The 2018 SIA Participation Study is a comprehensive look at participants in winter sports across the 2017/2018 season including: downhill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and winter fat biking. The study highlights a cumulative view of winter sports participation and demographics.
The Winter Sports Participation By Region graphic shows total winter sports participation by region and represents 24.3m total participants. That is a decrease over the previous season by about 1.5%.
The Cross Country Skiing By Region graphic shows cross country skiing participation by region, a total of 5.1m. This number shows no growth from the previous season that also showed 5.1m skiers.
The Participation Over Time graphic shows participation year over year. For cross country, it is about even with the previous season, but shows consistent growth of over 1m skiers since the 2009/10 season of 4.2m.
Ski Areas vs. Backcountry
The number of backcountry skiers has been intensely discussed in recent years. SIA added this question their participation study and learned the following:
A full 57% of respondents indicated that they ski in the backcountry or non-groomed areas including parks and public spaces, 36% in the backcountry and 21% in other non-groomed situations. There is crossover with all these numbers as many respondents indicated inclusion in several of the categories.
In terms of the backcountry, SIA reports 438,077 cross country skiers were there in the 2017/18 season. Based on ski sales, they believe that number will continue to increase.
This data was compiled by SIA with the latest season reported being the 2017/18 season. This report will come out again in the fall for the 2018/19 season.