FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington will offer a certification program for managers in the ski and snowboard industry beginning in the fall 2015 semester.

The 24-credit hour Alpine Operation Certification program is designed to teach students business and marketing skills specific to the industry as well as courses in ski instruction, UMF President Kathryn Foster said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

Representatives from Sugarloaf, Saddleback and Sunday River ski resorts, as well as UMF representatives, gathered for the announcement at the base lodge of Titcomb Mountain in West Farmington. The program, said Clyde Mitchell, UMF professor of business, is a logical fit for the university because of the school’s proximity to the ski resorts.

“We have these world experts who are right on our doorsteps,” he said.

Foster said the certification program fits into the school’s mission and shows it recognizes the skiing and snowboarding industry’s role in the region.

“It promotes wellness, the outdoor lifestyle and also an important regional industry,” Foster said.

The university already has an outdoor recreation business major, and Foster said the certification will help students specialize further.

Mitchell said after the news conference that the university previously had offered a ski business certification course, but it ended in 2008. He said the former program was also more expansive and at times cumbersome to pair with a student’s major.

The program is not a major or a minor but a way to earn a certificate while working on a separate major. Mitchell said the program pairs well with the outdoor recreation business program but is not required for that major.

The certification program will end with an internship with one of the larger ski resorts.

The program also will result in Sunday River sponsoring free skiing for UMF students at Titcomb Mountain for the next five years, speakers at the event said.

Seniors William Asbell and Holly Legere attended the news conference and said they supported the new program.

Asbell and Legere already participate in outdoor programs available now at UMF. Asbell is in the Outdoor Recreation Business Administration Program. Both are on the school’s ski team and Mainely Outdoors, an outdoor recreation program through the campus fitness center.

After graduation, Asbell is interested in working in the ski industry near Salt Lake City. Legere may attend graduate school. Both, however, agreed they would have liked to enter the certification program.

“We’re huge advocates for the ski industry,” Asbell said.