Since the 90’s skiing was losing ground to the much cooler and more popular snowboarding, but that has changed with a surge in popularity in the two-bladed discipline.
For years snowboarding was just the hip thing to do, ask any kid who was taking to the slopes for the first time which they wanted to learn and 99% of the time it was snowboarding. The sport even left the slopes and the lingo, fashion and lifestyle infiltrated everyday life – ‘Xtrem e’ this and ‘rad’ that. Skiing had somehow acquired a much stuffier image, with the sport associated with European aristocracy or royalty skiing the slopes in 80’s patterned jump suits.
Sales of Snowboard equipment and apparel have slipped by 21% in the US over the last 4 years, while sales of skis have risen by 3% according to SnowSports Industries America, which is the first time skis have out-sold snowboards since the early 90s.
The logical reason for this is that the snowboarding generation are just getting older, so their no longer able to go for the aerial aspect that made snowboarding so fun. So the one-time board fanatics are now more comfortable with the use of their two legs and the freedom and maneuvreability that holding ski poles allows you.
It’s not only the ageing 90s hipsters who are taking up the ski sas skiing is now the most popular winter sport amongst 6 to 17 year olds. So young people are obviously rebelloing against what their parents do. Snowboarding was hip, until Mum and Dad took it up and started embarassing their children by using words such as ‘rad’ and ‘bitchin’’.
Another factor is the development in ski design, new ‘shaped skis’ are shorter than the traditional ski and have a wider front and rear allowing you to turn much easier and upturned edges in the front and back allow you to ski backwards and are much easier over choppy snow than the board. The designs are so effective that you can use them for downhill, backcountry trekking and even terrain park tricks. For the first time skiiers will compete in slopestyle and half pipe competitions at the 2014 Winter Games.