Bobsled, speed skating, curling, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and biathlon are a few examples of winter sports. Skiing and snowboarding are some of the most popular winter sports in the United States. More than 13.5 million Americans skied at least once in 2015, and nearly 7.7 million people participated in snowboarding in the U.S. during that same year.
There are 470 ski resorts in the U.S., which are visited by more than 50 million skiers and snowboarders every winter season. New York is the state with the highest number of ski areas in the U.S. – 51 as of the 2014/2015 season. Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado and California also have a high number of ski areas in operation. The U.S. winter tourism industry accounts for several billion U.S. dollars in economic impact each season. Sales of snow sports products, including equipment, apparel and accessories, amounted to around 3.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2013/14 in the U.S., with apparel accounting for 40 percent of this revenue. During the same season, consumers spent around 260 million U.S. dollars on snowboarding equipment and almost 600 million U.S. dollars on skiing equipment.
Along with skiing and snowboarding, ice hockey is also one of the most popular winter sports in North America, particularly in Canada and in some northern states of the U.S. In 2014, around 2.4 million people played ice hockey in the U.S. About 530,000 of these participants were officially registered ice hockey players. Canada is home to even more registered ice hockey players, with more than 700 thousand. The biggest professional ice hockey league in the world is the National Hockey League (NHL), with its 30 franchises located throughout the United States and Canada, and total revenue of about four billion U.S. dollars. Since 1920, ice hockey is also played in the Winter Olympics Games, a major sporting event for winter sports watched by an estimate of 3.5 billion people worldwide. Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjørndalen is the most medaled Olympian in the history of the Games. With five gold medals and one silver medal, speed skater Bonnie Blair is the most successful American athlete in the ranking.
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