Snowsports Industries America (SIA) announces the release of their study on participation in winter sports across the 2020-2021 season, providing an in-depth look at skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and touring. This study highlights a general cumulative view of winter sports participation and demographics on an annual basis, in addition to further analyses of each winter sport activity. Participant demographics, frequency, regional representation, crossover activities, and more are included to provide key insights into the behaviors of winter sports activists.
This study’s findings help tell the story of the effects of COVID-19 on participation during the 2020-2021 season. One of the more interesting findings, SIA reports, is that people participated more frequently (the number of times a person participates each season) across all sports than in previous years. This is perhaps due in part to more flexible and remote work and school settings which could provide greater opportunity to recreate outside. Moreover, we saw small gains of new participants in skiing and snowboarding. And yet despite these gains, the total number of people (age 6 and older) participating in winter sports as a whole actually declined in the 2020-21 season (24.6M) compared to the prior 2019-20 season (25.1M), with older participants seemingly more likely to sit out this past season.
With regard to diversity, the industry has much room for improvement. Overall, diverse populations make up only 31% of the winter sports, with snowboarding being the most inclusive of the winter sports with 38% diverse participants. Moreover, this was the first year that SIA started to collect information on LGBTQ+ participants and found that 12% of the LGBTQ+ community participates in winter sports.
“The impact the pandemic has had across outdoor activities has been unprecedented and winter sports are no different. We were excited to see gains in new participants in select sports, as well as a noticeable increase in frequency, which equates to more engaged participants. More engaged participants is always good for the industry,” says Nick Sargent, president of SIA. “However, at the same time, it’s crucial that the industry put more effort in growing winter sports participation among underrepresented communities in an effort to really grow those numbers.“
Those interested in catching the highlights presented by SIA are welcome to join the 2020-2021 Participation Study Overview webinar on October 28, 2021 at 1:00 pm MDT. This event is open to all members and non-members, and those interested may register to attend here.
The ‘20-’21 SIA Participation Study is produced collaboratively with the Physical Activity Council (PAC), a partnership of eight major trade associations in US sports, fitness and leisure activities, and expanded this year to include data focusing on the LGBTQ community. The 2021-2021 SIA Participation Report is free to all SIA Members and is available for purchase to non-members here.
Founded in 1954 and based in Park City, UT, Snowsports Industries America (SIA) is a nonprofit, member-owned trade association representing the winter outdoor community including suppliers, retailers, sales reps, resorts and nonprofits whose mission is to help the winter outdoor community thrive. SIA provides value to its members through continuous education, insightful research, creating a path for an inclusive winter outdoor community, growing participation in winter outdoor sports and developing consumer events (Snowbound Festivals) that drive business, while advocating for pressing issues that face the winter outdoor industry such as climate change and tariffs. We are #UnitedByWinter. For more information and to become a member, visit snowsports.org.