Snowboarding Participation Grows 23%

Watch out on the ski slopes ¿ there’s probably a snowboarder nearby. Snowboarding, which in 2000 became the fastest growing sport among those surveyed by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) stayed in the No. 1 spot again in 2001.

Snowboarding, which grew 31% in 2000, increased by another 23% in 2001 to a total of 5.3 million participants. In 2001, NSGA surveyed 65 sports, fitness and recreational activities. In each of the last two years, snowboarding has gained one million participants.

Since 1991, snowboarding has more than tripled. This growth has impacted alpine skiing, which has dropped 30% in the same 10-year period.

The No. 2 sport on the list of fastest growing activities is ice hockey, which showed a 13.1% increase to 2.2 million. Kayaking/rafting (+12.5%) and open-water scuba diving (+10.0%) also showed double-digit increases. Kayaking/rafting had 3.5 million participants, scuba diving, 2.1 million. Skateboarding, which showed the second-greatest increase in participation in 2000, remained on the upswing with a 6.2% increase to 9.6 million participants and ranks 16th.

Rounding out the top 10 with the greatest percentage increases were sailing (+9.9% to 2.7 million); snorkeling (+9.5% to 6.0 million); canoeing (+9.2% to 6.8 million); scooter riding (+9.1% to 12.7 million); tennis (+8.8% to 10.9 million); and table tennis (+8.6% to 8.4 million).

A complete listing of all 65 sports, fitness and recreational activities in 2001, ranked by percent change, can be found on the NSGA website,

Participation in fitness activities was down nearly across the board. “Working out at a club” (+9.9% to 26.5 million) and running/jogging (+7.6% to 24.5 million) were the only fitness activities that grew in 2001. Exercising with equipment declined 4.8% to 14.9 million participants, the smallest decrease among the major fitness activities. Step aerobics dropped 5.8% to 5.7 million; weight lifting, -6.9% to 21.2 million; aerobics, -9.2% to 24.3 million; bicycle riding, -9.5% to 39.0 million; exercise walking, -12.4% to 71.2 million; and calisthenics, -14.8% to 10.9 million.

This information is contained in NSGA’s Sports Participation in 2001 survey, which is conducted in two parts. “Series I” is based on a sampling of 15,000 U.S. households; “Series II,” which covers activities with lower rates of participation, uses a sampling of 20,000 U.S. households.

Demographics include gender; age; household income; census region; the education of the male and female heads of household; ethnicity; market size by SMSAs; and presence of children. The census regions have been expanded to nine; previously, only four regions had been reported.

The survey is conducted for the National Sporting Goods Association by Ipsos-NPD, Uniondale, N.Y. The two-volume survey is available to NSGA members for $295 and to non-members for $400. Each volume is almost 200 pages.