The world ski market
Accounting for ski countries may vary according to the definition of skiing and of a ski area. There are currently 68 countries in the world that offer equipped outdoor ski areas covered with snow. They are shown colour-coded on the map below. 62 are located in the northern hemisphere while 6 are located in the southern hemisphere, with a ski season in opposed time. While people ski in the North, they go to the beach in the South, and reverse. Taking into account indoor facilities, mountaineering-only areas and other types of facilities such as dry slopes, the figure can be as high as 100 . Besides the major ski destinations in terms of skier visits, there are a number of other, smaller destinations, where skiing has been an industry for a long time, or is currently developing. The most obvious emerging destinations are Eastern Europe and China, but there are a number of other small players spread out across the globe: Cyprus, Greece, India, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Lesotho, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey and many more.
Visitation on most of the western ski market has been flattening over the turn of the century, when not declining in some countries. All the traditional ski markets are very mature and experience a set of issues that the ski industry failed to address early enough, or that are out of its control. Competing activities have increased; global warming has made some seasons more difficult (although poor snow seasons existed as long as the ski resorts) and brought some resorts (often small ones) out of the snow line. However, the major threat for the western ski business is the demographic change. With the progressive retirement of the baby-boomers, the industry is loosing part of its strongest customer base. The new generations in all western world are highly penetrated by immigration masses, with low or no ski culture. Ski learning is out of reach of most of them, because of accessibility issues, including pricing, travel, culture … . Moreover, most of the teaching methods that the industry uses are still based on last century conceptions.