How many snowboarders are there, and how many are on the older side? The Physical Activity Council – SIA SnowSports Participation Report provides some numbers. (See: SIA Snow Sports Fact Sheet.)
Over the last three seasons (Fall 2009 through Spring 2012), there were 7.7 million snowboarders. (By comparison, there were 10.9 downhill skiers and 4.3 million cross-country skiers. Of course, there is some overlap in the numbers.)
More men than women participate in each of the three major snow sports. Cross-country skiing is the least male-dominated (59 percent), followed by downhill skiing (61 percent) and then snowboarding (65 percent).
In keeping with its (overly hyped) image as the sport of “rebellious youth,” snowboarding skews the youngest. Four out of every five snowboarders (82 percent) is 34 or younger, with one in four (27 percent) under the age of 18. (Only 23 percent of downhill skiers and 15 percent of cross-country skiers are children.)
According to the SIA statistics, 19 percent of snowboarders during the 2011-2012 season–or 1.4 million people–were age 34 and up.