Utah has the most beautiful, snowiest mountains on earth and world-class resorts, but advocates say the state is lacking in one area: diversity.
It’s an area of improvement that advocates say they are addressing in part thanks to the “Explore Winter” program.
“We know that only 10% of our skiers and snowboarders are non-white participants,” said Raylene Davis, vice president of marketing for Ski Utah. “So we really wanted to welcome these people to our mountains.”
While most ski programs are for kids, this one focuses solely on introducing adults to Utah’s winter sports industry.
“We give them jackets, pants, helmets, goggles, neck warmers, gloves, whatever they need to stay warm,” Davis explains. All equipment, which can be a financial burden for some, is kept free of charge. None of these should be returned.
Program participants are taken to one of Utah’s resorts for a day of winter fun, but they must first dress appropriately.
“They can keep it because we want them to keep skiing and snowboarding,” Davis said. “So they need this equipment to be able to ski and snowboard.”
Last year was the program’s first year, and Davis said it was a huge success.
“We had about 140 participants last year, they took four courses at six stations,” she said. “They liked it so much that at the end of the lesson we gave them a Yeti ticket, which is great for a lift ticket at each of Utah’s 15 ski resorts.” Ski Utah reports two new resorts will join this year, meaning there’s a resort in every canyon around the Wasatch Front for these new skiers and snowboarders.
This year there were 175 participants, and Davis hopes the program will have even greater reach. “What we hope is that the participants will then introduce their friends and family to the sport, which they will then introduce to their friends and family,” she said. “So maybe one day this program won’t need to exist anymore, because we’ll be doing our job to welcome and invite a more multi-ethnic community.”
- Local initiative encourages diversity in winter sports in Utah
- Check all news and articles from the latest Sports news updates.