The numbers are in, the Canadian ski industry is growing once again! Go Skiing Go Snowboarding helps Canadians try skiing for the first time and keep skiing for a life time.

Jessica Cable carving up Red Resort. Photographer Chris Dane German

TORONTO, ON – November 17, 2022 – With snow beginning to blanket the land and skiers and boarders eager to hit the hills, Canada’s ski and snowboard industry is healthier than it’s been in years.  During the pandemic, outdoor enthusiasts returned to the slopes in record numbers, giving ski areas much needed optimism that this season’s revenues will recover for the industry, which funnels more than $4 billion into the economy and provides jobs for more than 70,000 Canadians.  

Canadian ski industry growth stats:

  • In 2021-2022, 350,000 more skiers and boarders joined winter lovers across Canada who love sliding on snow, increasing the number of domestic visits from 17.6 Million four years ago to 18.6 Million this past year       
  • Over 8% of Canadians now participate in snow sports on a regular basis at ski areas across Canada.
  • How the industry grew by more than 355,000 skiers and boarders over the past year, despite the pandemic     
  • 2021-2022 saw a significant increase in the number of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour who are skiing and boarding.  In 2021-2022, 16% were visible minorities, up from 12% the season before.
  • At the Toronto Ski & Snowboard Show in late October, vendors reported a 20% increase in sales over 2019, the last time the show was live.
  • Ski shops on and off resorts in the past year recorded an over 30% increase in the sale of skiing equipment and apparel.  

Record setting 2021/22 ski season

“This overall growth is the best in 20 years and a reversal of the slow decline and/or stability we have seen since 2001,” says Canadian Ski Council President and CEO Paul Pinchbeck, noting that the largest increase in active skiers took place in Ontario and British Columbia, where resorts reported a record number of visitors last season and significant increases in the sale of single-day lift tickets and season passes. 

Gaper day on Whistler Blackcomb 2022. Photographer Christopher Dane German

“Canada has always been a place where in winter people are tempted to hunker down and hibernate but as these numbers show, instead of giving in to the winter blues, increasing numbers see snow as an exciting escape, a reason to get outside to play and get healthy,” says Pinchbeck. “Ninety seven percent of people who tried skiing and boarding for the first-time last year, intend to come back this year. This is great news, and the industry is working hard to keep this momentum going.” 

Breathing life back into Canadian ski resort expansion plans

This rosy outlook has several ski resorts reviving expansion plans delayed by COVID, including the addition of new lifts and ski runs and construction of new accommodation space and retail outlets. In coming years, resorts will invest heavily in better eCommerce, ticket pickup and rental processes to help make the customer experience better than ever, says Pinchbeck. And the Canadian Ski Council, which is mandated to increase participation in recreational skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing in Canada, is continuing to offer innovative programs to make winter sports more accessible for Canadians of all ages and abilities. 

Photographer Chris Dane German

How to get into skiing affordably

The site created by the Canadian Ski Council has information about programs that show Canadians how to get started on skis and snowboards and enter the sport affordably. These include the Grade 4 & 5 SnowPass, which for a one-time fee of $29.99 enables kids to ski and snowboard at participating hills across Canada up to two times per hill, and Never Ever Days, a $25 beginners’ program that gives anyone five years old and up everything needed to begin enjoying the slopes, including lessons and rentals. Recognizing that people may have concerns related to Covid and the flu, Pinchbeck points out that skiing and snowboarding is a healthy outdoor activity that keeps people naturally distanced.   “That said, we continue to work with the health authorities in each province to be ready to implement any requirements issued to ensure skiing and boarding remain safe and healthy for all.”

About the Canadian Ski Council

Founded in 1977, the Canadian Ski Council is a national, not-for-profit ski and snowboard organization whose mandate is to increase participation in recreational skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing in Canada.

Written by Laura Stratton