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87% of beginners FAIL! - Page 4

post #91 of 134

You know, there is a simple solution to the problem: indoor ski slopes.

 

When I first moved here and went to one, I thought they were scary as hell (full of people who had no clue what they were doing). But, I soon saw the brilliance in them. You can put them in population centers that are far from the mountains, which means that people who don't live near the mountains can learn or practice without taking days off work and investing huge amounts of money. They can drive over on the weekend, ski for a couple of hours, grab a bite to eat, do some shopping, and then drive home. Also, the costs are lower because equipment rental and lift tickets are for short periods of time rather than entire days (be honest, how many beginners can make it through an entire day of skiing without discomfort, let alone several days in a row). On top of that, the conditions are controlled, so there are no blizzards, high winds, or extreme cold, and they can run year round.

 

In the end, for most people skiing is something they would do while on vacation, which means giving up other potential options (going to the beach, going to Disneyland, etc.). If they're not good at skiing, they won't enjoy it enough to choose it again over all the other options. But, if they are able to learn with regular lessons in their local area, then their first trip to a real resort will be far more enjoyable and they'll get hooked. Anytime people around here ask me about skiing, I always tell them to learn at the indoor slopes so that they'll be able to fully enjoy the experience once they go on a proper ski trip.

 

I usually go for a couple of hours once a month with a buddy of mine in the off season. It only costs about £30 (roughly $50) for two hours, and that includes both the equipment rental and the lift ticket.

post #92 of 134

If "indoor" were the only option, I don't think I'd bother at all......

 

A large part of skiing for me is being out on the mountain

post #93 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

According to statistics presented at the NSAA Meeting at San Antonio yesterday, "87% of first time skiers do not return."

 

That's a tasty stat, but I wonder...

 

How does it compare to other active sports?

Does this statistic represent a worsening in the retention of beginner skiers?

Why do so few people who try skiing stay with it? 

What can be done about it?

Is the fact that the sport only retains around 15% of people who try a bad or a good thing for current skiers?

 

What do you think? 

 

Getting back to the original posting, the answers to some of Nolo's questions can only come from an exit pole.  Ski areas should have all the "Never-Evers" at the conclusion of their lesson (or lessons depending upon the package)  fill out a brief survey and comment card to find out the reasons they intend to--or not intend to-- return to the sport.  I am surprised ski areas don't do this since the cost of getting a customer is so high.

post #94 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post

If "indoor" were the only option, I don't think I'd bother at all......

 

A large part of skiing for me is being out on the mountain

 

Trust me. When you live many hours away from the mountains and you only get to go a couple of weeks a year, you want to enjoy that time as much as possible. So, doing a 30 minute drive to get in a couple of hours on the indoor slope throughout the summer is worth it (anything more than 2 gets flat out boring). That way, you can hit the ground running (or sliding) when you finally do make it to the mountains.

 

But more importantly than that, it's a much better way for beginners to learn. Instead of waiting all year long and then trying to learn to ski in one week, they can go to the local indoor slope many times and ease their way in. They don't have to worry about lodging, expensive food, bad conditions, and so on. They just drive over, do a lesson for an hour or two, and then head home for the day.

post #95 of 134

As someone who's been living in the UK for a number of years now, those indoor slopes are like my ski-methadone. Except they don't get me off skiing. So like poorly administered ski-methadone.

They definitely help people who don't have time to practice much in real conditions get slope and freestyle technique right. Although I don't think they raise the number of people who stick with the sport, just because they still need to put the practice and effort in.


They're fine for weekly practice, something different to the gym everyday.

post #96 of 134

While all of the comments about ill-fitting boots, etc. are all true, I think one thing that has been overlooked is the awkward factor.

