FIS hopes World Snow Day will combat participation decline
In the latest Autumn Meeting, the date for the third annual FIS World Snow Day was set at Jan. 19, 2014. The event, an extension of the ‘Bring Children to the Snow’ campaign first launched in 2009, has been held each winter since 2012 to encourage all-around participation in snow sports to combat its global decline.
“Each and every season we see children taking to snow sports for the first time. Whether they will grow up to be top skiers is not what matters – what we want is to watch them grow with skiing and snowboarding as part of their lives,” said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper in reference to the event.
World Snow Day is the second phase of the ‘Bring Children to the Snow’ campaign. The first phase of the campaign, called SnowKidz, was launched in 2009 and aims to encourage FIS national ski associations to promote snow sports within their countries. World Snow Day, however, looks beyond the FIS membership to the snow sports community at-large. It seeks to motivate children ages 4-14 by encouraging all stakeholders around the world to simultaneously celebrate winter sport on a single day each year.
“For the past 100 years FIS has aimed to uphold the prestige, exhilaration and fairness of competitive skiing and snowboarding. Since a few years, however, we have increasingly focused on countering the decline in participation in snow sports, especially among the young,” noted Kasper. “World Snow Day seeks not only to give the children memories for a lifetime but also hopes to help revive the numbers in snow sports participation.”
In the United States alone, snow sport participation has been on the decline in recent years. According to the Physical Activity Council (PAC), the 2011/12 ski season saw a 6% decrease in participation in snow sports in the U.S. and data from last winter likely indicate a similar trend.
To spread the message about World Snow Day, the FIS has enlisted the support of its top athletes, including Lara Gut, Carlo Janka, and Americans Sarah Hendrickson, Julia Mancuso, and Leanne Smith to encourage participation in the event. More than 430,000 individuals participated in 2013, and this year the FIS has set a goal of reaching 500,000 participants on World Snow Day.
Video courtesy of FIS