Skiing truly is a fantastic activity in many ways. It burns calories like crazy, does wonders for your lower back and leg muscles, and above all, triggers an awesome adrenaline rush. But, how popular is it and how often does it lead to injuries?
The answers to these (and many more) questions can be found in our article on the top skiing statistics and facts below. Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie, check out the raw numbers and science-based facts we’ve prepared for you to learn more about this sport.
Top 10 Skiing Facts and Stats
- Germany, France, and Italy have the largest number of skiers in the world.
- Skiers are primarily young males with an above-average household income.
- North America is the market leader in ski equipment and gear, holding almost half the total market.
- The global ski equipment and gear market was worth $1.43 billion in 2020.
- Head injuries are the most common cause of death for skiers.
- Beginner skiers are injured more often but veterans have more severe injuries.
- Compared to skiing, snowboarding implies a greater risk of upper extremity injuries but lower chances of knee injuries.
- There are around five million cross-country skiers in the US.
- During the 2018 Olympics, Austria had almost twice as many medals in alpine skiing as the runner-up.
- There are around five million cross-country skiers in the US.
General Skiing Facts and Stats
Check out this section for some quick fun facts and general information.
1. Germany, France, and Italy have the largest number of skiers in the world.
While we’re yet to see the skiing statistics for 2021, last year’s numbers put Germany in the first place. In 2020, this country had 14.6 million skiers. France was a distant second with 8.5 million, followed by Italy with 7.2 million skiers.
On the other hand, Liechtenstein, Andorra, and Albania had the smallest numbers of skiers—14, 15, and 29 thousand (in the given order). However, the significance of these numbers can vary depending on a country’s population size.
2. The global ski equipment and gear market was worth $1.43 billion in 2020, as skiing stats tell us.
(Grand View Research)
The market is valued at well over a billion US dollars, making it a vital part of the sports and fitness industry. Furthermore, it’s estimated that this value will continue to rise, especially when it comes to headgear (due to the increased number of snow sports injuries). The market is likely to be worth 1.64 billion in 2025.
3. The Asia Pacific skiing market is growing.
(Grand View Research)
There’s an expected 3.4% annual compound growth for this industry for the following five years in the Asia Pacific region, as expert skiing industry statistics indicate. A large part of this growth hinges on government initiatives dealing with snow sports and activities. Thanks to its Get Into Snow Sports initiative promoting snow sports and skiing, China’s contributed to this growth the most.
4. Ski means stick of wood or cleft wood, coming from the Old Norse word skíð.
(Life in Norway)
Skiing is also the only word in the English language with two “i”s in the middle. In Scandinavia, some ancient references to skiing can be traced back to three to four millennia BC. However, there are some primitive skis found in this region which date back to 4,500–2,500 BC. There are also fragments of what some believe are skis in Russia, from about 6,300 to 5,000 BC.
5. Skiing statistics show there are around 400 million skier visits a year.
Roughly half of those visits are associated with the Alps. A little over a fifth (21%) of all skier visits are placed in North America.
6. In 2016, Simone Origone reached a top speed of 157.2 mph (252.987 kmh) while speed skiing.
Simone Origone has won multiple world cups and broken numerous records during his career. He began skiing at the age of three and grew to become a 9-time Speed Ski World Cup winner.
Skiing in America
How popular is skiing in America? How financially viable is this industry, and how is it dealing with COVID-19?
7. According to skiing statistics, New York had the highest number of operating ski areas in the winter of 2019–2020.
New York state is in the lead, with 51 locations. Michigan is next in line with 40, while Wisconsin and Colorado are at 31. On the other hand, Alabama, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Tennessee are at the bottom, each having only one ski area. In fact, New York has roughly the same number of ski areas as the bottom twenty states combined.
8. The US skiing industry lost $2 billion because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ski resort revenue statistics aren’t looking good. During the winter of 2019–2020, the ski industry took a hit because of the pandemic. Skier visits dropped by 14%, resorts were closed during March, and ski area workdays dropped by around 20%. What makes the situation even worse is that, according to the NSAA, this would have been one of the best seasons on record if things had gone on as expected.
9. North America is the market leader in ski equipment and gear, holding almost half the total market.
(Grand View Research)
Canada and the US are mainly responsible for North America’s leading position in the ski equipment industry. In fact, NA holds 42.4% of the total market share. Experts claim this number will continue to grow due to a larger number of women becoming engaged in skiing thanks to the development of new technologies and products for them.
