Stoked to open a new season of fresh powder on Friday, the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort is rolling out a new free coaching service designed to serve the Las Vegas tourist who would shy away from the structured format of a ski school.
It’s a unique offering in the ski and snowboard industry, which traditionally relies on formal lessons, said Dan Hooper, Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort director of skier and rider services.
“We’re onto something that we think will work out,” Hooper said. “It’s a big shift from the traditional ski school offerings.”
The ski center on Mount Charleston is unveiling the complimentary coaching guidance because of the unique Las Vegas market, where some of the 40 million annual visitors might want to add a day of mountain snow to their vacation along the Strip.
“A lot of guests are looking for a fun experience during their Vegas trip,” Hooper said. “We are a pretty unique market. People who come to Vegas say, ‘Wow, there’s snow.’ We’re going away from the traditional ski school model. We have a lot of people who want to try it out. It’s bad to watch people decide they don’t want a formal lesson and then go out and not have best experience because nobody is there to guide them.”
Depending on how busy the slopes are at the ski resort, as many as 60 instructors will be on hand to offer tips on everything from renting the proper equipment to promoting the best movement patterns, Hooper said.
Normally, a one-on-one lesson for an hour would cost $90, he said. But the coaches will be stationed at perhaps a half-dozen stations to lend a helping word to newcomers and skiers with lesser skills.
To launch the free coaching service, the ski center will invest $150,000-$175,000 for labor and other services such as creating the help stations, Hooper said.
Ski center officials believe the new offering will touch thousands of visitors. The ski facility attracts two very different demo groups — the seasoned skier or snowboarder who are local clients and season passholders and the Las Vegas visitor who wants a snow experience but lacks the skills.
Of the expected 80,000 visits to the ski resort at the end of Lee Canyon Road, as many as 20,000 could be inexperienced visitors who may tap into the free instruction, Hooper said.
“It will start at the equipment rental and we’ll guide them through the experience,” he said. “We want to make sure the experience starts right from the get-go.”
To phase in the new service, the resort has hired a veteran snowboard instructor with a specialty of teaching instructors how to do their jobs. Chris Lange is the new skier/rider development manager who will oversee the free coaching program.
The ski and snowboard resort will continue to offer one-on-one lessons and its supervised kids programs, Hooper said.
The free coaching service is part of a business strategy that acknowledges there is intense competition for the Las Vegas entertainment dollar, he said.
Alan Snel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow @BicycleManSnel on Twitter.