There’s nothing quite like the thrill of letting loose on a slope gleaming with packed powder. For a sport restricted to specific conditions and with high barriers for entry, skiing has become surprisingly popular. And its journey from being a way to get around in snowy areas to an Olympic sport is nothing short of spectacular.
Maybe next season will be just the time to load up the car and head up to the mountain for a fun ski trip. Still not convinced? Then these frosty skiing statistics are just what you need to get you worked up.
The Top 10 Skiing Statistics and Facts
- There were just over 7 million skiers in the US during the 2017/18 winter season.
- The chance of getting hurt catastrophically while snowboarding is less than one in a million.
- Wearing a helmet while skiing can reduce head injuries by up to 44%.
- Approximately 85% of the skiers and snowboarders who suffer fatal accidents are male.
- Elite cross country skiers expend the caloric equivalent of a Chipotle burrito every hour while skiing.
- Shaun White is the most successful snowboarder of all time and has an estimated net worth of over $60 million.
- The oldest ski-like artifacts ever found are over 8,000 years old.
- Snowboarding didn’t become an Olympic sport until 1998.
- New York is the state with the most operational ski areas: 51.
- According to research into physical activity and academic performance, skiing could make kids smarter.
Skiing Industry Statistics
1. 470 ski resorts welcomed skiers in the US during the 2019/2020 season.
Unfortunately, most of these resorts closed early last season due to the pandemic.
Despite substantial numbers, ski industry statistics show the number of resorts in the US declining. A peak of 569 resorts were operating in 1990, and the number has fallen almost every year since. Only 476 were open during the 2018/19 season. Market researchers attribute the decline in skiing to decreasing amounts of natural snow.
2. According to the ski industry statistics, Europe sees around 200 million skier days per year.
Skier days are the metric used to measure an area’s skiing performance. A skier day refers to a full day of downhill skiing by an individual skier.
The US enjoys around 75 million skier days a year, whereas France and Austria are the largest European markets with approximately 50 million.
3. Despite best efforts to improve the industry-related skiing statistics, 2020 estimates show a 38% revenue loss for the ski industry.
2020 wasn’t a banner year for any industry reliant on tourism, and skiing is no different. Alpine skiing, the facts show, is among the most affected areas. Losses for ski resorts and the tangential industries dependent on them were predicted to reach $189 billion.
However, ski tourism statistics show bookings continuing to trickle in. Experts hope to see a large-scale recovery by 2023.
4. The US’s skiing market dropped by 1.9% per year between 2015 and 2020.
Despite a significant dip in 2020, the US’s skiing industry has only dropped by a small fraction since 2015.
Considering the fact that the duration of the snow season in the West has been shortened by 34 days over the last 30 years, it’s impressive that the industry remains strong. Experts attribute this to increased average household incomes over the period.
5. There were 9.2 million active skiers and snowboarders in the US during the 2017/2018 season.
These skiing stats remained relatively steady over the two-decade span between 1997 and 2017. Most seasons during the period saw around 7 million skiers hit the slopes. However, the number of skiers peaked during the 2007/2008 season, at 7.6 million skiers.
Remember that these snow skiing statistics don’t account for ski tourists, which also number in the millions.
6. Market research valued the ski equipment market at just under $1.22 billion in 2018.
(Statista, Coherent Market Insights)
Ski gear and equipment can be a significant expense, but increasing numbers of people are willing to invest in the sport. The ski equipment market in the US alone was worth $1.199 billion in 2017. Furthermore, experts at the time predicted an annual CAGR of 2.9% through 2025.
Fun Facts About Snowboarding and Skiing
7. To start with some good news, skiers have a one in a million chance of having a catastrophic injury.
(Ripcord, Leventhal Sar)
When it comes to reporting skiing accidents, the statistics are mostly overblown. In fact, it’s a relatively safe activity. The 2018/2019 winter season only produced 31 catastrophic skier/snowboarder injuries.
The majority of injuries resulted from impacts with the snow surface, and male participants made up 90% of injuries.
8. Wearing helmets, skiing statistics show, can reduce head injuries by up to 44%.
There is some controversy about the use of helmets in skiing and how effective they are. But most reports agree that wearing them can reduce head injuries. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, helmet use can prevent an estimated 7,700 head injuries each year.
Moreover, helmet use in children under 15 years of age is even more advisable. Skiing accident statistics show helmets can reduce head injuries by 53% in that age group.
9. The oldest skis ever found are over 8,000 years old.
Some of the most fun facts about skiing relate to how old it is. Long before it was a winter sport, skiing was a vital part of survival in snowy areas. Snowshoes and skis were made to cross wetlands and marshes during the winter.
In 1960, a Russian archaeologist found the oldest “ski-like objects” to date. Estimates date them back to 6,000 BCE.
10. Snowboarding became an Olympic sport in 1998.
Skiers and snowboarders didn’t get along all that well when snowboarding first started to gain popularity. In fact, skiers were adamant about keeping snowboarders away from traditional ski resorts in the 1970s.
But by the 1990s, most resorts accepted and promoted snowboarding. Olympic snowboarding stats show it was more popular than skiing events when it debuted.
11. Male skiers make up 85% of skiing and snowboarding fatalities.
In the 2015/2016 winter season, US ski areas saw 39 reported fatalities. Of those, the vast majority were male skiers, and the most common cause was collisions.
Skiing death statistics show an average of 38 skiers each year involved in fatal accidents. Based on the total skier/snowboarder visits, that represents less than one in a million.
12. New York has 51 operational ski areas, the most of any state.
Although New York has the most ski areas, it’s not the state with the most ski visits. That honor belongs to Vermont, which has only 25 ski areas compared to New York’s 51. Other notable states with high snow sports participation statistics include California, Idaho, and Colorado.
