1 in 10 Americans say they ski, ride or snowshoe

Posted By: The Ski Channel on May 7, 2010 9:29 am

SIA announces the release of the Full 2008.09 Snow Sports Participation Report this week. Snow sports gained more than 1.5 million participants during the 2008.09 season, including 573,000 alpine skiers, 309,000 Nordic skiers and 262,000 snowboarders. More than 20,500,000 participated in at least one snow sport during the 2008.09 season. About 9,400,000 identified themselves as skiers, riders or snowshoers but did not participate during the 2008.09 season for a variety of reasons. Many said they didn’t have time due to family and work commitments, but surprisingly the next most popular answer was that they had “no one to go with.” That’s about 884,000 who didn’t head to trails or slopes just because they didn’t want to go alone. Overall, the study indicates that the total size of the U.S. snow sports market, in terms of participation, has reached 30,000,000, close to 10% of the total population.

During January 2010/early February 2010 a total of 40,141 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the US Online Panel operated by Synovate. A total of 15,067 individual and 25,074 household surveys were completed. The total panel has over 1 million members and is maintained to be representative of the U.S. population. Over sampling of ethnic groups took place to boost response from typically under responding groups.

For the past three seasons, SIA has been working with six other major governing bodies and trade associations in the sports, fitness, outdoor and leisure industry to form a research partnership — The Physical Activity Council (PAC). The goal of the partnership is to identify key trends in sports, fitness and recreation participation in the U.S. The result is a highly detailed account of 117 different activities including the following winter sports:

    * Alpine Skiing
    * Telemark Skiing
    * Freestyle Skiing
    * Snowboarding
    * Snowshoeing
    * Nordic Skiing

The Snow Sports Participation report includes complete demographic information including age, gender, education levels, income, and geographic location for each activity. In fact, maps are used to show where participants reside and snow sports participants per capita (Montana has the highest per capita participation in alpine skiing, more than 18% of Montana residents are alpine skiers). The Report contains participation maps for alpine skiing and for snowboarding as well as full geographic density information (not mapped) for telemark skiing, freestyle skiing, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing.
A significant advantage of working with a cadre of sports and leisure organizations on this report is the wide array of cross-over data available. Full cross-over information (117 different sports and leisure activities) is included so you can determine how many alpine skiers also ride bikes (37%) or how many Nordic skiers also bowl (38%) in 2008.09.

The report also indicates where participants like to ski/ride and snowshoe whether it’s a resort, backcountry, resort-backcountry (often referred to as side-country).

A Few Points of Interest:

    * Nearly 60% of the alpine skiers (59%) and snowboarders (58%) are concentrated in ten states.
    * Snowboarders participate, on average 40% more days (11.4) than alpine skiers (8.1). Participation rates range from 9.8 days for cross country to 8.5 days for snowshoeing.
    * Snowboarding is a young man’s game. 70% of the participants are males and 74% fall between 13 and 34 years of age. Males make-up 64% of alpine skiers and 46% fall between 13 and 34 years of age.
    * Californians make up almost 1/5 of all snowboard participants nationwide. California’s economy has suffered significantly in the current economic downturn and the effects are showing up in snowboard equipment sales that declined 7% in units and 4 % in dollars sold this season.

For a complete copy of this comprehensive report on snow sports participation, please contact Kelly Davis, SIA Director of Research at KDavis@snowsports.org or 703-506-4224.

An overview of participation in 117 different sports and leisure activities in the U.S. is available now! Copies of the Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Overview (2010 edition) can be downloaded from PhysicalActivityCouncil.com.