4 October, 2022

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Taking on the Slopes: How to Get Into Snow Sports

Winter or snow sports remain hugely popular, and now restrictions from Covid are largely in the past, millions of individuals are gearing up for a winter holiday in Europe or elsewhere.

One study by Data Bridge Market Research shows that the snow sports industry was worth $4.09 billion in 2021. If the projected CAGR of 3.7% is maintained, then by 2029, the snow sports market will be worth $5.47 billion.

Snow sports cover a wide range of activities and although skiing and snowboarding are the most popular, the options are diverse and can appeal to a wide range of people.

Even with skiing alone, there are a variety of disciplines such as alpine skiing, ski jumping, and cross-country skiing. For those that prefer to use engine power, there is snowmobiling. With travel now open, perhaps 2022 is the year to look at trying out a new snow sport.

How popular are snow sports in 2022?

Snow and winter sports are certainly more popular in some regions than in others. The US, Japan, France, Canada, Austria, and Norway, have large numbers of participants. Norway in particular is famous for sports being the most successful Winter Olympics and topping the leaderboard more times than any other country.

Despite many countries such as the UK not being blessed with many ski slopes, many inhabitants still choose to spend their holidays taking part in snow sports. Around 1.5 million Brits will have at least one skiing holiday in 2022.

The world’s snowboard equipment market is valued at $297 million this year. And snow sport experts such as Snowlink provide consumer guides to help when starting snowboarding or skiing. With so many snow sports options available, it can be confusing how to start.

What are the most popular snow sports?

If you include winter sports instead of limiting activities to purely snow-based ones, then your choice opens up widely. Among the most popular winter sports will be alpine skiing for sure, but ice hockey will figure heavily too, as will ice skating, bobsled, and figure skating.

Without a doubt though, skiing and snowboarding are the two most popular snow sports today.

Before Covid arrived and caused resorts to shutter, the ski slopes in the US were enjoying a healthy season. There were around 14.94 million skiers participating in the 2019/2020 ski season. Joining them on the slopes were about 7.56 million snowboarders.

These were spread across around 470 ski resorts in the US. Of course, avid snow sports fans aren’t happy with one visit, and there were over 51 million visitors to ski resorts just in the US in 2017/18.

Around the world there are about 135 million skiers, and if you need to know how popular this activity and snowboarding are you only need to see how many ski resorts are operating. There are an estimated 6,128 ski resorts around the globe currently that have over 60,000 kilometers of ski slopes to be enjoyed.

The biggest concern for snow sports now is no longer the pandemic, but climate change. It is feared that many countries will struggle to remain viable as snowfall drops. But, for now, there are plenty of chances to enjoy snow sports even as a beginner.

How can you get into snow sports as a beginner?

Trying to get into any new sport or hobby can be a little daunting at times. When it involves pointing yourself down a perfectly good slope and potentially reaching high speeds it can be even more so.

Travel can be a big part of skiing depending on where you live. Sri Lanka stands as one of the top wellness spots, but you would find it easier to water ski there than ski on powder.

The problems facing a beginner who wishes to ski or snowboard include these:

  • Cost
  • Equipment
  • Opportunity
  • Lessons
  • Travel
  • Time
  • Aptitude
  • Motivation
  • Age

The cost of snow sports and equipment

Skiing is one of the most popular sports as you have seen already, and as far as winter sports are concerned it is probably number one. However, it is also an expensive sport to get into.

The cost of ski gear alone can easily reach $1,000. A snowboard might cost a few hundred dollars, or it could come in at $1,200. This can be a deterrent, especially to a novice. Nevertheless, this leads to opportunity.

Lessons and opportunities to learn snow sports

Depending on where you are based, you may have the chance to learn a snow sport without too much cost. There were 55 million skier visits in France last year, but you may not need to go that far.

If you are lucky enough to be close enough to natural ski slopes then go you. If not, then it may be possible to visit an artificial or dry ski slope. Both of these types of ski centers will offer lessons in skiing and snowboarding, and they will rent equipment.

This is one way to start a snow sport in an affordable fashion, without traveling abroad and needing the time to do so.

Time and travel

Once you feel that you know the basics then you will want to go further afield. One study suggested a ski holiday in Europe could cost between $1,000 and $2,000. Bear in mind though that a package ski trip will include all lodgings and transport and a ski lift pass. And, if you choose wisely it could include lessons and ski equipment hire.

Aptitude

As for skill, don’t worry too much. Practice makes perfect. With skiing, it is generally easy to pick up the basics and a few days on the slopes with a tutor should see visible strides being made.

Snowboarding is a little different. It is sometimes said that skiing is easy to grasp but difficult to become a pro. Many skiers plateau, but snowboarders learn differently. It can be tough to get used to a snowboard, but once you do, you can hit higher levels quickly.

Stay motivated

Like any new skill, learning takes time. Falling over and losing your balance repeatedly can get you down, but stay motivated. Ski lessons aren’t cheap but they will be worth it in the long run if you can use your motivation to push yourself forward.

If you want to take on the best slopes in France or Whistler on skis or snowboarding, then you will have to drive yourself. With snow sports, motivation can be more vital than in other activities as your time can be much more limited. Many skiers have 1 week of a winter holiday to enjoy and then they pack their gear away for another year.

Your age doesn’t matter

Snow sports can be started at almost any age. Adults are the most likely to have reservations about starting a new hobby or sport, but lessons are available for all age groups, and snow sports are something the whole family can enjoy together.

Summary

Sri Lanka claimed the top spot in the Lonely Planet awards to add to other travel plaudits. But, as you know, it won’t be getting any snow sports awards any time soon. But for any Sri Lankans wishing to get into skiing now may be the time. Winter is approaching in Europe and other popular skiing destinations, and Covid restrictions are gone.

If you or anyone wants to start enjoying snow sports you can look locally for lessons and artificial ski slopes or ski resorts if you are lucky enough to be near one. Otherwise, you may have to invest in a foreign trip to learn snowboarding or skiing. But, for those that invest the time and money, snow sports often become something that is enjoyed all their lives.

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