Two states in the Northeast and three in the West were the five most “snow sports obsessed” states in the country, according to a new analysis of Google search data.
The ski resort job platform Snow Season Central analyzed online Google search trends for more than 6,000 ski-related keywords from November 2022 to October 2023 to rank all 50 states’ passion for snow sports and whether skiing or snowboarding is more popular.
The study showed Vermont, Colorado, New Hampshire, Utah and Montana are the most snow sports obsessed states on a per capita basis. The states with the least interest in winter sports were in the South — Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and Mississippi.
“Our study has uncovered an extraordinary and widespread enthusiasm for snow sports across the United States, confirming its position as a haven for winter sports lovers,” according to Snow Season Central. “From the iconic Rocky Mountains’ expansive slopes to the high quality powder and adventurous backcountry in regions like Colorado and Utah, the U.S. provides a winter sports setting that is one of the world’s best.”
Some key takeaways:
- Vermont ranked No. 1 with a snow sports search volume of 356,126 per capita (100,000 people), 638% higher than the national average.
- Mississippi’s search interest per capita was 97% lower than Vermont.
- Nationally, 61% of searches were for snowboarding, compared to 39% for skiing.
- Vermont also had the highest share of skiing related searches, while California had the highest share of snowboard related searches.
- None of the three largest states (California, New York and Florida) made the top 10.
Are Utahns into snow sports?
“With hundreds of ski resorts scattered across the country, it’s no surprise that the U.S. exhibits a widespread interest in skiing and snowboarding,” according to Ed Raine, Snow Season Central director. “However, this analysis confirms that the people of Utah are some of the most excited for the winter season to start, significantly out searching the national average.”
- Utah ranked fourth with a snow sports search volume of 139,868 per capita (100,000), 190% higher than the national average.
- In total, there were 4,786,970 searches conducted by people in Utah in the 12-month period.
- Only 28% of searches were for skiing, compared to 72% for snowboarding
Utah had a banner 2022-23 winter season, with record-breaking snowfall. Twelve of the state’s 15 ski areas had more snow than ever. Alta topped the list at 903 inches.
Skiing or snowboarding?
The study looked at the popularity of different snow sports by assessing the percentage of searches related to either skiing or snowboarding. The analysis found that at a national-level, 61% of the search interest was for snowboarding, compared to only 39% for skiing.
At a state level, Vermont skewed more toward skiing than the national average, with 52% for skiing and 48% for snowboarding, the largest of all states. California had the larger lean toward snowboarding, with 76% compared to only 24% for skiing.
How does the U.S. compare to other countries?
As part of the analysis, Snow Season Central looked at how the U.S. performed against Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Ireland. The U.S. ranked last among those countries on a per capita search basis.
Snow sports searchers per capita:
- Canada: 69,687 searches.
- Australia: 45,708 searches.
- U.K.: 39,764 searches.
- Ireland: 34,872 searches.
- U.S.: 34,134 searches.
Split between skiing and snowboarding:
- Canada: 32% skiing, 68% snowboarding.
- U.S.: 39% skiing, 61% snowboarding.
- Australia: 34% skiing, 66% snowboarding.
- U.K.: 55% skiing, 54% snowboarding.
- Ireland: 70% skiing, 30% snowboarding.