 

When you're first getting started, skiing is damn awkward.  And I don't just mean the actual skiing.  Walking in the boots while carrying skis and poles while bundled up in lots of layers and bulky clothing, big gloves, goggles, maybe with a helmet on your head.  The getup is not intuitive to feeling athletic and there's some adjustment period before it all feels completely normal and you forget about it and become "yourself" again.  Some people are so happy to get out of all that crap that they don't want to put it all back on.

post #97 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

While all of the comments about ill-fitting boots, etc. are all true, I think one thing that has been overlooked is the awkward factor.

 

When you're first getting started, skiing is damn awkward.  And I don't just mean the actual skiing.  Walking in the boots while carrying skis and poles while bundled up in lots of layers and bulky clothing, big gloves, goggles, maybe with a helmet on your head.  The getup is not intuitive to feeling athletic and there's some adjustment period before it all feels completely normal and you forget about it and become "yourself" again.  Some people are so happy to get out of all that crap that they don't want to put it all back on.

 

 

Awkward, cold, wet, painful, and a great big hassle.  You have to feel the pull of skiing to return.  Before I ever skied, I knew from watching Wide World of Sports that I must get past all hurdles and participate in this sport...I never needed convincing. 


Edited by Abox - 5/14/12 at 1:47pm
post #98 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

While all of the comments about ill-fitting boots, etc. are all true, I think one thing that has been overlooked is the awkward factor.

 

When you're first getting started, skiing is damn awkward.  And I don't just mean the actual skiing.  Walking in the boots while carrying skis and poles while bundled up in lots of layers and bulky clothing, big gloves, goggles, maybe with a helmet on your head.  The getup is not intuitive to feeling athletic and there's some adjustment period before it all feels completely normal and you forget about it and become "yourself" again.  Some people are so happy to get out of all that crap that they don't want to put it all back on.

So true. Although I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum these days: I feel awkward without ski boots and skis on my feet.

 

But to what JayT speaks, this is where a killer instructor comes into play. If the instructor can make you forget the awkwardness and instill a serious sense of fun into the mix that helps a bunch.  As an instructor myself I am all too aware that I am usually the first line of defense (or is it offense) in getting a person to want to continue skiing. I tend to pepper my lessons with lots of tips on how to survive the awkwardness: how to walk in boots, how to properly and easily carry one's skis, how to walk up/down stairs, checking to make sure that socks are pulled up and that ski pants are not tucked into the boots, properly fitting boots for the client and if they are renting gear and express an interest post-lesson in seriously taking up the sport then I offer up equipment suggestions and shop recommendations, both local in Tahoe and also in the Bay Area. Making somebody comfortable in an awkward situation (i.e. skiing for the first time) can go a long way to keeping them involved in the sport. With kids, my area of "expertise", it's easy: just make everything fun and a game; with adults you have to keep it lively and drop the helpful tips throughout the day, keeping it simple, but enjoyable. Me, I tell everybody, kids and adults alike, that I'm not a technically minded instructor, I'm more about mileage and getting out and about the hill. If they wish for me to drop technical jargon, sure I can do that til I'm blue in the face, but I'd rather just get them out on the hill and skiing. That tact has worked well for me and given me a lot of referrals and return clients over the past 3 years. In fact our ski school motto is SFL: Safety, Fun, and Learning. Keep the guest safe, insure that they have a good time, and ultimately learning will follow. 

 

Ultimately, however, skiing is like any other endeavor: some people try it and immediately love it. Others try it and can take it or leave it (i.e. they will probably try it again, but it's not a top priority so they might only try it again if a group of friends does it or the like). And still others will try it and hate it. Que sera sera.

