Earlier this year, I was talking to the owner of one of the leading snowsports websites in the UK.  He suggested that much of the talk of the ‘collapse of the British ski market‘ was exaggerated.

Yes, of course households and businesses were finding it hard, but there were still large numbers using the Internet to find out about ski holidays, weather conditions and trips.   This may just be a function of the increasing number of people online, but we thought we’d see if we could find any data to back up this argument.

What about skier days?

We found the Ski Club of Great Britain‘s data in their annual Snowsports Analysis the most interesting.  Not only do they publish numbers for the total size of the market (the number of British skiers and snowboarders travelling), but they also publish the percentages who took either weekend, 7 day, 14 day or ‘other’ trips.

By using these percentages and applying a multiple of 2 (for weekends), 5 (for others), and 7 or 14, we calculated the total number of skier days – the figure generally used by ski resorts when assessing how successful their season has been.

British market peaked at 8.5m skier days

The numbers show that by 2007/08, the British market accounted for over 8.5 million skier days, but by 2010/11 this had fallen to 7.1 million – a fall of 17%.

The Crystal Ski and Ski Club of Great Britain reports show that the overall market – in terms of individual holidaymakers – has decreased by 21-25%.

There’s clearly no argument that the size of the market has fallen.  A fall of 17% is seriously damaging.  But maybe the situation is not as bad as we thought, with less recovery required.


This data for this blog post was drawn from the publicly available Ski Club of Great Britain Industry reports from 2002/03 to 2010/11.  We note the limitations of this data, which relies on a degree of guesswork, but still holds significant value for assessing the state of our industry.

By Iain Martin