Tuesday, November 30, 2010

'Snurfing' and Winter Travel

The earliest snowfall in Britain for 17 years is no doubt whetting appetites for winter sports leisure pursuits. The demand for travel to winter sports destinations is set to increase from the 2009/2010 season according to the UK's largest travel operator. TUI 4 October 2010 However, the pressures that developments in winter sport technology insert on the demand for winter travel to snow-capped mountain resorts is often overlooked. The snowboard is one such technology that contributes to winter travel demand.

The snowboard has followed a steady trajectory of development since the early tinkering by pioneers of the sport such as Jake Burton and Dimitrije Milovich in the 1980's. Critical to the success of snowboarding was the development of the sidewards binding that held the rider's feet and ankles in place to allowing for more control in turning and stopping. Other developments include the material composition of the snowboard, progressing from plywood 'snurfers' (arguably the first snowboard that was popular in the 1960's) to the fiberglass and foam core that constitutes the new Lib Tech Skate Banana, the latest in snowboarding technology.

The Lib Tech's Skate Banana has a 'rocker' shape that distributes the weight from the edges to the middle of the board ensuring that this board can be used in any conditions, form park to powder, ultimately enhancing the enjoyment and experience of the rider. The 'magnetron' edges, that have been designed with a very slight wave, also allow for more control in icy conditions, making the practice more accessible to beginners.

There has been a surge in demand for the Lib Tech Skate Banana and similar designs of snowboard since the 1990's. This demand is reflected in the fact that in the USA alone snowboarding has increased by a staggering 77% since 1997 (abc-of-snowboarding.com). In terms of travel demand, however, the popularity snowboarding along with other winter sport activities, contribute to the increasing demand for winter sport holidays, which in the UK typically involve international air travel and long bus journeys up to the mountains. These travel trends continue despite the recent snowy weather. The UK is unfortunately a long way off becoming a popular destination to practice winter sports.

1 comment:

  1. This last sentence is something the coalition government must address if tourism in Britain is to become a key mechanism in an 'export-led recovery'. See http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmtran/writev/economy/te91.htm (point 17)