XC Skiing And Snowshoeing Are Perfect Forms Of Recreation For The Pandemic.

Based on activity with walking and bicycling last spring, many people in the snowsports business are anticipating a surge in XC skiing and snowshoeing this winter. If alpine ski areas are restricted in ways that lead to excessive waiting such as the amount of time waiting to acquire lift access reservations via the Internet, waiting to get on the lift, waiting to get lunch in the lodge, waiting to go to the restroom, etc., we predict there may be a resulting influx of alpine skiers to XC skiing and snowshoeing. And, perhaps we’ll see:

  • People who have tried XC skiing in the past but not continued (lapsed skiers) may be motivated to try it again.
  • People who have never gone XC skiing or snowshoeing may be encouraged to try it for the first time—because of associated wellness benefits.
  • And people who already enjoy XC skiing or snowshoeing will go more often this winter.

We do not know if there will be similar restrictions at XC ski areas, but it is expected that people will go XC skiing and snowshoeing with or without restrictions at commercial XC ski areas, which charge a fee for groomed trail access.

A Forbes Magazine article cited that “the younger generation doesn’t ski and some of them think skiing is ecologically destructive and too bourgeois; under forties people feel that it is all artificial snow that requires paying a fortune for gear, clothes, and lessons.” I’m not sure what statistics the Forbes article is drawing on, but COVID surveys conducted by Spot seen in content posted on SeekingAlpha.com revealed “33% of skiers said there is a reduced likelihood of skiing in the upcoming season; 30% fewer season passes have been sold, 24% said they’ll be skiing less frequently, and less travel is expected due to limited resort amenities and services.”

We’ve become accustomed to all the protocols that will be in place at XC ski areas (distancing, contact-less transactions, masks in crowded areas, etc.). All the ski areas both alpine and XC are taking a wait-and-see attitude, hoping that availability of a COVID therapeutic or vaccination will change everything. The predictions are that many of the mitigation efforts will be necessary with or without vaccinations across the population as it will take months for the vaccination to bring on normalcy. Most ski area operators have already set their operational plans to open despite the pandemic and skiers will hear about them as the season approaches.

Product suppliers and dealers are salivating about hoped-for increases in product sales, but some of them are certainly somewhat apprehensive (considering that about 27 million jobs have been lost) about the level of consumer enthusiasm to purchase new gear this year.

Touring is Nordic is XC. Credit: Dynafit

With all of this anticipation, one thing is clear: the reality is that XC skiing and snowshoeing are perfect forms of recreation for the pandemic. Both XC skiing and snowshoeing are exactly what the doctor ordered, that is, healthy benefits such as physical fitness, psychological wellness, and a door to a deep emotional connection with nature. The feeling of passing through the snow covered forest at a slow pace provides a wellness indoctrination that is unavailable from other activities.

It would be beneficial for the people who are newcomers or returning lapsed skiers to get exposed to the advancements in XC skiing such as equipment that makes the sport easier and better. I’ve heard from people who are talking about finding the good in all of the challenges that we have faced since March 2020. More seniors who love the outdoors and winters will be discovering XC skiing and snowshoeing because it will be a great boost and alternative for all those folks. Let’s Make More Tracks!

Click Here For SeniorsSkiing.com’s Make More Tracks: A Resource Guide To XC, Snowshoeing, Fatbiking.

2 Comments

  1. Great information! Maybe fatbiking can be added to mix?

  2. The main difference in the bike resurgence was that many of the bikes were already in the garage. So unless theses same people had to move XC skis or snowshoes to get to said bikes I don’t see the same effect especially in areas where XC isn’t readily available. Midwest and NE should see an uptick since skiing was already there.

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