SAM Magazine—Denver, June 28, 2023—Two individual studies released by Snowsports Industries America (SIA) and Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) show positive gains in snowsports participation, and outdoor sports as a whole.
Snowsports participation increased significantly in non-alpine activities such as winter running and hiking, with 61 percent of survey respondents participating, up from 43 percent in the 2021-22 season, according to SIA’s 2022-23 End of Season Survey. Backcountry alpine touring, including skiing and split-boarding, also saw a large increase, with 30 percent of respondents participating in 2022-23 compared to 17 percent in 2021-22.
The survey also found that snowboarding participation increased 10 percent, while downhill skiing participation increased 2.2 percent year-over-year. Cross-country skiing continued its upward trend with participation increasing 9.6 percent from the previous year; snowshoeing was up 17 percent, and snow tubing was up 4.5 percent over 2021-22.
The SIA study notes that a greater share of respondents participated in resort skiing in 2022-23 compared to the 2021-22 season, but respondents skied fewer days this season compared to last.
Earlier this month, OIA reported in its 2023 Annual Outdoor Participation Trends Report that the outdoor recreation participation base grew 2.3 percent year-over-year to a record 168.1 million participants in 2022. The study shows 80 percent of outdoor activity categories grew in 2022, including large categories like camping and fishing, and smaller categories like sport climbing and skateboarding.
Overall, outdoor recreation saw a record number of participants, and record high participation rates in 2022. The participation rate tracks the number of individuals engaged in an activity as a percent of the total number of people within a demographic cohort. For instance, 55.1 percent of Americans ages 6 and older participated in outdoor recreation last year, up from 48.4 in 2015.
However, similar to the SIA findings, the number of outings per participant declined in 2022, the first downward trend since the pandemic began in 2020, according to the study.
Additionally, the OIA report also found that the new-participant base is becoming more diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, age, and sexual and gender identity. The participation rate for Hispanics, for example, increased from 34 percent in 2015 to 56 percent in 2022, the highest participant growth rate for any single group.
The participation rate for African Americans increased more than 5 percent in 2022 to 40.7 percent. LGBTQIA+ participants make up 11 percent of the participant base and are the most active of any adult cohort, according to the study.
“Industry growth is dependent on attracting and retaining the ‘core’ and increasingly diverse ‘casual’ participant through innovation, valued sustainability practices and pursuing policies for increasing equitable access to the outdoors for everyone,” said OIA president Kent Ebersole.
The SIA End of Season Survey is conducted online among a panel of active snowsports enthusiasts. Learn more at Snowsports.org
The 2023 Annual Outdoor Participation Trends Report reflects data gathered during the 2022 calendar year and garnered a total of 18,000 online survey respondents ages six and older. Learn more at OutdoorIndustry.org.
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