All About Ski Utah's Discover Winter Program: Skiing & Snowboarding for Everyone

All About Ski Utah's Discover Winter Program: Skiing & Snowboarding for Everyone

Local Lexi

By Local Lexi \ March 11 2024

The acclaimed DISCOVER WINTER program, facilitated by Ski Utah and a number of valued partners, is back for a third season in winter 2023–24. 

Three years ago, Ski Utah and a handful of partner ski resorts debuted a program to improve access to skiing and snowboarding in Utah to people of color in the local community. The program has touched lives, provided access to nature and community, and fostered more diversity on the mountain slopes of Utah. 

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WHAT IS DISCOVER WINTER?

Ski Utah has set out to make skiing and snowboarding more inclusive by fostering a lifelong love of skiing and snowboarding amongst ethnically diverse Utahans. The intended goal is to make skiing and snowboarding in the state of Utah more inclusive and welcoming through participation in winter snow sports. 

Discover Winter equips participants with gear and four complimentary ski or snowboard lessons during the months of January and February. Thanks to the help of numerous sponsors, fundraising, and the following resort partners, Ski Utah is able to offer the programming at no cost to participants. Alta Ski Area, Brighton, Deer Valley Resort, Snowbird, Snowbasin Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Sundance Mountain Resort and Woodward Park City all assist in the mission to diversify our mountains. 

Ski Utah has also partnered with local organizations like the OurSundays crew and the National Brotherhood of Skiers to further create connections and support the local community of BIPOC skiers and snowboarders. Their involvement and knowledge help to make Discover Winter a success! 


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WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE DISCOVER WINTER PROGRAM?

From head to toe, Discover Winter participants are outfitted to succeed and enjoy skiing and snowboarding. To start, Ski Utah kits out each participant with ski pants, a winter jacket, ski socks, a buff, goggles and gloves. Participants visit the Ski Utah office to try on kits and pick up all their gear before their lesson series starts for the season. Students are then provided with a total of four group ski or snowboard lessons on a weekly basis. Transportation via a chartered bus is provided to the slopes and Ski Utah covers all the costs of rental gear which can include skis, ski poles, ski boots or snowboard boots and a snowboard, and of course, a helmet. 


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For four weeks, each participant will join a group lesson to learn the art of skiing or snowboarding in a supportive environment while fostering community on the slopes. When Discover Winter students complete their series of lessons, Ski Utah awards them a free Yeti Pass. The Yeti Pass is valued at over $700 and gives access to one day of skiing or snowboarding at each of Utah's 15 ski areas. Participants can experience all our different resorts, settle on a favorite and practice their new skills. The goal is to ignite a lifelong love of winter sports that will impact participants for years to come while increasing BIPOC participation and visibility in winter sports. 


HOW DO I APPLY TO DISCOVER WINTER?

The application period for Discover Winter begins each year in early November and runs through November 30. Any ethnically diverse individual is welcome to apply by completing an online form with basic info and their jacket/pants sizing. Applicants will also be asked about their resort preference based on home proximity to make transit to the slopes easy and convenient. Availability and the number of students fluctuate each year depending on the program's funding, sponsorships, and demand. Notifications about acceptance into the program are released in early December and the program takes place in January and February of the following year. 


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WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF DISCOVER WINTER?

Besides exposing members of our local community to the joy that skiing and snowboarding can impart, Discover Winter aims to build community and provide a means to foster self-confidence. The majority of participants have never been skiing or snowboarding before and the friends they meet along the way assist in providing more momentum to create lifelong skiers and snowboarders. 


Says Andy K. who was a past Discover Winter participant who volunteered this season: 

For me it was the entire journey and experience but mostly the people I have met and the friendships I made during the program that kept me excited to go back every Saturday for the classes Youpng



Raelene Davis, the VP of Marketing & Operations at Ski Utah has the following goal:

"My vision is that in 10 years won’t be around, it will no longer be necessary because skiing and snowboarding will simply be more inclusive and opportunities will be more commonplace." 


HOW CAN I SUPPORT DISCOVER WINTER?

Ski Utah is always seeking sponsorship support or donations to build on the success of Discover Winter. Individuals can participate in the yearly fundraiser and contest that Ski Utah hosts each fall on their social media accounts. Corporate sponsors can donate merchandise to the annual sweepstakes or provide gear and outerwear to the Discover Winter participants. Donations are always welcome as is volunteer support.

Thanks to expanded support for the program, Ski Utah was able to take on 100 additional participants for the 2023–24 winter season!


To learn more about making a donation or supporting Discover Winter, please reach out to Albany at: Albany@skiutah.com. 


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RELATED TOPICS/HELPFUL INFO 

Henri Rivers - Diversity in the Mountains - Click Here

Skiing & Snowboarding for Everyone - Click Here

Know the Code: Skier's & Snowboarders Responsibility Code - Click Here

When to Invest in Your Own Equipment - Click Here

Where Kids Ski Free in Utah - Click Here

How Do I Start Skiing or Snowboarding? - Click Here


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