Is snowboarding dying out?
But recent studies show snowboarding is no longer growing at the relentless pace that defined much of its first 30 years. Sales in 2011-12 fell between 19 and 31 percent and participation fell 7.5 percent nationwide.
Statistics show 65 percent of snowboarders are males, while 72 percent of the boys are between 13 and 34.
Eleven percent of skiers fall in the 6-12 age group, while that group makes up 10 percent of snowboarders. There are no statistics for kids under 6.
Another factor in snowboarding's lower numbers is that all the edgy pastimes that used to be exclusively for snowboarders have made their way into the ski world, as well. Skiers ride on halfpipes, go down slopestyle courses. The curvier, sidecut technology that was once unique to snowboards made its way to skis. So has much of the sensible, young-looking gear that used to be exclusively for snowboarders.
To promote snowboarding for smaller kids, a new device called a "ringlet" has been invented. It's essentially a leash that parents can attach to their young children's snowboards to keep them close and help them stay upright.
The snowboards themselves are being built smaller, geared for young children. New, kid-sized terrain parks are also being added at some resorts. The main message here: Snowboarding is hard to pick up and the snowboarding industry has to do more to help kids get involved.
Critical thinking challenge: Why did the snowboarding industry create the “ringlet?”
- Posted on February 13, 2013