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Ski instructors keep busy with first-time skiers

Allen Best

WHISTLER, B.C. A heavily discounted learn-to-ski promotion at Whistler and Blackcomb yielded 400 takers during its first four days, doubling the number of lessons typically offered by the resort’s ski school during the slow days of February. The package of lift tickets, equipment rentals and lessons cost just $55 US.During the last several years, ski resorts in North America have been more aggressively courting customers, trying to get them over the fearful hump from never-ever to steady skier with more attractive extended lesson beginner packages. Ski industry studies show that visitors are 20 percent more likely to return to a resort if they have taken a ski school lesson.While the demographics of Generation Y are beginning to make skiing look like a good proposition once again, problems remain. First, ski area operators even now depending heavily dependent on Baby Boomers, who are getting older. Second, a greater percentage of Generation Y, who are in their young 20s or younger, are Hispanic or other ethnic groups who have not traditionally been skiers.On becoming the next BanffGOLDEN, B.C. – Golden, a town along the TransCanada Highway just west of the Continental Divide, needs to do a better job of telling the outside world of its considerable virtues, says a prominent tourism promoter there.”We need someone who can get the word out to the world and market us properly,” said Barbara Friedli. She also wants expanded funding for tourism promotion. The Golden Transcript notes that an existing bed tax is levied, but only a minor amount is funneled back to local promotional efforts, with the bulk instead going to regional and provincial promotions.Can Golden be more like Banff and Canmore without becoming more like them? In response to that koan-sounding question, Friedli says yes – Golden won’t be like them, but just the same, she wants to make Golden one of Canada’s premier tourist destinations and put the town on the world map.Vail, Colorado


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