- 23.4K All Categories
- 19.8K Mostly Slalom
- 19 GiveGo GoPro Contest
- 2.2K Technique & Theory
- 5.4K Skis Fins Bindings
- 1.9K Videos, Photos & Media
- 8.3K News & Other Stuff
- 467 Trick and Jump
- 3.1K Boat Talk
- 1.5K Stuff For Sale
- 291 Reviews
- 4.1K Peripheral
- 484 Rules/Politics/Issues
- 65 Site Info & Instructions
- 9 FAQ
- 25 Classic Threads

12" White Stickers ______________

BallOfSpray $5 Donation ______________

BallOfSpray $10 Donation

ToddL
Posts: **2,994** Mega Baller

So, is our sport declining or is it just following the population trends in the US? That’s what I was curious about.

I took the 2012 US Census data and converted the population by age into the equivalent USAWS age groups. Then, I represented those numbers as a % of total population by division, a.k.a. distribution of US population.

Next, I pulled up the USAWS 2012 Ski Year Ranking Lists for every boys/mens division and determined the total number of skiers on the list by division. Then, I represented those numbers as a % of total skier population by division, a.k.a. distribution of skier population.

As you can see in the chart, the two distributions are somewhat related. I see a bump around M2-M4 in the population, and a bump around M3-5 in skiers. We all know that skiing is expensive and M3-5 are more likely to be able to afford the time/costs to ski, so that I how I’d address the bump there.

What I also see is that there is a new US generation population bump coming with B1 ages. Thus, we need to prepare our sport to welcome and embrace these youth into the sport. They will become the M3-5 skiers in 2050.

Unfortunately, I see a population dip in B2/3 ages. In 2030-2040, these skiers will hit M3 divisions. That skier population bubble in M3-5 will be in trouble. By then the current M4/5 skiers will be M8/10 and likely declined in numbers to 60 or so active skiers.

Thoughts?

I took the 2012 US Census data and converted the population by age into the equivalent USAWS age groups. Then, I represented those numbers as a % of total population by division, a.k.a. distribution of US population.

Next, I pulled up the USAWS 2012 Ski Year Ranking Lists for every boys/mens division and determined the total number of skiers on the list by division. Then, I represented those numbers as a % of total skier population by division, a.k.a. distribution of skier population.

As you can see in the chart, the two distributions are somewhat related. I see a bump around M2-M4 in the population, and a bump around M3-5 in skiers. We all know that skiing is expensive and M3-5 are more likely to be able to afford the time/costs to ski, so that I how I’d address the bump there.

What I also see is that there is a new US generation population bump coming with B1 ages. Thus, we need to prepare our sport to welcome and embrace these youth into the sport. They will become the M3-5 skiers in 2050.

Unfortunately, I see a population dip in B2/3 ages. In 2030-2040, these skiers will hit M3 divisions. That skier population bubble in M3-5 will be in trouble. By then the current M4/5 skiers will be M8/10 and likely declined in numbers to 60 or so active skiers.

Thoughts?

-- The future of skiing depends upon welcoming novice skiers regardless of age to our sport.

4

## Comments

1,420Mega Baller2,165Mega Baller2,994Mega Baller445Solid BallerThe reality of skiing is that it will continue to decline as the M-3 and M-4 skiers age. There may be some resurgence when the children of the M-3 and M-4 skiers are in the M-3 and M-4 age bracket. IMO this sport will continue to decline due to the popularity of wakeboarding and surfing, difficulty in finding a slalom course, and of course expense.

874Mega BallerWhat no one has mentioned is the drop in M2 skiers, which I'd say largely coincides with the explosion of wakeboarding during their formative/teen years (mid-nineties, early 2000s), although it also coincides with that phase in life (early career, possibly starting a family) where making time (and $$) for skiing can be pretty challenging.

2,994Mega BallerWakeboarding Timeline:

1987 - The First Wakeboard Tournament

1989 - The World Wakeboarding Association is founded by Jimmy Redmon.

1990 - First Skurfer championships were televised by ESPN.

1996 - Mastercraft boat company releases the X Star, a dedicated wakeboard boat which has continued to push the limits of the sport.

1996 - Wakeboarding was added as an event to the second annual X Games on ESPN.

By the time these kids were 10 (1998-2004), Wakeboarding was very visible and well established. Yet, they are slightly higher in number in the Competitive Slalom than their neighboring divisions (B3/M2).

7,041Mega BallerI'll tell you what I see: B2, B3, and M1 are *above* the population line, whereas M3 is almost exactly on it.

And what it means is:

Our sport is relatively more popular among B2, B3, and M1 than it is among M3.This data continues to support my "this sport is not dying at all" thesis. Yes, folks born in the late 50s and throughout the 60s got into it in an unprecedented way, and we may never again see pieces of the blue line WAY above the red line like those two age divisions.

But in a sport that is destined for long-term decline, we'd see that the relative popularity continued to decline as we moved leftward (and thus younger). What we actually see is that the prime "young guns" (I exclude B1 because under 9 is awfully early to have any interest in this sport) are trending better than M3 and M2.

2,165Mega Baller@toddl - great way to spend time digging up data.

7,041Mega Baller2,994Mega Baller115BallerThis is further supported by looking at the women. W1 ~140 skiers, W2 ~70 skiers. Lots of women who will not continue into W2.

722Crazy Baller445Solid BallerAnother interesting thing to note is the significant drop in M1 and M2 skiers. This would make sense considering B1-B3 are still at home and can ski with parents vs. once you hit M1&2 the financial and time requirements of this sport start to make participation much more difficult. Case in point it wasn't until I was in my late twenty's that I could afford a boat or could find time to ski.

7,041Mega Baller