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October 1, 2012

The New York 4th Grade Ski and Ride Program is an outstanding example of programs that keep kids active in winter, teach them new skills that build overall confidence and bring families together in an active environment. The NY Passport program introduces thousands of New York’s students and their parents to skiing and riding, provides them with lifelong snow sports skills and brings them back to ski and ride year after year.

In September 2012, SIA conducted an independent evaluation of the New York 4th Grade Ski and Ride Program as part of an on-going effort to evaluate various programs that help grow snow sports participation in the U.S. market. SIA surveyed more than 5,000 program participants and learned that this program is highly effective in bringing 4th graders and their families into or back into the snow sports marketplace.

As a general “rule of thumb” in the snow sports industry, a participant who slides three days in a season is likely to increase their proficiency to at least intermediate levels. Participants with those skill levels are far more likely to continue participating in snow sports season after season. Students and parents participated in snow sports more often because of the NY Passport program.

  • 20% of students and close to 50% of parents in the program would not have gone skiing or snowboard riding at all without the NY Passport program.
  • 66% of Passport program participants were skiing/riding more than 5 times last season, even with last season’s dearth of snow.
  • Kids who participate in the NY Passport program gain the skills to continue participating at intermediate levels and 98% indicate they plan to ski and/or ride next season. That’s an amazing conversion rate; the industry average for converting beginners to repeat participants is just 18%.

Here’s what some participants in NY Passport said about the program:
“We really enjoyed skiing new places in the passport program that we might not have tried otherwise. My next son will be in 4th grade next year and we look forward to using the passport program again. We were able to ski more because it helped with the cost. Thank you for your wonderful program.”

“We really appreciated the financial break this program offered us – we tried lessons and snowboarding – which we would not have likely tried because of the expense of lessons. Thanks for including Canadians too!”

“I have used this program with all 3 of my children each year they were in 4th grade. I shared the link with their friends who also used it. It was a great way to get some of their fiends involved in the sport.”

Parents with kids in the Passport program re-engage in snow sports. One of the most interesting findings of this program evaluation was how effective the Passport program is in bringing adults and other family members into, or back into the snow sports market. In fact, nearly half of parents surveyed said that they participated in snow sports because their child was involved in the Passport program. More than half of the survey respondents said that 3 or more members of their family participate in snow sports with their NY Passport child. Not only that, NY Passport program participants head to the slopes more than 5 times each season on average.

For more information about the NY Passport Program please contact Scott Brandi, President of I Ski NY, the New York Ski Areas Association at

To obtain a copy of the full report on the Evaluation of the NY Passport program please contact Kelly Davis, SIA Director of Research at 703-506-4224 or by email at