 

Additionally, a slant that I don't think has been brought up here is the responsibility of the client/guest. I feel that whether or not a person ends up falling in love with skiing is not only dependent on the experience they have in their lesson/with their instructor, but it's also how prepared they were. Did they do a little research about skiing before they decided to trek to the mountains? Did they check out the website of the resort they are going to? Did they do just a minimal amount of research about what type of basic gear they would need to make their experience more enjoyable (proper socks, waterproof ski pants and jacket, long underwear, goggles, sunscreen, etc.?). Most ski resorts have a page with a checklist of what first timers will need for a lesson. Sure, it can seem expensive, but also the vast majority of resorts will rent you the gear (pants, jacket, helmet, goggles) for a nominal fee. Sure, it's my responsibility as an instructor to insure that every one of my students has a safe and fun time, but it's also the responsibility of those students to show up somewhat prepared. And in this day and age of Interweb immediacy, there is no excuse for somebody to show up for a ski lesson in the middle of January in shorts and a tank top with ankle socks! If you have time to check your emails, text your BFF that you're up in the mountains and about to go skiing, etc., then you have ample time to pop onto the Webz and Google "What equipment do I need when learning to ski" or "What should I know before learning to ski?"

 

With the ease and access of the Webz, it should be a no-brainer for folks to take a few minutes to scout out and prep for their adventure. If not web savvy, then at least call the ski area you are planning to visit and ask them some questions.  

 

Heading to the mountains to learn to ski should be no different than planning a trip to Disney World or Nepal: you do some quick research on the Webz about where you are going so that you are basically prepared for what to expect when you get there. 


Edited by dookey67 - 5/14/12 at 4:40pm
post #99 of 134

The schlepping is more than annoying.

Newbies have gotta really want to ski - to carry all that stuff around, put it somewhere while they're outside, and collect it and take it back at night, while spending huge amounts of money.  The on-snow experience needs to be GREAT, and if it isn't great, at least its promise of future greatness needs to be perceptible.

post #100 of 134
Quote:

Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post

 

I tend to pepper my lessons with lots of tips on how to survive the awkwardness: how to walk in boots, how to properly and easily carry one's skis, how to walk up/down stairs, checking to make sure that socks are pulled up and that ski pants are not tucked into the boots, properly fitting boots for the client ...[snip] ...Making somebody comfortable in an awkward situation (i.e. skiing for the first time) can go a long way to keeping them involved in the sport.

 

Of course there are many more awkwardnesses, including things like getting up at the crack of dawn, the necessity (sometimes) of strategizing about lift navigation for crowd avoidance, and negotiating chaotic base lodges. (A friend of a friend, shuddering, describes a ski lodge as "a cross between a school cafeteria and a locker room".)

 

To me Dookey67's approach to helping students through all this makes total sense, but the opposite perspective comes from my spouse, whose attitude is that any activity that requires you to pay THAT much attention to what you might call meta-activities is such a profound and deterministic downer that it's irrelevant how fun the actual activity might be.

post #101 of 134

Most of the one-timers that I've known were the type who were allergic to adrenaline, as in the slightest flow of the stuff in their bodies put them into full panic mode. These types have no business even trying something like skiing.

 

Of those who can handle the adrenaline flow, there needs to be some way of offsetting the cold, the expense and the ill-fitting rental boots so that they have an experience worth repeating.

 

I twisted a knee my first time and spent the next week limping around school with an Ace bandage. The sloppy-fitting lace-up leather boots and the cable bindings somehow didn't deter me, either. After a couple of weeks to mend the knee, I went back for more. I felt I had the potential to become at least sorta good at it.

 

Part of it might be lack of confidence that they can ever get to the point of being at least somewhat competent. If they aren't convinced that they can improve significantly, it might encourage them to quit while they're ahead, instead of accepting a new challenge or opportunity.

post #102 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukas View Post

As someone who's been living in the UK for a number of years now, those indoor slopes are like my ski-methadone. Except they don't get me off skiing. So like poorly administered ski-methadone.

They definitely help people who don't have time to practice much in real conditions get slope and freestyle technique right. Although I don't think they raise the number of people who stick with the sport, just because they still need to put the practice and effort in.


They're fine for weekly practice, something different to the gym everyday.

