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Growing Skiing
How Close to Reality are Our Instincts About Why People Don’t Ski?

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NOTE: I’m seeing this get picked up by non-marketing circles so here’s a quick disclaimer. This is not an exhaustive research project. It’s a very small sample addressing a very tricky question. It’s designed to act as the starting point for discussion and/or more research. It’s not the flawless truth so don’t take it as such. Got it?

Why don’t people ski? My question is as simple as that.

But rather than just share survey results, i wanted to test our collective instinct against what a group of random people would say.

Do we know what’s keeping our sport from growing? Maybe not as much as we thought.

Our Guesses
Let’s start with our guesses and see what we as marketers thought would be the most likely answer. These are broken out as a percentage of the total.


Let’s rank those to see how these are prioritized.

  • Cost
  • Interest
  • Risk
  • Peers
  • Effort

As a quick summary, we feel like cost – by far – is the biggest reason people don’t ski. After that just last of interest. Risk is somewhere below that with peers and effort at the rear.

Their Responses
So, I created a survey that asked the exact same questions to thousands of completely random internet users. Of the 223 that replied here’s how the results look in the same order as the first chart as a percentage of the total.


Let’s rank those as well:

  • Interest
  • Risk
  • Cost
  • Peers
  • Effort

The parity is likely a result of asking a question people haven’t considered before, so the gaps between the responses that stand out could likely be great. But, even still, interest was first, risk was a very close second, with cost somewhere in the middle. Peers and effort fall at the bottom.

Let’s Compare
So, let’s compare by stitching these charts together. I’ll speak ambiguously because these aren’t conclusive, but should raise eyebrows nonetheless.


So, what does this mean?

First, we think that cost is a MUCH bigger issue than it appears to be. We see it as a clear #1. According to this sample it’s a distant #3.

Second, many more people than we think are simply not interested in skiing. We saw it as a distant #2 to cost. Instead, it’s a clear #1 for this sample.

Third, if people are interested, the biggest reason they don’t ski is the perceived risk. To me that is MASSIVE partly because we as marketers don’t see it anywhere near the top of non-skier’s concerns.

For a long time I’ve talked about my concerns over the fact that only extreme versions of our sport (Olympics, X-Games) are what make mainstream television. Perhaps those fears are justified after all.

First of Many?
Are there other reasons? Surely. Is this a small sample relative to the non-skier population (300,000,000+ in the U.S.)? Absolutely.

But it’s a start and it’s a question we, as an industry, simply haven’t been asking.

I hope this is the first glimpse at research NSAA and others (with more money than me) will run with. If we want to grow skiing, we have to understand why people don’t want to and then, collectively, address those perceptions.

Until we do that, we might be addressing issues that don’t exist.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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