Burton and AASI are celebrating a 20-year partnership growing the sport of snowboarding this year. But rather than focusing on their many shared accomplishments, the two entities are looking to take advantage of even more opportunities in the future.
A new co-produced video, Kids Can Snowboard, recently premiered at the National Ski Areas Association’s Annual Convention in Scottsdale, AZ. Breaking a long held misconception that younger kids are better off hitting the snow on skis before they start riding, the video highlights how advances in education, equipment, and terrain make it easy for any resort to start a LTR (Learn to Ride) program.
“This video highlights an initiative we need to support and better educate resorts about,” said PSIA-AASI CEO Nick Herrin. “Over the last twenty years I think the most exciting thing about working with Burton, Learn to Ride, as well as all of our National Team members is that we’ve brought together the curriculum, the equipment, and the terrain to make the perfect learning environment.”
This allows ski and ride schools to have 3-6-year-old ski and snowboard programs, which will allow more kids to pick which way of sliding appeals most them, and in turn increase overall retention. Simply put, “We shouldn’t be telling the kids what sport to be choosing,” said Herrin.
As the overall number of snowboarders with children has increased from 14 percent to 36 percent, the ability for schools to get on boards at an early age represents a key factor in keeping entire families riding. This new video, which you can see here (and below), will help area managers across the country see how quickly they can introduce new markets to snowsports by supporting kids snowboard instruction programs.
Here, Burton Global Experience Manager Shaun Cattanach talks about the brand’s 20-year partnership with AASI, and the impact of this new program.
Why is this the right time to build a 3-to 6-year-old snowboard programs?
With the continued trend of declining visits and an aging participation base, it’s critical that the industry focus on building a new, sustainable group of participants. Not only will kids give the industry years of participation, the value of their participation is significantly higher (lifetime spend).
What do you feel the Burton and AASI partnership has meant to the sport of snowboarding?
The partnership between Burton and AASI has improved how people learn the sport. Burton utilized key AASI members in the development of the LTR products and programs and we continue to have instructors provide feedback as we create new learning tools.
And, what has been the impact of LTR on the growth of the sport overall?
When LTR first started, the industry retention average was around 10 percent. The resorts that do bring in LTR products and programs all report increased retention and guest satisfaction. There is also increased efficiency in the rental shop, which helps before the guests get out on snow.
- Peter Kray