For school pupils in canton Valais, skiing could soon be part of the curriculum under plans to create three obligatory snow sports days a year, the NZZ am Sonntag reports.
Christophe Darbellay, the canton’s education minister, wants to get young people back on skis to ensure the future of the sport, which generated CHF 758 million in Switzerland from lift passes alone in 2018/19.
The project, which will cost CHF 2.7 million, has been approved by the canton’s government and is set to start in 2020/21.
Third year pupils (8 year olds) and onwards will spend three of their indoor school sports days skiing. The ski days would form part of the compulsory curriculum for pupils at schools signing up to the scheme. Darbellay said he expects most schools to sign up to the project.
School skiing is considered a key way promote the sport. Jacques Zufferey, schools director for Sierre, told the newspaper Le Nouvelliste that 70% of his pupils don’t ski outside school.
After falling by around 28% between 2008/09 and 2016/17, the number of skier days in Switzerland rose by around 17% in the two following seasons. However, some still point to a longer term downward trend. Good snowfall, which cannot be guaranteed, over the Christmas period in 2018 boosted the number of skiers.
Statistics from 2014 show that 35.4% of Swiss residents go alpine skiing. When other snow sports are included, the figure rises to 43.4%.
NZZ article (in German)