Alpine Skiing Participation Drops 19% in 2012/13 | Is the Ski Industry in Trouble?

SnowBrains |

This report is eye opening.  A drop of 19% in alpine skiing is huge and scary.  Freeskiing went up, however along with telemarking.  There were less alpine skiers this year than there has been in the past 5 seasons.  Is the ski industry in trouble?

As a whole, there were 19.3 million snow sports participants last year and that is down 3% from last year.

If we had more days like this, there'd likely be more skiers...
If we had more days like this, there’d likely be more skiers…  photo:  miles clark


WASHINGTON (July 29, 2013) – SnowSports Industries America (SIA) released the 2013 Snow Sports Participant Study today that provides a comprehensive look into this season’s snow sports participants across all six disciplines. The report covers alpine skiers, snowboarders, cross country skiers, freeskiers, telemark skiers and snowshoers and provides a detailed account of what they did on and off the mountain during the 2012/2013 season.

The snowfall got a late start this season, really getting underway after the Christmas holiday. The lack of early season snow affected all snow sports except freeski and telemark, which both finished the season with more participants than previous years. Ultimately, overall snow sports participation was down 3% to 19.3M participants across all disciplines; alpine ski had a 19% drop in participation but still brought the most to the mountain with 8.2M, followed by snowboard with 7.4M, freeski with 5.4M, snowshoe with 4M, cross country with 3.3 million and telemark with 2.8M participants.


The 2013 Snow Sports Participant Study Details:

  • Out of the 19.3M participants, 62% are male and 38% are female.
  • Alpine skiers and snowboarders make up 49% of all snow sports participants.
  • 54% of snow sports participants make more than $75K a year.
  • Telemark skiers (avg. 13 days) and snowboarders (avg. 11.3 days) participated the most this season.
  • Snowshoeing is the most popular snow sport amongst women, representing 46% of snowshoers.
  • Freeskiing is the most diverse snow sport, with minorities representing half of its participants.
  • Walking for fitness is the most common “off the mountain” activity for snow sports participants.
  • Over 39% of snowboarders are under age 24.
  • 74% of snow sports participants are homeowners.
  • 43% of snow sports participants are very interested in the winter Olympics.
  • The majority of skiers (18%) and snowboarders (27%) live in the Pacific region.
    More please.  photo: miles clark
    More please. photo: miles clark

    So, whatta ya think?  Is the ski industry gonna be OK, or are there just too many strikes against it?  Global warming, rising prices, loss of soul, less participants?

    We sure hope it’ll be OK.  Nothing soothes the soul and erases your worries like a day on the hill…

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9 thoughts on “Alpine Skiing Participation Drops 19% in 2012/13 | Is the Ski Industry in Trouble?

  1. How is “freeskiing” defined in that survey? The other categories appear equipment defined. Maybe they intend “freeskiing” to mean “alpine touring,” but if so they should have used that tend to maintain the equipment based defintion. The “freeskiing” category gained about as much as the “alpine skiing” category lost. My guess is that some people redefined themselves.

  2. Yes, the ski industry is in trouble. Small, community (feeder) ski areas are closing. The average window lift ticket is $86.17 nationwide. Pre boomers and baby boomers are leaving the sport faster than 20-40 year olds are entering. Skiing has become much more exclusive, and that’s a big problem.

  3. It’s all about snow and money.

    First stop charging $20 for a bad burger and fries, second stop thinking we are all rich. $80 bucks + for a day of skiing is expensive. I own sailboats (boat with an S) and they cost less money than skiing weekly.

    Bring tons of deep powder snow and we will forget about item 1 and 2.

  4. There will always be skiers, there will always be ski area’s.

    Will highly leveraged Ski Resorts owned by Publicly traded companies have issues because The Ski Resort/ Real estate Biz does not continue to grow X percent every single year?
    Do I Care?

Got an opinion? Let us know...