Skiing Demographics and Safety
How dangerous is skiing really? What are the most common injuries, and who exactly is the average skier?
10. Skiers are primarily young males with an above-average household income.
(Snowsports Industries America)
Data on skiing demographics provides some truly interesting information. According to a study, 57% of America’s alpine skiers are between 18 and 44 years old. Around 60% of skiers are male, and 63% of the skiing population has a household income higher than $75,000. Furthermore, around 56% have a bachelor’s degree (or higher). Finally, 45% of skiers actually have an annual household income higher than $100,000.
11. Head injuries are the most common cause of death for skiers.
Skiing deaths statistics show that collisions that lead to head injuries are the most common cause of death in the sport. However, fatality levels are still very low, lower than one in a million. You can read more about this in our FAQ section.
12. Compared to skiing, snowboarding implies a greater risk of upper extremity injuries but lower chances of knee injuries.
Snowboarding injury statistics also show that snowboarders may have a greater rate of ankle and foot injuries but also femur fractures. The most likely reason for this difference is the actual build of their equipment, leading to different positioning and leg work.
13. Beginner skiers are injured more often, but professionals have more severe injuries.
Ability, age, conditioning, gender, and snow conditions are the main factors influencing injury rates, according to skiing injuries statistics. For example, beginners are three times more likely to get injured compared to veterans. However, when they do get injured, seasoned skiers end up with fractures, head injuries, and severe ligament sprains.
As far as age is concerned, the highest skiing injury rates occur among 11–13-year-olds. Typically, teenagers are injured less frequently, but also more severely. Women get twice as many injuries as men do, which can most likely be explained through conditioning.
14. There are around five million cross-country skiers in the US.
Cross country skiing statistics show that cross-country skiing, while popular, isn’t as popular as regular alpine skiing or snowboarding. In the 2016–2017 winter season, there were an estimated 5,059,000 XC skiers. That’s roughly 6.7 million fewer people compared to alpine skiing, and around 2.5 million fewer people compared to snowboarding.
15. During the 2018 Olympics, Austria had almost twice as many medals in alpine skiing as the runner-up.
One of the less surprising facts about skiing is that Austria dominated the 2018 Olympics. It won a total of 121 medals in alpine skiing, 37 of which were gold, 41 silver, and 43 bronze. Switzerland came in second, with a total of 66 medals. The Swiss were followed by the US and France. France had more medals in total (48 vs 47), but the US had more gold medals than France (17 vs 15).
What percent of people ski?
This depends greatly on the location. For example, in 2016, there were around 13.91 million skiers in the US, the youngest of whom were six-year-olds. This amounts to roughly 4.4% of the country’s population.
When it comes to Europe, it’s far more intriguing to look at the numbers in individual countries. For instance, we can look at Germany as an interesting comparison to America. During the winter of 2019–2020, there were more than 14.6 million skiers in Germany, which is approximately 17% of their population.
How common are skiing deaths?
According to the National Ski Area Association’s president Michael Berry, you have a less than one in a million chance to die while skiing. During the 2015–2016 winter ski season, there were 39 fatalities on the slopes. Taking into account that there were 53 million skier visits during this period, it’s clear that skiing actually has a really low fatality rate.
What is the most common injury in skiing?
ACL injuries, tears specifically, are among the most common skiing injuries. Experts claim that the rate of ACL injury tripled between 1988 and 2008.
Other common injuries include thumb ligament tears (due to skiers falling on their hands while holding skiing poles). Experts recommend taking extra good care of your equipment and dressing in layers.
Are there more skiers than snowboarders?
Yes, there are. As we’ve mentioned earlier, in 2016, there were around 13.9 million skiers in the US. In the same period, there were around 7.6 million snowboarders—a bit over half the number of skiers.
Do skiers or snowboarders get hurt more?
Snowboarders do get hurt more often. More precisely, there’s a 50–70% greater likelihood that you’ll get injured while snowboarding than while skiing. However, you’re also far more likely to get fatally injured while skiing.
(Physio Inq Glenmore Park)
This article has hopefully helped you better understand skiing, its dangers, benefits, and popularity. It might have also helped you get a better comparison between it and snowboarding.
Whether it’s pure industry and financial data, skiing’s popularity around the world, or the most common injuries, we’re certain these skiing statistics have shed some light on this amazing sport. They may have even dispelled some myths as well. And if you’re a beginner skier, certainly the most important tip we have for you is to always practice safety while having fun on the slopes.