According to 2020-2021 snowsports participation data, 69 percent of winter sports participants are white. This is in stark contrast to recent 2020 census data which reveals that more than 40% of Americans now identify as one or more racial and ethnic groups, and that people of color now comprise more than half of the nation’s total youth population.
Groups like SIA and Share Winter are working together to stress the importance of industry investment into future participation by making the winter outdoors more inclusive.
The Share Winter Foundation has been paving the way for inclusivity within the industry, creating program and pipelines that make it easier for kids from 5-18 to get on snow, with the goal of putting 100k youth on snow by 2028. The 501(c)(3) non-profit works with local and regional programs through grantmaking to improve the lives, health and fitness of youth through winter sports.
As the association leading the winter outdoor community, SIA has prioritized participation and inclusion as two key initiatives for thriving businesses and a prosperous future. Through industry-wide education, research tools and resources, SIA underscores the critical importance of reaching out to new, diverse participants and enables and empowers its members to be more inclusive.
“As our programs continue to grow and gain traction, we are asking the industry to help us share winter with the next generation of skiers and riders,” says Constance Beverly, CEO of Share Winter Foundation. “The demand for more programming is ever-present, and with SIA’s help, we can help meet it.”
As the 2021-22 winter season begins, SIA is making a $12.5K donation to Share Winter and challenging its members by matching donations up to another $12.5K. Inclusive participation growth is one of the core responsibilities that the industry as a whole must act on in support in order to see continued growth across the board.
“It’s critical that our industry support programs like Share Winter, who are instrumental to the future success of our industry. It’s my hope that our matching program will foster long term, annual investing habits and relationships that must become commonplace if we want to see our industry grow,” said Nick Sargent, SIA president. “We all have a responsibility to welcome new participants and increase accessibility to the winter outdoors.”
Share Winter was able to add 26 new partner organizations and support 45,000+ youth in 21 states and 61 ski areas to get on snow in 2019-2020. As their work garners more support, the potential for more youth reached and more grants offered will only continue to grow.
“Without the financial and technical support from Share Winter, it would have been extremely difficult for SHRED to achieve our mission of introducing BIPOC youth to snowboarding and snowboarding culture,” says Danny Hairston, Founder & CEO of SHRED Foundation. “Without their support, it would have been next to impossible for us to create lifelong snowboarders nor set them on the path towards finding careers within the industry. If our industry is serious about creating diversity opportunities for entry and inclusion, the starting point is supporting Share Winter’s efforts.”
You can read more about the Share Winter Foundation here, and more about SIA’s commitment to inclusion here.