3% over the last three years. This is partly because of the pressures on family finances, but also because there is now a much wider range of trips available for children to choose from. Traditionally, the school ski trip has been for many people their first experience of skiing or snowboarding, and an experience which has inspired them to carry on skiing throughout their adult lives. The ski industry in general seems to be waking up to the fact that it needs to attract more beginners into snowsports if there is to be any significant future growth.
Snowsport England, the national governing body has brought together a network of the UK's indoor and artificial slopes to offer value for money taster, beginner, improver and recreational sessions. The cost of the courses will vary between slopes but they will all offer value for money and will be all inclusive without any hidden costs. Typically the cost of a GO SKI GO BOARD session will include instruction, slope time, clothing and equipment.
The aim is to make snowsports more accessible to a wider range of people and to make people aware that taking up a snowsport is perhaps not quite as expensive as they might have imagined. It is hoped that the people trying snow sports for the first time in the run up to Sochi, will be inspired by our Olympic athletes and that they will continue to be involved in snowsports once the games are over.
Tim Fawke, CEO of Snowsport England, said of the campaign, "With Sochi 2014 on the horizon and a continued buzz around the country after 2012, we believe there has never been a better time to engage people in snowsports than now. Skiing and snowboarding are two of the most exhilarating sports and we hope by offering value for money, all inclusive sessions as part of GO SKI GO BOARD we can give more people the chance to give the sports a go - whether it is their first time or they are trying them again after several years."
It is hoped that together the Sochi Winter Olympics and the GO SKI GO BOARD will raise the profile of snowsports. Any initiative which ensures that beginners have a positive first experience, develop a lifelong love of snowsport, and keep coming back year after year, can only be good news for the ski industry as a whole.