What is the most important factor in deciding to go skiing? Survey says…

 – It’s more fun to go skiing with a friend – 

Jeannie, Brian and Roy were taking advantage of the new snow

It’s more fun to ski at the Canmore Nordic Centre with a friend

The Snowsports Industry of America produced a survey which reports that “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.”

Emerald lake

It’s more fun to go skiing at Emerald lake with a friend

The same survey(which was done in the USA in 2013) reports that xc ski participation declined 23% in the USA compared to the previous year. I find that astounding. Here in Alberta and southeastern BC every indication is that xc skiing is on the upswing. For example,

  • Retail stores report good sales
  • My blog readership increases every year.
  • Try to get a parking spot at Moraine Lake road in early November, or at Elk Pass on a Saturday in January.
  • I see lots of new skiers taking lessons and trying out this activity.
  • The Lake Louise to Banff loppet sells out in one hour. Five years ago, you could register up until the deadline. All loppets seem to be very well attended.
  • I also hear from reliable sources that we’re experiencing a large increase in backcountry skiers.
It's more fun to go skiing at Goat creek with a friend

It’s more fun to go skiing at Goat creek with a friend

It’s possible there are unique factors influencing the decline in the States, such as poor snow conditions, which we didn’t experience to any significant degree here.

Another puzzling stat on the report is the gender mix. It says there’s a 60/40 ratio of males to females. My anecdotal evidence doesn’t support that conclusion, but maybe it’s just that the women are more noticeable to me?!

What are your thoughts? Are we bucking the trend?

Here’s a link to the survey: Snowsports fact sheet


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  1. From “Explore” Website: Not sure what “other” is! they shouldn’t have even put that in there.

    What is your favourite winter activity?

    Skiing (Backcountry) (19%, 22 Votes)
    XC Skiing (19%, 22 Votes)
    Other (17%, 20 Votes)
    Snowshoeing (17%, 19 Votes)
    Skiing (Resort) (16%, 18 Votes)
    Winter Camping (12%, 14 Votes)
    Total Voters: 115

  2. As an experienced backcountry snowshoer, I have seen an increase in the amount of people I see on the trails every year. Both on skies and on shoes. However, once I get into subalpine and alpine avalanche country, those numbers drop substantially. This can be attributed to a number of factors which I won’t get into here as it is off topic. I will say though, a lot of the popular areas I drive past example PLPP, Chester Lake, Mount Shark, etc. etc . have full parking lots. Rightfully so as these are phenomal destinations with well marked trails and amazing scenery. Not to mention very easy access .Both activities are great ways to get the whole family out during the winter months so an increase in numbers is not surprising. As for the ratio of men to women, I can’t speak for that too much as I really haven’t noticed a gap in that regard. However, I have seen a lot of kids strap on snowshoes in the parking lot which is great to see and anyone I have met on the trail- man, woman, or child has been very pleasant to talk to. As I said in one if my posts last year, we are very fortunate to have the mountains and its numerous networks of trails so close by to explore. Another reason for the increase in my opinion.

  3. What is the most important factor in deciding to go skiing? Up to date trail and trip reports, or course!

    That’s one factor which I forgot about but I believe the trail reports have improved considerably in the past five years. When skiers have more faith in their reliability, it might give them more motivation(and reassurance) to go skiing. That’s the original reason I started my blog after all, to give skiers a better idea of where the good(and bad) snow was. -Bob

    • Absolutely. Not to mention up to the minute road reports as well. Trails won’t be too busy if there is a blinding snow storm with freezing rain or the roads being closed due to weather or heaven forbid an accident.

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