For decades and in some cases more than a century, local ski and snowboard clubs have been a home to families and kids sharing their joy of the sport. This three part series will look at the current state, the challenges and finally what the future may hold for ski/snowboard clubs.
When looking at clubs globally, the approach varies widely from continent to continent. In European mountain regions ski/snowboard clubs can be found in most local towns. Indeed many clubs emanated from other sporting organisations. For example a football club would play football or do athletics in the warmer months but in winter, members would turn to snow sports.
In North America, clubs also built up the ski industry in their region. Looking to newer snow sports nations in Asia the existence of ski/snowboard clubs is not so prevalent yet as the sport is relatively new there.
Finally moving to the Southern Hemisphere the ski/snowboard clubs have a distinctly different meaning. In New Zealand and the “club member” is likely part of a private ski field reserved only for members and their guests, similar to golf. In Australia, South Africa and South America the ski/snowboard club is similar to the European approach.
It is estimated that the number of clubs globally is in the tens of thousands.
In talking with individuals for this three part series, FIS reached out to a number of clubs who are Bring Children to the Snow Organisers. Gianluca of Ski Club La Thuille (ITA) stated his club is healthy and the number of participants is growing. In Canada, the Organisers of the Jasper Junior Olympics stated the numbers of clubs participating in their events has remained stable over the years.
Based on a wide range of feedback and taking into consideration the different club systems worldwide, it appears that the current state of ski/snowboard clubs worldwide is relatively stable despite the continually increasing competition on a person’s time, but there is room to grow.
In part two of The Modern Day Ski/Snowboard Club, we take a look at some of the challenges clubs face around the world.