 

I would have thought they would help. For example, if a beginner takes lessons over the course of several weekends leading up to a proper trip to the mountains, I'd have thought having the ability to fully enjoy that first trip (rather than being stuck on the bunny slopes all week) would have them hooked.

 

Or, do they just give up after the first lesson on the indoor slope rather than after one week at a resort?

post #103 of 134
post #104 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

 whose attitude is that any activity that requires you to pay THAT much attention to what you might call meta-activities is such a profound and deterministic downer that it's irrelevant how fun the actual activity might be.

 

Wow.    I can't say I've run into that before.

post #105 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post

 

I would have thought they would help. For example, if a beginner takes lessons over the course of several weekends leading up to a proper trip to the mountains, I'd have thought having the ability to fully enjoy that first trip (rather than being stuck on the bunny slopes all week) would have them hooked.

 

Or, do they just give up after the first lesson on the indoor slope rather than after one week at a resort?

Perhaps a parital solution is to teach beginners in the summer and hope they come back in the winter?  This assumes there are other things to do at the resort so that it is profitable to stay open throughout the year.

 

4290_5_lg[1].jpg

post #106 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

Perhaps a parital solution is to teach beginners in the summer and hope they come back in the winter?  This assumes there are other things to do at the resort so that it is profitable to stay open throughout the year.

 

That seems like it simply expands the opportunities offered but doesn't affect the retention rate.     

post #107 of 134

I think part of the retention rate is due to the incovenience of skiing for most people. If they have to take several days off work, travel for hours, and spend loads of money just to be stuck on the bunny slopes at the bottom of the mountain, then they probably won't go back for more. But, if they only have to do a short drive, which they can do on the weekend, and spend a reasonably small amount of money to ski in controlled conditions, maybe they'll be more likely to work their way through the learning process.

 

That's just a theory though. I only know one person here who went through the whole learning process on indoor slopes. He's enjoyed it and is looking forward to a proper trip to the mountains now.

post #108 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by quant2325 View Post

Perhaps a parital solution is to teach beginners in the summer and hope they come back in the winter?  This assumes there are other things to do at the resort so that it is profitable to stay open throughout the year.

 

4290_5_lg[1].jpg

Where is this?

post #109 of 134

The "adrenaline avoidance" issue may not be something that can be fixed, and it'll be an intrinsic limiting factor for some sports. Skiing, skate boarding, surfing, hang gliding, scuba diving, car racing, climbing, ski diving, motorcycling come to mind. It's innate; we're born with differences in how much physiological activation/risk we find pleasurable. Measurable shortly after birth. And if you're on Epic, bet you've already tried/plan to try several of the above. 

 

Also gender differences in risk taking that may be a mix of learned and innate (yep, some interesting evolutionary models of why it pays females to avoid more risk, males to take more). And of course age factors in. Falling at 6 may be a trivial risk, not so trivial at 60. If you're not decent by the time you're old enough to care about falling, bet you're highly unlikely to continue. Even I lost interest in skiing for several hormonally-directed teenage years, partly because my interest was on what all my friends were doing, and partly because I became allergic to looking uncool. Bottom line: Unless they were raised by skiers, or fell in with school friends who skied, most of the world's adults would rather stick to golf or watching other people play games for money. 

 

IMO this, just as much as the weather and cost and awkwardness, means we are and always will be a niche sport. Not a bad thing, but again, makes judging the numbers and targets hard. One size business model does not fit all. 

post #110 of 134

When I first read this, I was agreeing wholeheartedly.  Then realized I am a 60 year old female who has tried (nor wants to try) none of those sports, learned 40 years ago at a late enough age that falling has always been a real fear, and didn't have parents that approved (let alone tried) the sport.  I guess I WANTED to have friends who did the sport?  Clearly I am an outlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

The "adrenaline avoidance" issue may not be something that can be fixed, and it'll be an intrinsic limiting factor for some sports. Skiing, skate boarding, surfing, hang gliding, scuba diving, car racing, climbing, ski diving, motorcycling come to mind. It's innate; we're born with differences in how much physiological activation/risk we find pleasurable. Measurable shortly after birth. And if you're on Epic, bet you've already tried/plan to try several of the above. 

