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With over 20 years of experience owning and managing a ski resort, as well as 14 years of experience in organizing ski cross racing programs for athletes from age 3 to World Cup winners, I distilled key factors which allowed my Resort to not only survive, but to become highly successful in its development dynamics, attract young people and convert them to regular customers.

I absolutely agree with President of NSAA Michael Berry who said: “Without an industry-wide effort focused on attracting newer, younger participants and converting them into loyal skiers and riders, ski areas could face dramatic declines in visitation in the not-so distant future.” Hence, it is in our best interest to apply new strategies to attracting and retaining young new athletes.

I would like to introduce you to proven methods that can convert new generations into long-term (and potentially lifelong) participants at your resort.

Surely you have noticed the flash of popularity of Terrain Base Learning programs. Yes, it is attracting new customers to the program and makes them come back again. But this game also has an exciting continuation with far-reaching possibilities.

In 2010 in Vancouver, BC a new level of alpine skiing – Ski Cross – was introduced for the first time in Olympic Games. It brought colossal entertainment for spectators, combining a high level of skiing skills and knowledge with absolute honesty in identifying winners:  the first at the finish line is the winner.  Advanced Ski Resorts in Europe and Canada immediately decided to adopt it for public skiing and began to create ski cross courses for public use. And they were spot on, as Resort’s Visitors were now able to have a new experience, without the risk of large Big Airs, without increasing the speed, without the risk of riding off-slope, and while at the same time receiving almost unlimited horizons for improvement.

This is the yellow level ski cross courses (classification United States Ski Cross (USSX)). Their distinctive feature is that almost all of the obstacles are below the knee in height and have a speed limitation either with steepness of slope or due to course configuration. This is a safe and fun option for adult skiers as well as for kids. It requires much less snow and working hours to build a yellow level ski cross course than a terrain park, but the visitor numbers are increased multifold. Customers experience additional emotions of thrill, similar to those felt at amusement parks such as Disney World or Six Flags.

 How can ski cross yellow level courses benefit your Ski Resort?

1. Ski schools programs can be adjusted to focus on teaching proper overcoming of terrain features.  This will attract to the ski schools new visitors who have never applied for this service before. There are already ready-to-use training program for instructors in the open source.

2. Organizing Ski cross events for the public. These events create a lot of emotions in participants and the audience. These competitions use simplified ski cross rules and attract even more customers to ski schools. In addition, your Resort can apply to host series of such events and become a part of national competition among ski cross amateurs. In this case, the winners of your events will have a chance to continue onto the next round and perform at the Amateur National finals.

3. If your Resort already has a race team, ski cross is a possibility for it to develop in a new direction. Ski cross is an Olympic sport and today it can become a logical continuation of the classic alpine ski program. This makes it possible to increase the number of students who wish to have more variety and novelty in training.

4. Hosting ski cross races attracts advertisers from local businesses to international corporations. Proper operation in this direction invariably leads to additional profits. You can conduct your own events or become a host of one of the USSX National series of ski cross events.

I would like to confirm my words with some key facts of international ski cross courses.

  • One of the biggest car manufacturers, Audi became a title sponsor of Ski Cross World Cup in 2011. Later on they organized Audi Ski Cross Tour and Ski Cross Kids Tour throughout Europe and consequently created 7 Audi Ski Cross Parks at major European ski resorts. Since they have gained major popularity with families and kids, they intend to further expand this network.
  • The last season of X-Games included ski cross in its program.
  • Number of children involved in ski cross in Europe and Canada is growing significantly.
  • The television broadcast of ski cross has a leading rating among other ski disciplines.

We made a huge effort and did a lot of work to create for you the most convenient, understandable and accessible information resources for implementing ski cross at your resorts. We prepared a number of programs for training athletes at all levels of skill and experience to supply you with all necessary resources for the development of ski cross on your Resort.

We are United States Ski Cross (USSX) and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.

If you are interested to receive more information, please contact me personally at sergey@ussx.org

Faithfully yours,

Sergey Khlop

President United State Ski Cross (USSX)

http://ussx.org/

sergey@ussx.org

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