Ski & Snowboard Industry Predictions for the New Decade (Ep.115)


  • Backcountry Skiing (1:50)
  • Backcountry Splitboarding (11:30)
  • Backcountry Telemarking (14:30)
  • Inbounds Skiing (17:43)
  • Inbounds Snowboarding (21:25)
  • Inbounds Telemarking (23:37)
  • Monoskiing vs. Ski Blading (26:17)
  • Park Skiing (29:50)
  • Indoor Ski Areas? (34:25)
  • General Industry Trends (41:59)
  • Wildest Predictions (1:06:00)

Last week on the Blister Podcast we talked about some of our New Year’s goals and resolutions, and last Friday on our GEAR:30 podcast, we handed out awards for the most influential and best gear of the past decade. If you haven’t checked out that GEAR:30 episode, you should.

And in today’s episode, we’re offering our thoughts on what the ski & snowboard industry might look like 10 years from now. Will backcountry skiing and splitboarding keep growing; Will indoor ski areas become more of a thing; will there be more or fewer ski companies in existence 10 years from now? We make our predictions on all of these questions and more, so see what you think. 

Blister reviewers & editors discuss on the Blister Podcast what they think will happen in the next decade of the ski & snowboard industry
Crested Butte, CO

11 comments on “Ski & Snowboard Industry Predictions for the New Decade (Ep.115)”

  1. Good predictions no doubt. Have you got any industry statistics re ski, boots, etc sold? what kind of skis are the most popular, sold more often? growing trends based on stats? What kind of skier is a target skier, the most valuable one? Are we seeing increasing trend or decreasing trend?

  2. Fun chat, but I’d throw out a few thoughts that might be more in the “wild” category.

    1. Ski areas prioritize becoming year-round destinations. Mountain bike summer camps for kids become mainstream especially in resorts close to metropolitan areas.

    2. Electronic assisted backcountry ski touring will launch either a drone, personal pulling device (not a snowmobile), and/or portable rope tow.

    3. Remaining independent ski areas create a partnership to team up against IKON and Epic.

    4. IKON and Epic push resorts to add resort co-located cat skiing to upsell existing pass holders.

  3. Great talk! You covered a lot of niches but I’m curious about your predictions on the rise of backcountry split-mono boarding. Sounds like Paul’s friend is one double-dog dare away from putting a split-board kit on a mono board and really getting after it!

  4. Excellent podcast. Thanks for the effort. My first post… It’s my feeling that backcountry skiing will certainly level off or decline, but BC sales will continue its growth trend. Full disclosure, I am a boot fitter and ski sales associate. Listening to customers while fitting boots, I can get an idea on aspirational BC dreams vs reality. I might ask if they are planning on a hut trip or a long tour in complex terrain. Rarely do I hear, “we are going to the Selkirk Mtns for the week”. Sales will increase because AT boots are so much better and most alpine skiers will not feel a substantial difference in performance between pure alpine boots and hybrid boots. It’s seems to me that more and more people purchase backcountry gear, but they rarely go backcountry skiing. Backcountry skiing is risky and dangerous, backcountry offers variable snow that is sometimes difficult to ski, and it’s a lot of physical work. People seem to like the idea of backcountry skiing. That’s about it. I have yet to see a similar rise in backcountry safety sales. I sometimes ask, “have you considered taking an AIARE level 1 class”, or “do you own a transceiver, shovel, and probe” and rarely get positive response.

  5. Great podcast. On growth in skiing and snow sports in general, Absent some effort on our part, I believe the demographics don’t bode well for continued growth. The US population is growing at its slowest rate since the Great Depression around .7%. The growth is driven by immigration primarily from Latin America and Mexico, populations that are vastly under represented in skiing and other snow sports. Coupled with a general aging of the population in the US the outlook is not one of growth. The bright side is many resort towns have or are developing programs to get underserved kids out in the snow and on the hill. I will plug Coombs Outdoors here in Jackson as a organization dedicated to getting lower income and underserved groups here in Jackson on skis or snowboards. Giving every kid a chance to slide down the hill will keep ski culture alive and thriving for years to come. Also, before snowboards I had a mono ski, I’m for a comeback, way cooler than snow blades and a fitting tribute to Mike Doyle the California surfer who helped make them popular (at least for a moment)!

  6. Interesting and fun listen, love every episode.

    Living in Alaska, resort skiing is limited and the ticket prices at Alyeska have kept me away ($80+ per day or $2k+ for season pass). I’ve resorted to Turnagain and Hatcher Passes’ back country for the last decade or more.

    I’ve noticed a HUGE bump in the amount of people flooding Hatcher in recent years and it doesn’t seem to be slowing. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but I’m getting nervous with the two new planned “resorts”(Skeetawk) going in and a new heli/cat skiing operation on the Willow side of the Pass. Feeling a little over crowded here and there.

    Paul, any thoughts on the developments in Hatcher?
    Won’t really effect you much I don’t think, but thought it was interesting to see all of this activity recently.

    Also, if you need help “testing/reviewing” gear in the AK, I’m available…wink, wink. :)

  7. Sam’s prediction for a boost in telemark skiing is spot on. Over the last 5-10 years, I have found that winter is not as predicable in November, December & January. Specifically, I am seeing lower snow levels, more reliance on snow making and restrictions on accessing terrain that needs high levels of snow to be skiable. My point being that for those of us that love sliding on snow and want to be challenged will turn to telemark skiing to make early season fun and difficult.

  8. Love listening to your podcast! Any thoughts on Nordic touring?

    About 5 years ago, I started XC to still be outdoors and slide around when I know the resort is crowded. At the same time I started to explore the backcountry on my alpine skis and completed avalanche training last season. Overall excited to expand my winter options outside of the resorts. Nordic touring seems like a great option for getting outside and accessing some form of backcountry without the more intense risk scenarios as alpine and all the equipment needed to respond to those risks. This activity can provide an option when alpine conditions are sketchy, open up more terrain and elevation options, and experiencing national parks during off season sounds great. Researching the gear has been a pain and really wish I could find Blister type reviews. ; )

  9. Keep talking about Telemarking and the need to bring up new or updated strong and light telemark boots, and other telemark gear! Its been amazing to see what’s occurred in the AT world. Its clear telemarking helped to push that forward. Come on Scarpa! Where are those new bellows tech at?

    “Buy Low and Sell High!” Thanks Sam for this huge plug. You will become very rich in life Sam for your telemarking words. Blister, can y’all please keep the conversations and words coming regarding telemarking including reviews of telemark gear on Blister!!!

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