Why skiing is becoming a popular holiday globally

Dashing down a slope, the cool wind in your hair, beautiful scenery around you as you glide purposefully over soft, white powder…why would anyone not want to take a skiing holiday? Well, more and more people are starting to agree: the most recent Crystal Ski Industry Report – which measures the skiing market ‒ showed that the popularity in ski holidays for 2014 had grown for the first time in five years.

That’s something that Vancouver-based winter sports photographer and ski instructor Jim Decker would encourage. Jim Decker blogs to encourage families to engage with the slopes, not least because it gives him the chance to take beautiful portraits set against the stunning mountainous setting of British Columbia. After all, couples that marry on the slopes are likely to bring their children in later years – introducing a whole new generation to the snow.

But why the sudden rise in interest? The popularity of the most recent Winter Olympics certainly won’t have dampened enthusiasm. Sochi 2014 provided some of the most memorable sporting moments in recent history, with stars such as Ted Ligety, Julia Mancuso (US), Chemmy Alcott and Alain Baxter (GBR) swooping in to medal for their country, in exciting events such as the Super-G, Giant Slalom and Slopestyle. There’s nothing like watching experts in their field to make you want to take a lesson.

It also helps that funding into skiing has grown significantly in recent years. In the UK, UK Sport has recently announced that investment into winter sports will rise to £31m ($48.3m) by 2018, over double the figure that was spent in the run up to Sochi. That also applies to skiing specifically as well as the Paralympic version – proving that the sport is becoming more and more inclusive.

And it’s not just the usual countries of Austria, Canada, or France – more and more people are jetting off to less traditional countries, such as Italy, Bansko in Bulgaria, the Chilean Andes, and even Mount Herman in Israel’s Golan Heights. You can even ski in Hawaii, where Mauna Kea’s rare snowfall events produce great powder. Even the Middle East can offer families a fantastic time: the Iranian resort of Shemshak is at 2,550m (8,366 ft) but comes with gloriously blue skies.

Such a variety in destinations also means there is a wide spread of budgets: for those in Europe, a quick hop over to Romania or Slovakia is easy and, thanks to the rise of budget airlines, super cheap, while anyone in the US should look no further than a jump across the border to classic Canada.

It’s not just about cost, either: more people care about health now than ever before, and skiing is an excellent and enjoyable way to get fit, boosting flexibility and cardiovascular condition. And let’s not forget: without skiing there is no après ski! The spa industry is also growing at a rate of knots – the same knots, perhaps, that you’ll be able to get massaged away before you dip into your alpine hot tub. Bliss.

It’s simple – from a rise in interest in Olympic sports, a boost in funding alongside cheaper breaks, a whole host of destinations to choose from, to the promise of après ski ‒ skiing has never looked so cool.

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