WITH THE SKI-SEASON officially starting this week we looks at some of the major trends impacting the Ski and Snowboarding world and review some of the best of what’s on offer for Winter Sports this season.
One big shift in recent years in Winter Sports has been the decline in the Snowboard market. Whereas in Skiing, the number of participants taking part in the sport and new people taking up the sport, has remained constant, the number of people taking up Snowboarding has been in steady decline for the past ten years. According to a report in the Los Angeles times in 2013, there were fewer people (at least in the U.S.) who were learning to Snowboard.
The problem? Many of the young guy’s who originally took up snowboarding in the 1990’s are getting older and are finding that with families other commitments, they no longer have the same time and freedom they once had to commit to the sport. Snowboarding has also lost the rebellious edge it had when it started out and so doesn’t have quite the same appeal it once had to attract a younger market, who are just as likely to take up Skiing as they are Snowboarding. It doesn’t help that Skiing is also cooler and less elitist than it used to be. With advances in Skis and Ski technology it has also become much easier to pick up the Sport and enjoy it as a beginner. According to the same article skiing and snowboarding have switched places. While snowboarding is fading, skiing is gaining ground.
In the 2003-4 season more than 42 percent of all beginners on the slopes ages 14 and younger started out on a snowboard. The percentage has steadily fallen since then, last season dropping to about 34 percent, according to the ski areas association.
It should come as no surprise then that the biggest trend in Snowboarding is a RETURN TO MORE STREET AND YOUTH CULTURE influenced gear, with a ramp up of the attitude that made it so appealing when it started.
Sales of snowboards and snowboard equipment have slipped 21% over the last four years, while sales of skis have climbed 3% in the same period, according to SnowSports Industries America.
In the Skiing as always there is a huge emphasis on technology particularly protection and multi functional layering systems
In Skiing the current TREND FOR FREERIDING AND BACK-COUNTRY SKIING is still growing. Here equipment brands are fighting it out to produce the best lightweight skis, using new materials, which still deliver good downhill performance. In other words, Skis which combine performance on the descent, with a lightweight construction for the climb.
In this regard clothing is also required to address the same needs. Lightweight garments which offer optimum performance are key, as are Hybrid garments and Layering Systems, built to keep the user warm and dry, while offering the greatest freedom of movement and and allowing for versatility of activity and use.