There’s never been a better time for kids to hit the slopes — especially with Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month’s recent partnership with the U.S. Forest Service to encourage skiing and snowboarding, complete with the chance to establish a world record for the largest single day for ski and snowboard lessons.
The world-record attempt and a “Bring a Friend” promotion are ways to help promote the benefits of outdoor recreation in the winter and to highlight the availability to world-class winter sports on lands managed by the Forest Service.
About 25 percent – 122 of 473 – of ski/snowboard areas in the U.S. are on all or part of national forests, according to agency statistics. Downhill skiing is the second most popular activity visitors participate in on national forests, with walking and hiking the No. 1 activity. This winter season, the Forest Service is encouraging the public to get outside and play on their national Forests by learning how to ski or snowboard.
The Forest Service has a long history with the snow sports industry. Today, those federal lands account for 23 million skier visits on 180,000 skiable acres. Skiing on Forest Service-managed lands also contributes $3 billion in local communities.
“We are excited to once again partner with Learn to Ski and Snowboard 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.
The Forest Service and partners like Learn to Ski and Snowboard work together reach people who might not ordinarily venture to the national forests in winter. The agency’s Junior Snow Ranger is 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. Cornerstone of the program is a colorful publication that highlights safety, wildlife, winter ecology, recreation, and the sheer joy of being outside in the winter.
Learn to Ski and Snowboard month has to kicked off a series of programs designed to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy winter on their national forest:
• Bring a Friend & #FirstDayFaces: The Bring a Friend initiative encourages newcomers to take lessons from trained professionals and rewards those who help them. First Day Faces encourages newcomers to post photos of their “first day face” to social media using the hashtag #FirstDayFaces.
• Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Ski and Snowboard Lesson: This event is for those who want their chance to be a part of making history. During January, many locations throughout the U.S. will offer special learning deals for beginners. This year, the effort includes a unique event at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, that could set a Guinness Book of World Records for the Largest Number of Ski and Largest Snowboard Lessons taught in one day. The focus will be on beginner lessons. Of the 160-plus locations signed up to participate, many are on a National Forest.
Participating in the event is easy at many resorts located on National Forests throughout the west. California boasts of 24 ski areas located on National Forests – more ski/snowboard areas on than any other state. Sixteen of these 24 are hosting a World’s Largest Lesson event. Terrain also spills over into Nevada at three locations.
Colorado ranks a close second with 22 ski/snowboard areas on Forest Service land. Twelve of these areas are hosting a World’s Largest Lesson event. Nine of those are in the White River National Forest, location for the 2015 FIS World Alpine Ski Championships. Seven other states with FS ski/snowboard areas are hosting the World’s Largest Lesson and are listed below.
So far, the following ski/snowboard areas have signed up to host a World’s Largest Lesson event:
• California:Alpine Meadows/Squaw, Bear Mountain, Bear Valley. Boreal, Heavenly, Homewood, June Mountain, Kirkwood, Mammoth, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Mt Shasta, Mountain High, Snow Summit, Snow Valley, Tahoe-Donner
• Colorado: Arapahoe Basin, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Buttermilk, Copper, Keystone, Powderhorn, Snowmass, Steamboat, Sunlight, Vail, Winter Park
• New Hampshire: Attitash, Loon, Waterville Valley, Wildcat
• New Mexico:Ski Apache
• Nevada:Diamond Peak, Heavenly, Homewood
• Oregon:Mt Ashland, Mt Bachelor, Mt Hood Meadows, Mt Hood Ski Bowl
• Utah:Snowbasin, Snowbird, Brian Head, Brighton, Solitude, Alta
• Vermont:Bromley, Mt Snow
• Washington: 49 Degrees North, Lookout Pass, Mission Ridge, Ski Bluewood, Stevens Pass, Summit-at-Snoqualmie, White Pass
• Wyoming:Grand Targhee