“I’m really excited, because we’re not just setting up the kids to succeed but also setting the coaches up to succeed because they now have this amazing tool to work with to get young kids snowboarding.
“It’s so important to remember that for young kids it is about play. They don’t even know they’re learning.”
Through the years, Jay has developed the reputation as a mountain for serious skiers and riders, — meaning lots of challenging terrain. So so the focus on young and “never ever” boarders is something of a brand expansion.
Said Toland, “We want to get over the idea that you don’t come to Jay Peak unless you’re super-hard-core.”
The park includes two new lifts dedicated to serving novice terrain. Aside from licensing the park, Disney worked out the design specs for the carvings and provided the carvers.
In an industry that relies on new recruits and is experiencing heavy competition, an effort to get ever newer, younger snowboarders is of utmost importance.
“The need is real,” said Toland. ““Every bit of data we see is telling us that if we don’t do a better job bringing new people into the sport, the world of skiing and riding is going to be a drastically different landscape than it is now,” .
“We have a glut of Baby Boomers who will be exiting the sport over the next five to 15 years. And that group is why today you have [a national figure of] 60 million visits. If we don’t do a good job, maybe by 2020 that number will be down to 45 million, and if that happens, there’ll be a lot of bad things going down.
“That’s exactly the point of this partnership and initiative. We want to engage new young boarders on such an emotional level they fall in love with it.”