Cross Country Skiing Statistics
13. 61% of cross-country skiers are male.
The gender disparity between female and male cross-country skiers has widened in recent years. During the 2016/2017 season, only 38% of cross-country skiers were female. Male participation in the sport has increased considerably, but female skiers have also been leaving the sport, leading to the difference.
14. A 200-pound cross country skier can burn up to 1,300 calories per hour.
One of the most encouraging cross country skiing facts is how physically demanding it is if exercise is your goal. Elite skiers easily burn more than 1,000 calories per hour during competitions. That’s about as much as the calories in a Chipotle burrito.
But you don’t need to be an elite skier to see benefits. Even at a moderate pace of 2.5 miles per hour, you can expect to burn around 600 calories hourly.
15. 75% of cross country skiing injuries, statistics show, are the result of muscle and joint overuse.
While traumatic cross country injuries do show up in the skiing statistics, they’re far less common than overuse-related injuries. The repetitive nature of cross-country skiing puts enormous strain on connective tissue and can result in tenderness or pain in affected areas.
Low back pain, shoulder pain, and knee pain are common symptoms of these repetitive use injuries.
Eye-Opening Snowboarding Industry Statistics
16. Snowboarding legend Shaun White is the seventh-richest Olympian ever.
(Celebrity Net Worth)
Easily the most successful snowboarder of all time, Shaun White’s fortune is estimated to be around $60 million. Since the age of seven, he has held endorsement deals and has won a total of three Olympic gold medals.
17. Sherman Poppen created the precursor to the modern snowboard in 1965.
(On the Snow)
Confirmed facts about snowboarding and how it began are difficult to pin down. Nevertheless, few people dispute that the first snowboard was born in Michigan at the hands of Sherman Poppen.
Poppen fastened two skis together and tied a rope to the front for steering. Initially, it was designed to be a toy for kids, and his children loved it. Poppen’s wife dubbed the contraption a “snurfer,” for snow surfer.
18. The world record for the fastest speed on a snowboard is 126 mph.
Snowboarding statistics imply that the sport is becoming more extreme year by year. Competitors are regularly breaking records on the board, with the speed record set as recently as 2015.
Edmond Plawczyk broke this record on a specially prepared course in the French Alps. Darren Powell had held the previous record of 125.45 mph since 1999.
Skiing and Snowboarding Stats and Facts That Will Make You Scratch Your Head
19. Skiing can make you smarter, according to a study involving over 4,500 students.
The skiing facts already confirm that this outdoor sport is an excellent way to cultivate physical endurance and overall health. But research shows it could also make you smarter.
The coach of the German men’s freestyle skiing team made his case at a winter sports congress. He cited numerous studies, including one that showed increased academic performance among children who underwent a 12-month fitness program.
20. The first skiing computer game was released in 1991 and remains popular today.
Chris Pirih made the first-ever skiing video game, and Microsoft included it in their Microsoft Entertainment Pack. A casual game at heart, SkiFree has no stated goal (other than perhaps escaping the Abominable Snowman) and essentially just provides a distraction.
It continues to enjoy support among gaming communities drawn to its simplistic style and conceit.
21. There are a total of 15 Olympic winter sports.
The fascinating facts about skiing and snowboarding we’ve already discussed tend to take center stage, but there are dozens of winter sports. The Winter Olympics recognizes 15 sports, but that doesn’t include niche disciplines, such as ski cross, mogul skiing, and snow scooting.
The truth is that skiing and snowboarding are declining industries. Whether you want to blame climate change or any of a plethora of other factors, the data won’t change.
There is still a good amount of enthusiasm in some parts of the world, but the skiing and snowboarding facts and stats we’ve covered show that the next few years will be crucial for the sector.
If you’re a fan of skiing or you hope to become one, now is the time to make your move. We know you love your home, especially during cold winter days. But if there’s one thing worth leaving your cozy hearth for, it’s a day out on the slopes.
These are just some of the compelling skiing statistics and fun facts. But you won’t achieve much just reading about it, get out there and experience the wonder of skiing yourself as soon as the opportunity presents itself.
How common are skiing deaths?
On average, around 38 people in the US die in skiing accidents every year. That places the odds of dying in a ski accident at less than one in a million—lower than the odds of dying in a canoe.
Curiously, in the case of skiing deaths, statistics show more than half of these fatalities occurred on blue runs. In other words, the skiers on safer terrain were more likely to suffer fatal injuries.
Is skiing in decline?
2020 is slated to be an especially bad year for skiing, given how much the sport relies on tourism. However, ski industry numbers have been in decline for a long time. Indeed, further skiing facts indicate that the number of ski and snowboarding visits in the US fell by almost 8 million from 2010 to 2016.
Shorter winter seasons and fewer snow days are partly to blame. But aging populations are a contributing factor, as well.
What is the most common injury in skiing?
Injuries to the lower extremities are the most common, and among those, knee injuries rank highest. Skiing injuries are often induced by the repetitive nature of the sport, as well as the sudden turns, starts, and stops. Knee connective tissue is particularly vulnerable to these kinds of movements.
But this doesn’t mean that the upper extremities aren’t also vulnerable. Skiers especially put their shoulders and arms at risk of injury by breaking falls with extended arms.
Are there more skiers than snowboarders?
Yes, but not by much. According to skiing vs. snowboarding statistics from SnowSports Industries of America, there were 11.6 million skiers and 7.6 million snowboarders active during the 2015/2016 winter season.
Do skiers or snowboarders get hurt more?
Snowboarders sustain more injuries by a wide margin. Data from the National Ski Areas Association shows snowboarders were 50%–70% more likely to be injured than skiers. However, according to skiing statistics, skiers were more likely to sustain fatal injuries.
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