You have probably realized two things about skiing and snowboarding.
Firstly, you don’t know many people who pursue them.
Secondly, the few you know come from well-off families. But your perspective could be skewed.
(Hence) Are Skiing and Snowboarding Rich People’s Hobbies?
In some ways yes. Skiing and snowboarding are varied, so there’s no straight answer to that question. Generally, yes, they are commonly pursued by the moneyed in the society, and here are the reasons why (even if it’s a matter of perception sometimes):
1. Climate Change
Skiing and snowboarding – especially skiing – weren’t entirely reserved for the rich in the regions where the sports originated.
In places like Norway, pretty every hill was covered in snow the entire winter. Same thing in Switzerland and Austria and virtually the whole of the alpine region (Northern Italy, France, etc.). Not anymore.
Today, snow is thinner and lasts a little shorter time, thanks to global warming.
This means the weather doesn’t permit these leisure activities anymore.
As such, the interest of the commoner in them is starting to wane as the long-held traditions diminish.
And because simple boots and cheaply made skis are no longer readily available – due to the declining interest in the sport – skiing and snowboarding are starting to mainly attract the interests of the wealthy who can pay for the premium gear.
Simply put, the once traditional outdoor activity has turned into a sport for the few.
Also, many children only see snowy hills for a couple of days annually, and many kids born to immigrants are taught skiing culture.
They probably grow seeing the sport as a thing of the “rich man’s”.
2. Blame The Marketing
Just like golf, skiing and snowboarding are constantly portrayed as expensive and glamorous sports for those who can afford them.
This is a clear attempt – whether intentional or not – to limit these sports to a few 1 percent in society. This image is one of many things that put some young folks off skiing – firstly, they look too pricey for the young people, and secondly, they are almost elite.
This can help explain why those who grew without the internet, those who were mostly influenced by travel agents and pub conversations, are the likeliest to view skiing and snowboarding this way.
As soon as you meet with other people who went skiing and snowboarding a lot in childhood, you will realize that it doesn’t have to take a lot of money to be part of the game.
For youngsters, it does help to have friends willing to lend you their gear. Once you figure out where to find the holidays, everything else becomes easy.
3. The Equipment Doesn’t Come Cheap
Again, just like golf, skiing equipment aren’t cheap.
Also, skiing and snowboarding require quite sizeable gear.
It is near impossible – physically – to ski or snowboard without all the equipment.
Most of us prefer to bother ourselves with simpler activities that demand less equipment that in turn cost less.
So what do you need to ski? You’ll carnally start with buying the skis, then the boots, and finally the poles (such items as goggles and gloves are necessary as well but are secondary).
The price of these items will differ quite widely depending on the specific type of gear you go for.
The next and secondary items (appropriate clothing, thermals, jackets, pants, ski socks, gloves, etc.) aren’t cheap either.
Still, every upcoming and established skier and snowboarder are reminded to put their safety first, meaning you must have all of these items before you hit the snow.
Some establishments won’t allow you to get started without a helmet. Snowboarders are often asked to wear full body armor and wrist guards
This wide assortment of equipment, and its overall cost, can seem bothersome to many, and further helps limit these sports to a few with money and time for them.
4. The Action Takes Place In Skiing Resorts
Unlike soccer or basketball which you’d simply show up in a local court, play, and return home, skiing occurs almost entirely in resorts.
Frankly, it is affordable to do two or a few cheap flights and even rent cheap apartments around or in small resorts, but that’s not a practical thing to do for people who are just starting.
That’s especially challenging if you have no idea how to go about everything and what to expect.
Unless you are moneyed enough to afford the long trips or buy a home close to skiing grounds, pursuing the sport may seem like an unnecessary and costly affair.
So yes, these two sports are expensive but no, they aren’t exclusive to the moneyed in society.
They are for both the rich people and those who have a soft spot for them.
Anyone who has, say, a brand new car (as opposed to a 5-year-old car) and says they “don’t have money” to go skiing or snowboarding really means “I can afford one or both of those but have decided I would rather spend the cash on a depreciating item”.
Fair enough, but you can never have it both ways.
(For Those On A Budget) Can You Cut Down On Your Spending On Skiing And Snowboarding Equipment?
Certainly yes. Just because they are expensive, and the fact that the sport is marketed as elite doesn’t mean you can’t lay hands on genuine gear at low cost.
Also, with the numerous amount of equipment involved in these two sports, especially skiing, the expenses will be sky-high if you don’t take steps to pinch a few pennies (if you feel the need, that is).
The ski gear you go for will depend on an array of factors including your abilities, preferred style, and experience.
Hence, there is a huge difference in the cost of equipment.
If you are just getting started in either of these sports, you won’t be inclined to buy the finest of the gear.
High-end equipment are never suitable for beginners, so rather than purchase them, you should rent.
Conversely, if you go for equipment that are suitable for starters, you will outgrow them pretty quickly especially if you are a fast learner.
Your skills will soon develop beyond the gear, meaning you’ll be required to upgrade them as you progress.
Ski resorts are always full of ski rental shops regardless of where you are.
Rental shops are the best places to obtain the specific gear you need for the ski trip at a low cost.
They are perfect for beginners or those who don’t need to buy the gear straight away.
Some individuals survive solely on the rented gear in their entire winter sports career, never to buy their own set.
This strategy works out well for them as renting ensures you use brand new equipment every season without committing a lot of money to it.
Every rental shop worth its salt has access to a new batch of gear every season.
They will keep a wide selection to suit every skill level. This can also mean you have an opportunity to try out a variety of gear during your trip.
Better yet, with rented gear, you don’t have to bother yourself with the responsibility of maintenance and transportation.
2. Buying Used Gear
If you’d rather have your own set of gear than rent, the best alternative at your disposal is to buy used gear.
The price of acquiring used skiing and snowboarding equipment is much lower than going for brand new sets. Be sure to check the condition before buying.
Related: Should You Apply Makeup Before Hitting The Slopes?
So, are skiing and snowboarding rich people’s hobbies?
These two sports are expensive but aren’t exclusive to the moneyed in the society.
They are for both the rich people and those who have a soft spot for them. If you have some free time to kill and feel they are worth it, very few obstacles will hinder you.
Are the ski slopes only for the 1 percent?
Is Skiing A Rich Person’s Sport?
How to Find a Hobby When Nothing Interests You (16 Methods!)
How Much Should You Spend On Snowboarding Gear as A Beginner?