A recent survey of Active Americans conducted by Leisure Trends Group, found that social motivations are the dominant drivers of first-time participation in snow sports. Whether driven by the desire to be with friends or a family’s desire to play together, more than 60% of skiers and snowboarders were accompanied by friends or family the first time they went. This compares to only 3% who went by themselves.
Additionally, highly engaged participants were more likely to have skied/snowboarded with family the first time than were low engagement participants, and high engagement participants started skiing/snowboarding younger than their low engagement counterparts, says Leisure Trends.
“Taken together, these findings suggest that family commitment and an early start are key factors in lifelong engagement in snow sports,” says the research group.
The findings also suggest that taking lessons promotes engagement with snow sports. Skiers and snowboarders who took lessons are twice as likely to consider skiing/snowboarding a central part of their lives as those who have never taken lessons. Important for retailers and manufacturers, those who have taken lessons own more snow sports equipment than those who have never taken lessons.
The insights from this research can be applied across a variety of outdoor recreation and sports activities, says Leisure Trends. To get more people involved, Leisure Trends analysts suggest outdoor brands should (1) connect them with others through “bring a friend programs,” sponsorship of local clubs, family packages, and the like; (2) help them acquire skill, preferably in a setting that fosters social connection. Finally, don’t forget about the fun factor.
“The top drivers of participation in a variety of outdoor activities are fun and spending time with friends/family” notes Jim Kelley COO/VP of Analytics for Leisure Trends Group. “If people are having fun, they will feel like they are getting a better value for their money, continue to participate, and want to share the fun with others.”