is snowboarding dead?

Is Snowboarding Dead? Let’s Ask The Professionals!

by Fraser
Updated:

With a heavy heart, I’m sad to announce the passing of our beloved friend Snowboarding. At just 57-years of age, Snowboarding finally lost it’s fight against the two-planked crusaders… 

Or did it? 

For years now, the naysayers have declared snowboarding dead. But if you’ve been to any mountain resort this season, you’ll certainly have spotted at least a dozen of our snowboarding-brethren. So is snowboarding dead? Is snowboarding dying?

It’s time we got to the bottom of this!

When Was Snowboarding At It's Peak?

As discussed here, snowboarding saw a meteoric rise in popularity in the late 90’s. But most snowboarders will acknowledge that in recent years, there has perhaps been a reduction in “buzz” around snowboarding. Several respected and well-loved snowboarding brands have become relics of a simpler past. But when was snowboarding at it’s peak?

According to statistics, snowboarding peaked in 2010 at which point 8.2 million people identified as snowboarders. This also marked the period with the record number of snowboard sales in America. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of self-reported snowboarders had fallen to 7.7 million (source). 

There was also around a 25% reduction in snowboard sales between the same time period (ski sales also fell, but by less than 10%). But does this mean the sport is dying? Let’s take a look at recent snowboard sales…

Is The Snowboard Market Shrinking?

Contrary to the pessimistic outlook above, most business research suggests that the snowboard equipment market continues to grow. In fact, Business Research Insights forecasts a massive growth from $287 million in 2022 to $372 million by 2028.

This sounds pretty odd for a dying sport?  

is snowboarding dead? is snowboarding dying?

Perhaps there’s some hope for snowboarding after all? 

But, snowboarding was never about money (unless you’re a soul-sucking corporation). Snowboarding is about community, passion and waking up at 6am to hike a snowy peak in the freezing cold, just to get 10-seconds of footage or land that one trick. 

Which begs the question, is the snowboarding community dead? Or is it alive and kicking? Let’s ask some of the riders on the front lines. 

Is Snowboarding A Dying Sport? The Professional Opinion

After reading some drier, more academic research about the future of snowboarding, I felt more confused than ever. I decided the best thing to do was to get out there and talk to some real life snowboarders. Here’s what they had to say… 

Snowboarding is so far from dead! It’s just changing like any living thing. If you want to really see how alive the sport of snowboarding is, go to the Midwest. Places like Hyland Hill or Powder Ridge are exploding with the future of the sport! 🤙🏼

Snowboarding is too fun to die. But the "corporate snowboarding industry" have been doing a horrible job since the late 90's!

Jack Mitrani, Professional snowboarder and one of snowboarding’s most popular personalities has perhaps put it best with his response... "Snowboarding will never Die"

is snowboarding a dying sport?

Why Is Snowboarding Becoming Less Popular?

Ok, so we’ve established that snowboarding isn’t dead. But I will accept that it has declined in popularity in recent years. But why?

The answer is complicated, here’s the quick version:

  1. The economic recession stopped the explosive winter sports growth in it’s tracks… but we’re recovering slowly.
  2. The original snowboarders are older, retiring from the sport or busy raising their families. They will be back, and in greater numbers!
  3.  Skiing caught up, offering twin-tip freestyle skis and fat powder skis. This stopped many skiers from making the switch. 
  4. The sport has matured. To survive long-term, sports must come through the “trend” stage and settle into a natural rhythm. True snowboarders will continue regardless of the “popular opinion” 
  5. The outlaw image of snowboarding has somewhat been forgotten. Snowboarding is permitted at most resorts. This removes the draw for some rebellious teens.

The Future Of Snowboarding

Excluding further pandemics, global warming, worldwide recessions or some kind of apocalyptic event… snowboarding will be fine. 

And even if all of those events happen, I’m willing to bet that somewhere, somehow, somebody will be snowboarding! 

Furthermore, with the invention of new snowboard tech like step-on bindings, skiers are starting to make the move to snowboarding once again.

There is also no longer the tribal “skier vs snowboarder” sentiment. Winter sports enthusiasts will now dabble in both disciplines, depending on their mood. Heck, I might even give skiing another go this season. No promises though. 

Final Thoughts

Put away the body bag, call off the funeral… snowboarding is not dead! 

In fact, it’s alive and thriving. The snowboarding community is as strong as ever. Those passionate about snowboarding have more choices than ever before. The tech is insane. The backcountry options are crazy. New resorts open every year. 

If you want to take up snowboarding but are worried about it’s future… don’t be! Grab a board, head to your local mountain and have the time of your life. 

Long live snowboarding!

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6 comments

DD 24/01/2023 - 2:10 am

Today on a Facebook Snowboarding group I was reading a post that asked people’s experiences catching an edge. Just about everyone has a painful story to tell. Lots of cracked helmets. I think this is why snowboarding will continue its decline. Snowboarders are often sitting on the ground in pain while skiers zooom by. I think a lot of former snowboarders will switch over to skiing.

Reply
Fraser 24/01/2023 - 2:22 am

Hi there! Thanks for getting in touch.

Oh no! It’s a shame so many people have had that experience. Certainly fighting through the early tough days of snowboarding is worth it… but hard to see at the time.

I guess my response would be, that surely hasn’t changed since Snowboarding’s inception? So can’t have too much to do with the decline since our peak in 2010. What do you think?

Thanks,
Fraser

Reply
Chris Stanton 20/02/2023 - 11:42 pm

Snowboarding was never about money? I’d bet Jake Burton, if he was still alive, would disagree. As would Salomon and Rossignol.

Anyway, even if the sport has declined in popularity there are still many, many riders out on the slopes. If anything, I’d say there are now more people than before who both ski and snowboard.

Reply
Fraser 21/02/2023 - 1:34 am

Hi Chris.

Good point – although as argued, those are the views of a small minority of snowboarder’s entangled in the corporate world. For the 7+ million snowboarders out there, most are in it for the passion/fun/lifestyle/nostaglia/excercise etc.

Good point regarding people taking up both disciplines, certainly something I’ve noticed too!

Happy riding.

Reply
Lainer 25/02/2023 - 4:36 pm

Snowboarding ain’t slope pollution
Snowboarding ain’t gonna die
Snowboarding ain’t backside pollution
Snowboarding, it will survive…

Reply
Fraser 26/02/2023 - 12:30 am

Nice!

Reply

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