Building The Base: Lifting Lessons From Obama And Coke To Help Save Snowboarding’s Future

February 12, 2013

By Buie Seawell, Dept. of Business Ethics and Legal Studies Transworld Business

Post-election analysis showed that President Obama was re-elected by reaching out to minority groups—African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, single mothers, gays and lesbians, young-adults, and low-income families. For the snowsports industry, which has flourished by catering to Caucasian baby boomers since the 1980’s, the 2012 election may be the canary in the coal mine to turn talk of customer diversity into large-scale action.

SOS Outreach (formerly known as Snowboard Outreach Society), has shown that culturalizing diverse youth populations through a quasi-ski club organization can have a conversion rate as high as 24%; that compares to rates below 20% for snowboard beginner lessons. Quasi-ski clubs provide an introduction into the sport and a supportive peer group to further involvement with snowsports.

To help save the industry, snowsports executives need to be concerned about the effect of the national demographic shift as it relates to their companies, recognize that a solution is available that has been tested on a small scale, and contact snowsports-oriented, youth development non-profits to begin their targeted philanthropy and give now, and earn later.