DENVER -- The boom in family travel has not gone unnoticed by the
ski industry, which this year is giving travel agents who sell ski
a marketing boost from an unlikely source: the kids themselves.
The WinterKids program, promoted in conjunction with the Ski
Tour Operators Association (Skitops), a group of 20 independently
owned travel companies, and the National Ski Areas Association
(NSAA), is creating programs to get school-age children on the
"We have to do everything we can to introduce kids to winter
sports," said Bruce Rosard, Skitops representative and president of
Moguls Mountain Travel in Boulder, Colo.
Rosard said the program is not aimed solely at destination
resorts but also at smaller ski areas. "Look at the number of
schools that are within three hours of ski slopes," he said. "We're
not talking about just rural communities; we're talking about major
metropolitan areas in every region."
Skitops is working with the NSAA, which represents 326 alpine
resorts throughout the U.S., to establish pilot programs between
public schools and nearby ski areas this season.
The NSAA is promoting WinterKids by asking its members to
distribute a 140-page teacher's curriculum and student handbooks to
schools in their respective areas.
The goal, according to Carla Marcus, WinterKids executive
director, is to promote knowledge of winter ecology, science, math,
art, cardiovascular health, history and nutrition while also
teaching kids alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing,
touring, snowshoeing, ice-skating and tobogganing.
The program is the nationwide incarnation of an educational
program operating in Maine's public schools that works with
educators to incorporate winter sports into their curricula.
A list of participating ski areas is in the works, Rosard said.
He suggested that Skitops members come up with discounted packages
and bus transportation to and from the ski areas as added
incentives to the program.
For more details, visit www.skitops.com, www.nsaa.org or www.winterkids.org.
To contact reporter Felicity Long, send e-mail to [email protected].