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.


More than 20.5 million Americans are active participants in snow sports. The SIA report just released last week summarizes data for the 2008-2009 season. The report provides a comprehensive view of 6 different snow sports disciplines including alpine skiing, snowboarding, Nordic, telemark, freestyle, and snowshoeing. The report includes overall headcounts, cross-over activities including 117 sports and leisure activities (such as 43% of snowboarders are also runners), geographic density (Colorado is fourth in density of skiers per capita), income, education, age, frequency of participation, and more.
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 overview of participation in 117 different sports and leisure activities in the U.S. is available, copies of the Sports, Fitness, and Recreation Participation Overview (2010 edition) can be downloaded from PhysicalActivityCouncil.com.
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

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