The U.S. Forest Service is partnering with the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month (LSSM) initiative, scheduled for January 2012, encouraging Americans to explore winter recreation activities during the upcoming winter season.
Together, the Forest Service and LSSM are aiming to enhance youth development and increase environmental stewardship, while promoting safe winter recreation activities. Professional lessons are often recommended. In January 2011, LSSM reported that 75,000 lessons were taught, a significant increase from the 30,000 reported the previous year. In 2012, the initiative aims to reach at least 150,000 participants.
Skiing is one of the most popular activities on Forest Service lands. In fact, there are 122 ski areas on National Forest System lands across the country, which is about 60 percent of the capacity of all downhill skiing in the United States. Further, 15 percent of the Forest Service’s 173 million visits per year are on ski areas.
As a result, skier visits on national forests provide significant local economic contributions. Specifically, they support about 78,000 full- and part-time jobs, ultimately contributing about $5 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.