Overview of 2013 Cross Country Skiing Statistics; 23 Percent Decline
The SIA/Physical Activity Council 2013 Participation Study recently published by Snowsports Industries America (SIA) gives a clear picture of the cross country skiing population in the USA. In a nationwide survey conducted with more than 40,000 people it was projected that there were 3,307,000 cross country skiers in 2012-13 (winter season).
This was the second consecutive decline of the cross country ski population, with a decrease of 23 percent from the previous year. Other 2013 snow sport populations were: alpine = 8,243,000; snowboard = 7,351,000; snowshoe = 4,029,000.
The age group information of snowshoers showed 33 percent under 24, 42 percent in the 25-44 age group, and 20 percent in the 45-64 age group, while 5 percent were age 65 and above.
The gender of cross county skiers in 2013 according to the survey was 60-40 percent male-female as the percentage of female participation has declined over the last few years. Other demographic information included that 49 percent of cross country skiers had a household income above $75,000 annually and 59 percent had an educational level of a bachelor degree or higher.
The survey projections divided cross country skiers in the USA by geographic region. There was 15.9 percent of cross country skiers in the Pacific states, 18.2 percent in the MidAtlantic (NJ, NY, PA) region and 10.4 percent in the Mountain region. The North Central region remained the largest representation of the cross country skier population with 26.7 percent and 8.7 percent of them were in New England. The remaining 20 percent of cross country skiers were in the 17 states of South Atlantic and South Central regions.
The average retail prices for cross country skis in 2012-13 in specialty stores was $170.43 per pair of skis and $119.37 per pair of cross country ski boots.
Cross participation in other forms of recreation showed that 49.3 percent of cross country skiers enjoyed walking for fitness and 43.4 percent were also into hiking. 42.9 percent of cross country skiers are runners or joggers and 38.7 precent go bicycling on roads or paved surfaces while 34.5 percent of cross country skiers also snowshoe. 45.8 percent of cross country skiers also alpine ski.
The Participation Study looked at ethnic demographics and cross country skiing’s largest group of participants are Caucasian 69.5 percent. The other groups amidst cross country skiing included 13 percent African American, 4.9 percent Hispanic, and 5.3 percent Asian or Pacific Islander.
When asked about where cross country skiers ski, 37 percent responded that they go to public ski centers, 35 percent went to private ski centers, 20 percent skied in the backcountry, and 8 percent said they skied in other non-groomed terrain. It would be assumed that many cross country skiers visit all the different venues during the winter and it is unknown whether cross country skiers understand the terms with regard to public and private ski facilities. For example, is a ski area that is owned and operated by a non-profit organization considered a public or private ski center?
The average number of days cross country skiers participated in 2012-13 was 9.4 days. Having someone to go with was the most significant factor that encouraged participants to go cross country skiing (61.9 percent). Other encouraging factors had similar statistics in the mid-to-high 20 percentages including being able to go cross country ski locally, getting a lesson, having new equipment, being in better health, having more vacation time, and fewer work commitments. Do these factors bode well for growth of cross country skiing or are there more declines on the horizon?
Photo:Will kids get turned on to cross country skiing? (MVSTA)