Winter sports participation increased by 1.2 percent during the 2018-19 winter season, to 24.6 million Americans ages 6 and older. That’s the word from Snowsports Industries America, the national not-for-profit and member-owned trade association for the winter sports industry.
The Pacific Region had the largest number of winter sports participants, with 4.52 million, followed by the South Atlantic Region (4.36 million). Snowboarding proved to be the most popular winter sport among survey respondents, followed closely by cross country skiing, skiing and snowshoeing.
The largest segment of snowboarders who participated in the sport seven or more times were between the ages of 25 and 34. The next largest segments were 13 to 17 year olds and 6 to 12 year olds. Meanwhile the largest segment of skiers who went seven or more times were between 45 and 54 years old. Last season, the leading age segment in the skiing category was 25 to 35 years old.
Other details from the survey indicate that more cross country skiers went to a private cross country center (61 percent) than to a public center with trails groomed by a government entity (43 percent). The gender of participants skewed male, with 14.2 million men compared to 10.4 million women, their ethnicity was overwhelmingly white (67.4 percent), and the majority of them earned more than $75,000 per year.
In October, SIA announced the launch of Generation Snow, an initiative designed to increase the total number of new winter sports participants by 100,000 by 2028. To make that happen, SIA has partnered with the Share Winter Foundation, a national grantmaking organization working to improve youth health and fitness through winter sports.
The Share Winter Foundation funded over 38,000 youths in learn to ski, snowboard and Nordic programs in 21 states, 60 ski areas and 159 schools during 2019, according to SIA. Share Winter works closely with carefully selected grantees to build efficient, effective and sustainable winter sports programs and pipelines to help ensure ongoing winter sports participation.
“Participation is a key initiative for SIA,” SIA President Nick Sargent said in a statement. “Ensuring the growth of new participants into winter sports is critical to the future success of our industry. SIA is excited to partner with Share Winter not only for the positive growth they are generating in winter sports, but also for the pipeline they are helping to create for greater diversity in our sports. I challenge our industry to get involved and help us to reach our goal of 100,000 new youth on snow.”
The report is available free to SIA members; others may obtain it for a fee. Information is available at this link.