 

Also gender differences in risk taking that may be a mix of learned and innate (yep, some interesting evolutionary models of why it pays females to avoid more risk, males to take more). And of course age factors in. Falling at 6 may be a trivial risk, not so trivial at 60. If you're not decent by the time you're old enough to care about falling, bet you're highly unlikely to continue. Even I lost interest in skiing for several hormonally-directed teenage years, partly because my interest was on what all my friends were doing, and partly because I became allergic to looking uncool. Bottom line: Unless they were raised by skiers, or fell in with school friends who skied, most of the world's adults would rather stick to golf or watching other people play games for money. 

 

IMO this, just as much as the weather and cost and awkwardness, means we are and always will be a niche sport. Not a bad thing, but again, makes judging the numbers and targets hard. One size business model does not fit all. 

post #111 of 134

So...87% of all beginners don't have enough ADHD to succeed at skiing.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

The "adrenaline avoidance" issue may not be something that can be fixed, and it'll be an intrinsic limiting factor for some sports. Skiing, skate boarding, surfing, hang gliding, scuba diving, car racing, climbing, ski diving, motorcycling come to mind. It's innate; we're born with differences in how much physiological activation/risk we find pleasurable. Measurable shortly after birth. And if you're on Epic, bet you've already tried/plan to try several of the above. 

 

Also gender differences in risk taking that may be a mix of learned and innate (yep, some interesting evolutionary models of why it pays females to avoid more risk, males to take more). And of course age factors in. Falling at 6 may be a trivial risk, not so trivial at 60. If you're not decent by the time you're old enough to care about falling, bet you're highly unlikely to continue. Even I lost interest in skiing for several hormonally-directed teenage years, partly because my interest was on what all my friends were doing, and partly because I became allergic to looking uncool. Bottom line: Unless they were raised by skiers, or fell in with school friends who skied, most of the world's adults would rather stick to golf or watching other people play games for money. 

 

IMO this, just as much as the weather and cost and awkwardness, means we are and always will be a niche sport. Not a bad thing, but again, makes judging the numbers and targets hard. One size business model does not fit all. 

post #112 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post

So...87% of all beginners don't have enough ADHD to succeed at skiing.

 

Collectively, ADHD, not wanting to spend the energy and time to improve, being in such poor shape it is nearly impossible for them ,not being able to afford such an expensive hobby and by having a poor first experience because of the previous four and /or being led into a negative experience by poor leadership and guidance by the paid or unpaid instructor.

 

 

What can be done to prepare them for a better experience. ?

 

 

Disclosure in rentals and at the ski school desk that this is a winter sport and proper clothing and the learning process is an athletic endeavor. We must expend  energy and use some muscular strength so a basic level of health is necessary.

 

Making available cheap lessons by first timers such as the 123EZ Ski programs .

 

Using experienced instructors to serve the needs of first timers to get them on a good path  and for people to make use of entry programs that make lessons with professionals a doable option.

 

 

so we do some or most of these things already at a lot of ski/ride areas and doing them well can lower the attrition rate but as a comparison  I wonder what percentage of folks who live in reasonable proximity to a ski area even dare to give it a try. I think much less than 13 %.

 

Maybe 13% is a good number ?

post #113 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantunamunch View Post

So...87% of all beginners don't have enough ADHD to succeed at skiing.

 

Seriously. You could make an argument 87% are too sane and normal to want to slide down snowfields at speeds faster than residential speed limits. With bumps considered part of the fun instead of suspension wreckers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GarryZ View Post

Using experienced instructors to serve the needs of first timers to get them on a good path  and for people to make use of entry programs that make lessons with professionals a doable option.

