Innovations in ski design may be taking a toll on the popularity of snowboarding.  The new generation of skis is wider, with rocker shapes, deep side cuts and other innovations that originated in snowboard designs. Twin-tip skis have curved-up tips and tails.

This may explain why snowboarding has fallen 4.5 percent during the last five years, while skiing grew 6.7 percent, according to the National Ski Areas Association. Snowboarders only accounted for 30 percent of resort visitors in 2011-12, down from a peak of 33 percent in 2009-10.

Snowboarding gained popularity in the 1990s, but it has been around for over three decades. Burton Snowboards, an industry pioneer, was founded in 1977.  Many ski resorts initially banned the new sport, or relegated snowboards to certain trails.  Participation in snowboarding grew sharply in the 1990s and early 2000s before plateauing in the mid-2000s, according to National Ski Areas Association data.

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