Let’s face it, getting outside of your comfort zone and trying new things can be hard. Take skiing or snowboarding for example. It requires a specific set of equipment that most people who have never tried it don’t have lying around. For those who aren’t familiar with snow, it can be an intimidating and unfamiliar element. To top it off, there’s an inherent risk of sliding down patches of frozen water with boards strapped to your feet. But, that feeling of making it down your first run is hard to beat! 

How can the industry make the sport more inviting for new skiers and snowboarders? By offering products that make it easy for newcomers to try it out at a welcoming price. At Liftopia, we encourage all resorts to offer learn-to-ski (LTS) packages, which include a lift ticket, equipment rental, and a lesson.

According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), the number of active US skiers (skiers or snowboarders who visit a resort at least once a season) declined from the 2008/09 season to the 2017/18 season . 

Graph of active skier population by year

Over that same period, the share of annual visits from young people (under 18) also declined. During the 2009/10 season, children (12 and under) accounted for 14.6% of annual visitation, and teens (13-17) accounted for 17%. During the 2017/18 season, the share of visits from children dropped to 13.8% and teen visitation dropped to 12.9%. Last season, these figures dropped even further to 13.3% and 12.3%, respectively. 

Looking Ahead

So what does this mean for the ski industry? We can reasonably deduce that the population of active snowsports participants is not only declining, but also aging. To ensure future generations of skiers and snowboarders and the longevity of our sport, we need to work together to entice newcomers to the sport. We believe learn-to-ski packages are a good part of the solution! 

Above, we cited lack of experience, limited access to equipment, and a high price point as a few reasons why new participants may be deterred from trying out the sport. With inclusively priced LTS packages, newcomers can show up confident and prepared and are therefore more likely to have a positive experience. 

How effective are these packages at converting beginners to repeat skiers and snowboarders? 23% of customers who purchased an LTS package on our platform made a subsequent purchase for another ski product. Even more compelling is the fact that 87% of the customers who made a subsequent purchase bought a non-LTS ski product. This indicates that LTS products are effective at both converting novices into repeat customers, and building their confidence / skill set such that they purchase non-beginner products after their initial experience.     

We’re committed to growing our industry together

Liftopia is committed to growing our industry by attracting a new generation of skiers and snowboarders. Partners who sell these packages with us receive a special 1% margin regardless of the channel – it’s practically free! Also, offering these products on Liftopia.com will allow you to expand your marketing reach. With over 85,000 packages sold, these products are popular for both customers and the resorts that offer them. When asked about his LTS sales on the Liftopia program, Jim Tust, GM of Shawnee Mountain Ski Area, commented on why these packages are good for customers.

Lots of newbee day-trippers here,” says Tust. “[A LTS Package] gives them what they need to try the sport. [Offering LTS Packages] allows us to discount with dynamic pricing (price is said to be a major deterrent for trying the sport).” Jim also explained why selling these packages online are good for operational predictability: “Selling through cloud store has been ultra-easy. By selling day specific online, we get a heads up on # of beginner lessons we can anticipate on a given day, we know [the] night before or early that morning what [volume] we can anticipate.”

Last season, Shawnee Mountain sold over 4,000 LTS packages online. That’s over 4,000 new skiers or snowboarders introduced to the sport!  

We’re all in this together!

With a 1% margin and the full service that comes with partnering with Liftopia, offering learn-to-ski products online has never been easier (and cheaper). If you’re interested in helping the ski industry grow by offering LTS products, please email us at partners@liftopia.com.

Post Author: Danny Gold

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