Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month
This month in America, it’s ‘Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month’ – an annual event to encourage children and adults who’ve never skied to come and have a go – with free lessons from professional instructors.
The first Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month took place in January 2008, with just a handful of resorts taking part. Now over 300 American resorts in 33 states are involved. Each offers special Learn to Ski and Snowboard (LSSM) programmes tailored to their resort, with various packages for novices – including such benefits as reduced lift passes, free or considerably-reduced lessons and month-long offers for returning learners. The scheme is not solely for beginners – current skiers/boarders can also brush up their skills with bargain ski lessons. Some states also have incentive programmes running for other snow sports, including cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
The scheme was initiated by America’s National Ski Areas Association and it is endorsed by three US alpine legends, Glen Plake, Daron Rahlves and Bode Miller. World Champion skier Daron Rahlves is the only American to win both the legendary Hahnenkamm Downhill and Super G race in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Having retired from the World Cup racing circuit in 2006, Rahlves works with the academy and ski team at Sugar Bowl Resort, near Lake Tahoe, in California. “Skiing is an amazing feeling and a great way to connect to the mountains. I’ve done it my entire life with my family and friends and it’s a huge part of me”, says Rahlves. “Once you ski or snowboard down a mountain, your life will change.”
When Bode Miller, Olympic gold medallist and World Cup champion, and the most successful American ski-racer of all time first became an ambassador, he remarked: “I’m really pleased to be working with Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month to encourage … this programme makes it easy for anyone to take some lessons and get some exercise out on the snow.”
Extreme skier Glen Plake is easily the most recognisable character in skiing, with his trademark Mohawk hair and his diamond studded tooth. A world-renowned freestyle skier, best known for his dare-devil appearances in extreme ski films, each winter he travels across America encouraging children and adults to enjoy snow sports. Last year, he even took his PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) Level 1 certification exams so he could instruct more youngsters. “I want everyone to get out there and have fun on the snow, like I do”, says Glen. “You don’t have to be that good; you just have to enjoy yourself.”
If these three US-skiing superstars have inspired you to head for the slopes, go to www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org/where-to-go to find out what’s on near you, to search for offers in your local resort, or check out the events on offer by state.