Skiing is expensive relative to other sports with broad appeal. It is not expensive relative to niche sports (motor sports, hang gliding). And you have to consider transport costs (I, and everyone in Seattle, have to drive at least 50 miles one-way to local ski hill. I do it once or twice a week). Of course this is the same for hiking, fishing, other outdoor sports.
I think one of the key things is most of my non-skier friends, regardless of socioeconomic status, perceive skiing to be expensive.
Accessibility in every aspect (including cost) is one reason soccer is the world's most popular sport.
Did a quick search on google on avg annual cost of various sports.
Here's something from Australian govt(http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@....ight=0, sport
|Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, Australia, 1995-96 (41.77.0).
Golf was by far the most expensive of the 10 most popular sports or physical activities. Golfers each spent an average of $822 on their sport, while annual outlays by participants in the other nine sports/physical activities ranged from $224 for swimming to $422 for tenpin bowling.
The sports or physical activities found to incur the highest annual costs were horse riding ($1.833), motor sports ($1,653) and air sports (eg. parachuting. hang-gliding and model aircraft flying) ($1,301). At the lower end of the scale, the average cost met by people who participated in carpet bowls during 1995-96 was a modest $90 for the year. Other low cost organised pursuits were indoor soccer ($154), darts ($160) and walking ($171).
According to Ski Press USA magazine, average expenditure per family or single skier per year is $2560 (USD) and average income is $82000.
According to a Montana University study, avg daily expenditure for skiers visiting in winter is $134. Avg for snowmobilers is $188.
In the Pac NW we have a free magazine with articles, calendar info on outdoor sports (running, cycling, skiing, hiking, kayaking, etc.). Reader demographics: Avg household income $60K, average expenditure on gear $2180. 36% participate in downhill skiing, 20% in snowboarding, 67% road bike, 57% camping.http://www.sportsetc.com/03%20SEMK%20Demographics.pdf[ February 19, 2004, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: darrellcraig ]