Taking another look at the just-released 2000/2001 NSAA Kottke End of Season Survey (preliminary report), there’s actually a bigger growth rate in the number of snowboarders on the hill than originally implied in the report.

The number of snowboarders on the slopes has actually increased almost 21 percent, and the number of skiers has only grown five percent. How do we get to those numbers?

It’s all in the math, but here are the simple calculations: Last year, the total number of ski area visits were 51.6-million. Of those, 25.9 percent were snowboarders, making a total of 13.36-million, while 39.24-million were skiers.

This year, the total number of ski area visits was the all-time record number of 57.3-million total. Of that, 28.1 percent were snowboarders, making 16.1-million total visits from snowboarders and 41.2-million from skiers.

The snowboarder increase from 13.36-million to 16.1-million is 20.51 percent, compared to the skiing increase from 39.24-million to 41.2-million, which would be a 4.9-percent growth rate.

The NSAA report orginally stated that snowboarding has grown 8.7 percent on the slopes, but that really means that the percentage rate has grown by 8.7 percent, not the actual number of snowboarders. It also says that skier visits grew by 11 percent, which is true, but that number includes snowboarders in it. Why the funny math? Does the resort industry benefit from making the growth rate of snowboarding look lower than it actually is? Or did they just not look into the numbers as deeply as we have?

Who knows, but it’s good news all around, so let’s just enjoy it.

Ski Area Visits
*in millions

Year………..Total….Skiers….Snowboarders

1999/2000…….51.6…..39.24…..13.36
2000/2001…….57.3…..41.2……16.10

Growth rate…11% up…5% up…..21% up

¿John Stouffer, with analysis by Jeff Harbaugh