Model for Growth

Model for Growth


Why is a growth model needed? 

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In order for the ski and snowboard industry to grow the sport, it is necessary to overcome unfavorable
demographic trends, time poverty, increased alternative leisure activities and an overweight population
need to be addressed.

What demographic trends?

19% of skiers and snowboarders continue in the sport long-term. Millennial and Gen X participants ski and ride less than prior generations.

What are ski areas doing to combat this?

Resorts have responded by developing a variety of "hardware" methods to combat these issues: state-of-
the-art learning centers, ticket, lesson and equipment deals, increased attention to beginner equipment
and employee incentives. In return, more first timers are trying snowsports. In fact, trial has actually
maxed at a number of resorts near urban centers, especially during peak times.

So what’s the problem?

While these tangible efforts are encouraging, conversion has emerged as the predominant roadblock in  the industry's ultimate goal of growing the sport by 10 percent.

What is being done?

Growing participation is a top priority for ski areas. Outlined below is a timeline of initiatives that have taken place in the last 20 years. From the Cookbook of Strategies for Beginner Conversion (new version released in January 2018) to the successful Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, this industry issue is the focus of everyone’s attention.

That being said, there is still plenty of work to be done and there is no “silver bullet”. The solution is consistent work by every segment of the ski industry, pulling together to reach a common goal. Each and every product, promotion and new skier that is converted is a step in the right direction. Simultaneously, NSAA continues to review the data and is working to develop new findings and tools to assist members with this challenge.

History of the Growth Model

2000 The Model for Growth was introduced as a method for critically analyzing the future of the
ski/snowboard industry.

2002 A panel of key ski school managers and probe learning programs and experiences to understand specifically what techniques and procedures worked best from a teaching and conversion standpoint. A panel of recent consumers was separately convened. The ideas and recommendations generated by the professionals and consumer groups were synthesized into a detailed Conversion Cookbook (member only access)   that was distributed to a limited number of test sites.

2003   Beginner Research Findings  (member only access)

2004  Findings from the NSAA test sites  (member only access)

2006   The Way We Grow

2008  Future Demographics Series Supplement

2009  Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month introduced as the “trial component” of the Model’s Trial and Conversion formula.

2011 Conversion Cup Challenge introduced. The Challenge is a competition among member ski areas that awards the ski area with the best conversion program. Conversion being the process of turning beginner skiers and riders into repeat customers, and ultimately lifelong enthusiasts of the sport. 

2013 NSAA endorses PHIT America. PHIT America is a cause and campaign dedicated to increasing physical activity and fitness to improve the health of America.

2015 The Beginner Conversion Study is launched. It is a multi-year research project providing the industry with critical information about the behavior of first-time skiers and snowboarders. The research is based on surveys of new skiers and riders over a period of time.

2017 The Path to Growth (member only access)  published. NSAA analyzes decades of research data and identifies 8 key challenges facing the future of the ski industry, including demographics and participation. The booklet provides ski area operators a tool to better understand the concerns and areas of opportunity for action.

2018 Where are we today?

Conversion continues to be a challenge. Collectively we have inched forward and convert 19% of beginners compared to 15% in 2000. There are many resorts and ski areas who have done substantial work on this front. An updated Conversion Cookbook (member only access)  is now available with discussion and strategies for areas to consider as they develop their conversion efforts.

Conversion Case Studies highlight some of the work being done in the industry.

Learn to Ski and Snowboard MonthLSSM Logo

• Each year, this program sees more participation form ski areas and consumers who want to try the sport.
• At the end of January 2018 we expect to have taught over 900,000 lessons during Learn to Ski and Snowboard month since its inception in 2009. From 2009-2017,  870,000 lessons were taught.
• Since its inception, the initiative has pumped up to $14 million dollars into the industry.
• During January 2018, over 100 ski resorts offer over 140 offers to consumers.