LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Among the most prominent trends noted in the 2008 NSAA National Demographic Study are continued gains in visitation among skiers and riders aged 45 and over. Specifically, since 1997/98, the proportion of visitors aged 45 to 54 has increased from 14.0 percent to 19.9 percent; the proportion of visitors aged 55 to 64 has doubled from 4.6 percent to 9.2 percent; and the proportion of visitors aged 65 and over has also increased substantially, from 2.4 percent to 3.8 percent.
According to the study, the loyalty and staying power of older participants has been a plus for ski resorts and has been a key driver of the success enjoyed by the industry in recent seasons. Last season the industry tallied a record 60.50 million skier visits nationally. The study also identifies a continuation of a “three-generation phenomenon” as the Baby Boomers (aged 44 to 62 in 2008) continue to participate, at the same time that persons young enough to be their children and grandchildren also take up skiing and riding, thus causing an overall broadening of the participant age profile.
Also, this year’s study indicates a continued increase in helmet usage. Overall, 43 percent of survey respondents were wearing a helmet when interviewed during the 2007/08, up steadily from 25 percent in 2002/03. Additionally, 30 percent of respondents owned a season pass this season. A total of 114,010 surveys were completed during the 2007/08 season at 83 participating ski resorts. The annual demographic study is available for purchase at http://www.nsaa.org/nsaa/press/0809/demo-2008.asp target=_blank>nsaa.org.