 

Maybe 13% is a good number ?

Agree with most everything you say, want to underscore the bit about using the best teachers for the newbies. That's how they do it in the colleges that have the best reputations for teaching undergrads. (And no, that would not include most Ivy's). 

 

Personally, given the demands that skiing asks of us, I think 13% is stellar. popcorn.gif

post #114 of 134

Some people are meant to ski, some are not...The group that falls in neither depends more on the people that make the experience wonderful and continue to make it wonderful until they are hooked and want to share the same experience.  It is not about the instructors (while important) but the friends and family the make the enjoyment happen even thought the learning curve can be difficult.

 

Part of the experience that us jaded experienced individuals sometime forget, is the snow flake on the tree, the tracks in the snow, the sun shine reflecting off the slopes or what ever.  Share that part of the experience, make it the most important part,and the rest just falls in line.

 

Skiing, sailing, hiking or anything in life.  Don't forget what really hooked you, and you can hook almost anyone else.

post #115 of 134
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Unless they were raised by skiers, or fell in with school friends who skied, most of the world's adults would rather stick to golf or watching other people play games for money. 

Beyond, I think you've got it. The personal connection is what makes skiing stick, when it sticks.

 

Maybe the resorts should sponsor a "Take a Buddy" promotion where for each new skier you bring to the area for the beginner lesson you earn x many points toward a season pass the following year, and each time "your" new skier returns that season will add x number of points to your tally.

post #116 of 134

The reason NSAA is so hung up on the 13% retention is that they have modeled the industry and done some demographic analysis. They've run the numbers going forward and what came out was a net decline in skier visits at a rate that spelled big trouble for the industry. So they developed a "model for growth" that had 2 main aspects for changing decline into growth: increasing the "conversion rate" of first time skiers into skiers and improving the retention rate of existing skiers. These are relatively easy numbers to acquire with close enough statistical accuracy. But this is an overly simplistic "yardstick" view of what the model is. Inside the guts of the model is a demographic breakdown by age, sex, ethnicity, etc; a process breakdown and ordering of all the "obstacles" that cause people to either give up the sport or participate less often and a comparison to competing entertainment options. The model includes specific suggestions for improvements that resorts can make to do their part to increase skier conversion and retention. These suggestions are directly tied to the demographics and the obstacles. As one could surmise from the previous 3 pages of discussion here, there is a long list of specific suggestions. When the model for growth was first announced, the retention rate was measured at 15% industry wide (i.e. out of 100 first time skiers, 15 people would return to ski at least 3 days per season - I think I have that definition right).  I had heard that the number had risen to about 16.5 after a few years. I'm surprised the latest number is now down to 13%. If you want to know why these kinds of demographics are important, look at what has happened to the ski industry in Japan since 1990 or racquetball in the US since the 80s. Not only were there dramatic downturns in participation, but in both cases the industry was caught flat footed by the declines and by the time they tried to do something about it, it was too late to stop the carnage.

post #117 of 134

The ski industry continues to fleece it's newcomers, who pay an arm and a leg for a not so fun experience (because it's difficult and awkward at first).  If it were cheaper at the beginning, they'd be a lot more likely to stick with it.  I don't know who does the long term projection and pricing models for much of this industry (Vail in particular but the same applies to the resorts / corporations that follow suit), but they need to go back to business school.  Typical short term quarterly profit thinking - which I like to call "Yahoo-ing"

post #118 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post

The ski industry continues to fleece it's newcomers, who pay an arm and a leg for a not so fun experience (because it's difficult and awkward at first).  If it were cheaper at the beginning, they'd be a lot more likely to stick with it.  I don't know who does the long term projection and pricing models for much of this industry (Vail in particular but the same applies to the resorts / corporations that follow suit), but they need to go back to business school.  Typical short term quarterly profit thinking - which I like to call "Yahoo-ing"

