Tahoe resorts help earn Guinness World Record for ski, snowboard lessons
TRUCKEE, Calif. — Six thousand. That’s roughly how many ski and snowboard lessons were taught across the country — from the East Coast to Alaska — on Jan. 8, setting a Guinness World Record for the largest multi-venue ski and largest multi-venue snowboard lessons ever taught in one day.
Many local resorts participated in the record-setting feat, including Diamond Peak, Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, Boreal, Homewood, Kirkwood, Heavenly, Northstar and Tahoe Donner.
Robert McClendon, manager of Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area, said the Truckee resort had 83 first-timers participate in the world’s largest ski and snowboard lesson.
“It was a great atmosphere,” McClendon said. “The people were super stoked to get on the hill and learn a new sport. Whether they were skiers before and trying snowboarding or vice-versa, or they hadn’t tried either before, it was just a great experience for them.
“And the weather was great; you couldn’t have asked for a better day.”
Though the weather in some parts of the country — particularly in the Midwestern and Eastern areas — decreased the participation at some ski resorts, nearly 150 of the original 164 locations scheduled to take part in the Guinness attempt were able to offer 10 a.m. lessons in their local time zones.
McClendon said the National Ski Areas Association wanted resorts to offer the ski and snowboard lessons to those participating in the record-setting session for no more than $10.
“That was a neat concept,” McClendon continued. “It allowed people (who) maybe don’t have the financial status to come out here and learn to ski and snowboard.”
Andy Buckley, director of skier services at Northstar California, said the resort has continued to have a strong showing of new skiers and riders throughout January — which is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.
“This season was a wonderful sight,” Buckley said. “We welcomed so many kids and kids-at-heart who got out in the fresh air and learned a new sport that will last them a lifetime. And that is what it’s all about.”
Some first-time skiers and riders even had the slopes brought to them. Burton Snowboards, for instance, gave nearly 100 elementary school children their first snowboard lessons at Kings Beach Elementary School.
“So far we’ve seen individual resort participation numbers ranging from just a few people to over 250 people,” said Hugh Reynolds of the Boulder, Colo.-based company SNOW Operating, one of the organizers of the event. “We are thrilled with the overall response and positive feedback we’ve received from the resorts, as well as the abundance of media coverage from around the nation.
“This is the first year of the initiative, and to walk away with a new world record makes this all the more successful.”
The official Guinness World Record participation numbers are expected to be announced at the National Ski Area’s Association National Tradeshow and Convention, which takes place May 18-21 in Nashville, Tenn.