National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association                                            October 8, 2014
Ski Lift

Minnesota Retailers and Areas Create

First Statewide Bring-A-Friend Program

NSSRA Chairman of the Board Brad Nelson, working with retailers and the Minnesota Ski Areas Association, has helped create the first statewide Bring-A-Friend (BAF) program.


In his role as NSSRA Chairman, he attended the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) annual convention. The central theme of that event was Growing Snowsports.


Over the past 10 years NSAA has done significant research on the demographics and trends that are changing our industry. The findings that were reported verify what we all intuitively know: Boomers are aging out; new participants are not entering the sport as they have in the past; and in spite of 20 years of population growth, skier days remain flat.


Part of NSAA's long standing research has been a study of the "new participants" population. Overwhelmingly, the most common reason new participants give for why they tried our sports is because a friend invited them. That is the inspiration for NSAA's Bring-A-Friend campaign (BAF).


Until now, what has been missing in the BAF campaign is a mechanism for how the industry can get people to invite their friends to go skiing or riding. Existing skiers and riders are customers of our stores, but there was no marketing effort targeted to these customers to encourage or help them to invite their friends.


A committee of Minnesota ski areas has created a new state-wide BAF campaign designed to work with Minnesota retailers and which could be modified to work in other parts of the country.


What follows is a broad overview of the program:

  • The campaign is designed to encourage retailer's customers to bring their non-skiing or riding friends, skiing or snowboarding.
  • The Minnesota campaign will be called Discover Skiing and Riding. Logos and support materials (bag stuffers, wall posters, etc.) will be provided to retailers by the Minnesota area group.
  • The program invites current skiers and riders to bring their friends to a free -hour informational class that is offered at their local retailer. Retailers choose day(s) and time(s) of the class(es).
  • The class covers basic information that new participants need to know before trying the sport. Any employee who has ever skied or snowboarded can follow the simple outline and teach the class. The outline can be expanded or modified by the retailer, but the main topic points listed on the outline need to be covered.
  • At the end of the class each participant gets a voucher that allows him or her to purchase a $39 rental/lesson/ticket package at one of the participating Minnesota ski resorts. The only place that new skiers can get the $39 voucher is from a retailer that offers the class.
  • Minnesota retailers that are offering the class will be listed on a Minnesota Bring-A-Friend website. They will also be listed on the State of Minnesota Explore Minnesota website.

The cost for retailers to be a part of this program is nothing. The areas are paying for all of the materials and have set up the relationship with the Office of Tourism, Explore Minnesota program.


Here are a few related pieces of information that you should know about the program.


  1. Hi Tempo and Wild Mountain have done a version of this program for the past several years. The program started by offering the rental/lesson/ticket package for $10 and in subsequent years for higher prices. We learned that as the price of the offer got higher we went from attracting participants that were just looking for a one-day adventure (with no intent to stick with the sport) to more interested and qualified students.
  2. In one instance a family attended a class at Hi-Tempo and the on-hill lesson and come back to the store after the lesson and purchased $2,500 worth of new gear. To be honest, that was the exception rather than the rule, but in just about every case, the participants bought something. We found that this was a great way for us to attract new customers.
  3. As easy as this program sounds to create, programs like this just don't happen. The wide range of options that different areas offer make it just about impossible for them to agree to state-wide programs like this. This program is best customized between a retailer and the area.

If you have any specific questions on implementing this program, please contact Brad Nelson at Hi-Tempo, brad@hitempo.com.


NSSRA Annual Membership Meeting Will Be Held 

January 29, 2015, at the SIA Snow Show

The annual meeting of the National Ski & Snowboard Retailers Association will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 29, 2015, during the SIA Snow Show at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. The exact location will be announced as soon as the meeting room is confirmed.


All specialty snowsports retailers are invited to attend, whether or not you are an NSSRA member. Last year, more than 100 retailers and industry members attended. Members of the NSSRA Board of Directors will report on activities and accomplishments of the past year as well as initiatives for the future.


Also, we invite you to stop by NSSRA's booth at the show. The exact location will be announced once the booth number is confirmed.


2014-15 Combined Indemnified Bindings List 
Has Been Sent to NSSRA Members
The Combined Indemnified Bindings List is available at no cost to all NSSRA members as part of their membership. If you are not an NSSRA member, we invite you to join so that you have full access to all of the exclusive member services and benefits, including the bindings list. A downloadable membership application can be found at the NSSRA website, www.nssra.com. Please direct any questions to NSSRA President Larry Weindruch, lweindruch@nssra.com.


3M Trade Show Management Services

Aegis Insurance Markets

Boa Technology, Inc.

Comfort Zone Apparel, LLC

Horizon Agency, Inc.

Leisure Trends Group


Snowsports Industries America (SIA)

Alpina Sports

Amer Sports

Dalbello Sports

Descente North America, Inc.

Dryguy, LLC

Dynacraft BSC, Inc.

Fischer Skis US

Head USA

Hotronic USA, Inc.

K2 Sports

Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.

Marker-Volkl USA

National Ski Areas Association (NSAA)

Newberry Knitting

Nils, Inc.

Nordica USA


Polartec, LLC


Smart Etailing

Smith Optics

Sports Accessories/America (SAA)

Tecnica Group USA

Turtle Fur Group


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