Last year, despite the downturn in the economy, participation in active outdoor recreation continued to increase. While growth in human-powered snowsports was not as robust as the previous year there was modest growth. And you maybe surprised to learn the snowsport activity with the largest growth is Telemark Skiing, with an impressive 23% increase in participation.
The Outdoor Foundation Releases 2011 Outdoor Recreation Participation Study
The Outdoor Foundation’s fifth annual Outdoor Recreation Participation Report according to the OIS Press releaseis designed to assist “a wide range of stakeholders including the outdoor industry, public agencies and community organizations better understand the trends in outdoor recreation participation.”
To download a complete copy of the 2011 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, visit The Outdoor Foundation website at outdoorfoundation.org/research
During January 2011 and early February 2011 a total of 38,742 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the US Online Panel operated by Synovate. A total of 15,086 individual and 23,656 household surveys were completed. The total panel has over one million members and is maintained to be representative of the US population (pg 72). It is the largest survey of its kind.
For greater accuracy, snow sports participation is measured annually for each winter season. In the preceding tables, 2007 participation represents participation in the 2006/2007 winter season, 2008 participation represents participation in the 2007/2008 winter season, 2009 participation represents participation in the 2008/2009 winter season and 2010 participation represents participation in the 2009/2010 winter season. (Pg 71)
Below are some of the highlights important to human-powered snowsports community. It is important to note the activity categories are somewhat dated and problematic. It is not clear what exactly “Telemarking (Downhill)” is inclusive of and how (or if) the growth in Alpine Touring and Split-boarding is accounted for.
Biggest Increases in Outdoor Participation (pg 14)
# 1 Triathlon (Traditional/Road): 64% increase.
# 4 Kayaking (whitewater): 35% increase.
# 6 Telemarking (Downhill): 23% increase.
# 14 Snowshoeing: 11% increase.
Outdoor Activities vs. Team Sports (pg 26)
Participation in Outdoor Activities was far greater than Team Sports. For example compare the most popular activities in each category:
# 1 Outdoor Activity: Running, Jogging and trail Running had 50.2 million participants or 18% of Americans Ages 6 and older.
# 1 Team Sport: Basketball had 26.3 million participants or 9% of Americans ages 6 and older.
A Gateway to a Healthy Active Lifestyle (pg 31)
Participants in Gateway activities are active in Multiple Outdoor activities. The Outdoor Foundation’s research shows that gateway activities have a contagious effect. Participants in gateway activities get hooked on outdoor recreation and often go on to try other activities. In fact, 88 percent of bikers participate in one or more other outdoor activities.
The most popular activity for first time participants was stand-up paddle boarding followed by triathalons (pg 16)
Perceptions of Common Recreation Issues (pg 34)
Although outdoor participants are more active in outdoor issues than non-outdoor participants, both groups have strong beliefs. A majority of both outdoor participants (89%) and non-participants (75%) agree that preserving undeveloped land for outdoor recreation is important, but almost 15 percent more outdoor participants than non-outdoor participants feel that way.
Outdoor participants (38%) also supported environmental and conservation efforts more through volunteerism and donations.
Use of Information Technology to Engage in the Outdoors (pg 36)
Modern technology has revolutionized the way we find information, communicate with each other and — for outdoor enthusiasts — engage in outdoor recreation.
Outdoor participants ages 25 to 44 use technology to search for information about outdoor recreation more often than participants in other age groups.
Sixty-three percent of adult outdoor participants use technology to search for outdoor information, followed closely by 62 percent of 18 to 24 year olds. That compares to 40 percent of teenagers ages 13 to 17 and only 26 percent of children ages 6 to 12.
Better News About Youth Outdoor Enthusiasts (pg 43)
While there was no significant growth in 2010, most participation rates either leveled off or grew modestly — an improvement from the past years’ significant drops.
For the first time, participation among youth ages 6 to 12 remained flat instead of falling. In addition, adolescent and young adult participation both grew by one percentage point. Among adults ages 25 to 44, participation remained at 54 percent while participation for older Americans dropped by one percentage point.
Use of Information Technology to Engage in the Outdoors Among Youth (pg 52)
As youth age, technology plays a larger role in how they participate in outdoor activities. While 26 percent of children say that mobile technologies take away from their enjoyment of outdoor activities, 41 percent of adolescents and 56 percent of young adults say mobile technologies add to their outdoor experiences.
Using social media, email and other technologies to share outdoor experiences is popular among adolescents and young adults. Forty-eight percent of adolescents and 52 percent of young adults report sharing their outdoor experiences via mobile technologies.
A Detailed Look (pg 66)
Youth Participation in Outdoor Activities, Ages 6 to 17
- Skiing (Cross-Country): In 2010 1.5% of the population participated, up from 1.3% in 2009.
- Snowshoeing: In 2010 1.3% of the population participated, the same as 2009.
- Telemarking (Downhill): In 2010 .6% of the population participated, up from .4% in 2009.
- Wildlife Viewing: In 2010 6% of the population participated, up from 5.5% in 2009.
Young Adult Participation in Outdoor Activities, Ages 18 to 24
- Skiing (Cross-Country): In 2010 2% of the population participated, up from 1.6% in 2009.
- Snowshoeing: In 2010 1.3%, up from 1.7% in 2009.
- Telemarking (Downhill): In 2010 .9% of the population participated, up from 1.1% in 2009.
- Wildlife Viewing: In 2010 4.7% of the population participated, down from 5.2% in 2009.
Participation in Outdoor Activities, All Americans Ages 6 and Older
- Skiing (Cross-Country): In 2010 1.6% of the population participated, up from 1.5% in 2009.
- Snowshoeing: In 2010 1.2%, up from 1.3% in 2009.
- Telemarking (Downhill): In 2010 .6% of the population participated, up from .5% in 2009.
- Wildlife Viewing: In 2010 7.4% of the population participated, down from 7.6% in 2009.
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