Washington, DC – SnowSports Industries America (SIA) released the comprehensive 2012 SIA Snow Sports Participation Report today detailing snow sports participation trends, demographic profiles, and major differences between core and casual participants. The Report covers alpine, telemark, park and pipe (freestyle), snowboarder, cross country skiing, and snowshoe enthusiasts. SIA worked with their partners at the Physical Activity Council to survey more than 38,500 American households regarding their sports and leisure activities.

This season, a lack of snow inhibited participation in all categories, but snowshoeing and telemark skiing. Participation suffered with a reduced number of participants, as well as, the number of days participating. Overall, snow sports participation fell from 21M to 19.8M. An additional 8.8M people said they considered themselves skiers or snowboarders, but have not participated in the last two seasons, most often due to time constraints. Alpine ski participation fell 11% to 10.2M, snowboarding participation declined 8% to 7.6M and cross country skiing participation fell 5% to 4.3M participants.

The 2012 Snow Sports Participation Report uncovered some unique facts about snow sports participation habits including:

  • 6.9% of the total U.S. population (+6 years old) participates in at least one snow sport discipline.
  • Alpine skiers (44%) and snowboarders (31%) make-up three-fourths of all participants.
  • Fifty-six percent (56%) of the alpine skiers are concentrated in the following ten states: CA, TX, NY, CO, PA, MI, IL, NJ, WA,
  • and MA. Sixty percent (60%) of snowboarders are concentrated in the following ten states: CA, NY, IL, PA, NJ, WA, MI, CO, WI, and VA.
  • High-income earners account for large segments of participants with 50% of alpine skiers and 37% of snowboarders respectively having annual incomes of $100,000 or more.
  • Snow sports are becoming more diverse; minority ethnic groups make up over twenty-five percent (25%) of all participants.
  • Last season, 10.2M skiers, 7.6M snowboarders, 4.3M cross country skiers and 4.1M snowshoe participants spent about 29,000 hours participating in one or more of the snow sports discipline.

One of several interesting findings the Participation Report revealed, was that during the 2011/2012 winter season 19.8M ski, snowboard and snowshoe participants burned a total of 332,386,750 calories sliding on snow — enough activity to burn off about 475,000 cheeseburgers or 2.2M beers or 45,211 servings of french fries or 1.1M slices of pepperoni pizza.