With women making 80%+ of the household purchasing decisions and consumer purchases, the snow sports industry is working hard to make snow sports more accessible to a variety of women. Women represent 38% of snow sports participants and retailers across the country are taking a special effort to engage them in the sport and teach them about products.
Since Willi’s Ski Shop at Seven Spring Resort started hosting the women’s program called Winter Divas four seasons ago, the participation base for its Winter Divas Wednesdays has grown to 200 representing women ages 28-72, with 40-60 women attending each week. Whether it is a chance to demo product, meet hardgoods managers, race for charity or enjoy the tailgate and raffle at the end of the day, Winter Divas always knows how to draw a crowd. In between Wednesdays, Kjerstin Klein who manages marketing for Willi’s, posts product questionnaires and upcoming event details to the group’s Facebook page.
“We have been busy providing insight to more and more companies,” said Klein. “Reps looking to improve understanding of their market and design teams searching for more consumer input have connected with the Winter Divas for insight. Our goal is to bridge the gap between the design process and the end user.”
Klein says that Winter Divas’ base in Western Pennsylvania, which has a mixed rural, urban, conservative and liberal population, make her believe that what she learns with the Winter Divas could be applied to other markets.
“The Winter Divas have the unique ability to act as a concise microcosm of the whole – it is a super way to gather valuable data and I’m hoping the work we have put in will have a positive impact on the industry,” Klein said.
Winter Divas encourages education, taking women to parts of the mountain they wouldn’t otherwise visit, hosting them at round table discussions and inviting them to the industry’s demo day at Seven Springs. The Winter Divas push the limits of their tear at the terrain park and NASTAR course and can appreciate all that it is capable of. Klein teaches the women how to demo effectively, giving them the language they need to describe their experience on the product so that their feedback can be useful to reps and retailers.
Hoigaard’s Outdoor Women
Thirteen members of the Hoigaard’s Outdoor Women (HOW) group organized by Hoigaard’s in Minneapolis, Minn. just returned from a weeklong ski trip to Breckenridge, Colo, one of many women’s outdoor events Hoigaard’s hosts year-round.
“Based on our mission to ‘create, inspire and support the outdoor enthusiast,’ we began our program in 2006 as a way of reaching out to our female customers,” said Linda Lemke, coordinator for the HOW program. “It is an opportunity for women to be active in the outdoors in a fun, social and safe environment.”
Winter activities include downhill Sunday Bunny Club, snowshoe and cross country evenings and special clinics. All women of all skill levels and experience are welcome to join the activities at no charge, unless there is a fee for the activity. Hoigaard’s provides the equipment if the women don’t have their own.
“HOW is relationship marketing at its best. It allows us to introduce newcomers, welcome women back to outdoor activities who have no one to go play with, and challenge those who are already active,” said Lemke. “It is all about embracing women as outdoor enthusiasts and creating personal relationships between women and Hoigaards that bring them into our shop for their outdoor needs.”
Outdoor Divas in Boulder, Colo. goes above and beyond to promote women in snow sports by hosting its Women’s Demo Day at Loveland the first Thursday of the month December through April. The shop invites all of its customers, social media followers and anyone at Loveland the day of to join in the demo and enjoy the Loveland lift ticket discount with demo admission. The Outdoor Divas staff offers its own fleet of demo skis on-site with the most popular sizes for women.
“Giving access to women to try a number of different skis gives them more confidence to make their purchase,” said Kim Walker of Outdoor Divas. “We give them an opportunity to experience the product first hand in a fun, comfortable and supportive environment.”
Outdoor Divas also shares its women-product expertise by coordinating private demo days for women’s programs and clubs.