Did you know that Norway holds the most Winter Olympic medals? Or, that the most watched event in South Korea is Figure Skating? Leading ski tour operator, Crystal Ski Holidays, has conducted its winter sports popularity analysis to reveal which nations are the most obsessed with winter sports and reveal the most unlikely nations who love the slopes.
The study analyses a number of winter sports factors such as all-time winter Olympic medals, yearly skiing visitors, skiers per 10,000 people, and Google search data to work out the world leaders for winter sports.
Surprising Ski Enthusiasts
The United Kingdom only has 10 ski areas with snow to cater for all 6.3m skiers in the country (who usually head abroad to get their fix) - which could be a tight squeeze on the slopes if they all stayed closer to home. The UK takes the top spot of the country with the most amount of skiers per skiing area; a grand total of 634,000. Belgium is the second most surprising ski nation, as they have 179,000 skiers for every ski area in the country - Belgians also like to watch Curling events the most during the games.
With 62 Winter Olympic medals behind them, China has the highest number of ski areas within their country out of all other nations, with 703 areas in total for their 12,880,000 yearly skiing visitors. Japan follows closely behind with 547 ski areas and 58 Winter Olympic medals, but have almost 2.5 times more visitors heading for the mountains (32,141,000 ski visitors).
Other unanticipated results from the study reveal that Australia is a surprising lover of winter sports with the most watched event at the 2018 Winter Olympics Games for Australians listed as Snowboarding. With 15 Winter Olympic medals and 12 ski areas under their belts, Australians have more areas to ski than the UK and Belarus, who both have more medals (19 and 18 respectively).
Here’s Where Winter Sports Fanatics are Travelling to this Ski Season
It may come as a surprise that the study reveals that the United States sees the highest amount of yearly skiing visitors from in and out of the country, with a mind-boggling 54,905,000 people trekking to the resorts to experience the snowy slopes - that’s one million fewer people than the whole population of South Africa.
France takes the second spot with 54,012,000 foreign and domestic visits to ski resorts every year to make the most of the world-famous slopes including Chamonix, Morzine, and Tignes. Austria rounds up the top three countries with the most yearly skiing visitors, with 51,722,000 individuals venturing to the resorts annually. Austria also has the highest skier to tourist ratio out of all countries, with an average of 35%, meaning for every 100 tourists to visit Austria, 35 of them are visiting to ski.
For each of Austria’s 254 ski areas, they have 203,630 potential skiers. Prefer your slopes to be emptier with more space to roam? Head to Russia, where you’ll only have to share one of the 354 ski areas with 19,068 others.
Crystal Ski Holidays has used tourist figures to analyse just how many people visiting each country are there to ski. In Switzerland, almost one in three tourists arrive to ski, while this drops down to one in 10 in Japan and further still in the USA, where only one in every 100 visitors to the country are there to ski.