Seems to me lots of resorts have special packages and prices for beginners, both kids and adults.  For example, see this thread.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/112437/colorado-or-utah-lift-ticket-restricted-to-beginners-lifts#post_1464126

 

Of course, few places help with the fact that having appropriate clothing can be an issue for some newbies.  Even in the southeast with lots of folks from places where they never need a jacket for anything under 40 degrees, few places rent outerware.  Wearing rental books with basic athletic socks is not likely to result in comfortable feet.  Or worse yet, two pairs of socks.  I find it interesting that the snowmobile outfits at Yellowstone all have rental snowboots, gloves, etc. available at a pretty reasonable price as an add-on for their day trips.

post #119 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by nolo View Post

Beyond, I think you've got it. The personal connection is what makes skiing stick, when it sticks.

 

Maybe the resorts should sponsor a "Take a Buddy" promotion where for each new skier you bring to the area for the beginner lesson you earn x many points toward a season pass the following year, and each time "your" new skier returns that season will add x number of points to your tally.

This is a seriously good idea. My kids have several friends who'd love to go skiing with them, but the cost and hassle puts off their parents, even though we would provide transportation. Also, I think many parents are worried about what happens if their kid loves the experience. Are they then prepared to commit? Maybe better to just not expose them in the first place. 

 

TheRusty, I appreciate the actual details. Any possibility of getting a link to the report? I'm wondering about a few variables you don't mention: 1) Temporal effects, such as the last 4 years of recession that may have finally reached a point where some are giving up luxury entertainment, 2) Cyclical cultural effects, such as distance from the last Winter Olympics, or what's hot among teens now, contrasted to the peak, 3) Ongoing changes in epidemiological profiles, such as the fact more and more young adults are obese or overweight, increasing sedentary hours per day, and 4) Cyclical climate, such as the terrible winter much ski country just had, which would tend to discourage newbies from trying it out or coming back. (Recall a comment Epic once made that once it was warm enough where people lived to play golf, skiing was over, even if there was plenty of snow up on the slopes.) 

 

Put another way, the usual "status" demographic suspects like age, sex, income, and occupation may not be very useful at explaining total variance in the model. And if they're not, then how did the investigators come up with "obstacles?" 

post #120 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldschoolskier View Post
...................

Part of the experience that us jaded experienced individuals sometime forget, is the snow flake on the tree, the tracks in the snow, the sun shine reflecting off the slopes or what ever.  Share that part of the experience, make it the most important part,and the rest just falls in line.

 

Skiing, sailing, hiking or anything in life.  Don't forget what really hooked you, and you can hook almost anyone else.

I think you've hit on something significant. Forget all the gimmicky promotional schemes. If they love the experience they will come back. Concentrate on the beginning skier's environment and the quality of the experience. Work to make that experience not a grim, scary and possibly humiliating one but an appealing one. Doesn't sound like rocket science but how many ski areas have suitable beginner terrain or terrain for beginners that doesn't have more advanced skiers skiing through it, or places for them to ski that do not invite the (imagined) scorn of experienced skiers? Very few ski areas seem to have large amounts of beginner terrain. All too often that terrain is where they decided to build the parking lot. It's almost as if they didn't want that segment of the business. I can't explain this. You would think the beginner's money would be just as good as the advanced skier's. Possibly ski area management has tried to build their ski areas' reputation and culture around their challenging terrain and they don't actually want people to think of expansive beginner terrain when they think of their resort. So much of the ski area environment suggests to the beginner that they are not really welcome there. They may feel they are an embarrassment, as outsiders and beginners.

 

Cost of skiing is usually brought up to explain the decline of new skier development and the declining retention rate. I think this is a significant factor but it isn't going to be erased by making the beginning experience cheaper. People who would be deterred by the cost may take a lesson on a lark but the experience is not going to suddenly put more money in their pockets. To the degree that people can be "hooked" it is the development of a fondness that becomes a passion.

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