Industry News

Outdoor Participation Trends Bode Well For Off-Road Multisport

The Outdoor Foundation has published its 2015 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report and the trends look good for Off-Road Multisport.

The Top Outdoor Activities for Growth over the past three years are Adventure Racing and Non-Traditional/Off-Road Triathlon, with “adventure racing” currently encompassing primarily the rapidly growing segment of obstacle course racing. Thus, both of the top two areas of growth are directly related to off-road multisport. That’s good.

It gets more interesting when we look a bit deeper. Running, Cycling, and Hiking are the three largest, respectively, in total participation. However, we find the triathlon results quite interesting. Firstly, the report give Non-Traditional/Off-Road Triathlon a participation number of 1,411,000. That number seems quite large, but, hey, we love to see big participation numbers. Interestingly the report also gives Traditional/Road Triathlon a participation number of 2,203,000. This suggests that off-road triathlon is only 36% smaller than road triathlon. I’m sure WTC, and most roadies would strongly disagree with this assessment. However, these are the numbers being put up by the Outdoor Foundation.

So, if we assume the numbers to be accurate what does this mean of off-road triathlon?

First, the sport is stronger and growing more rapidly than most who consider themselves “in the know” would give it credit.

Secondly, we need more events. The demand is there. If off-road is 2/3 the size of road triathlon why are there at least 80% MORE road triathlons annually than off-road? This is a question we need to answer and rectify.

DirtTRI is currently reaching out to the Outdoor Foundation for more clarification and we will expand on this when we have more information. But, for now, we like the numbers.

Download the full report HERE

Below is the press release from

Washington, DC, May 18th, 2015 — Nearly half of all Americans, 48.4 percent, participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2014. This equates to 141.4 million participants, who went on a collective 11.8 billion outdoor outings. These findings are part of the Outdoor Foundation’s 2015 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, which provides an overview of American participation trends in outdoor recreation with a focus on youth, young adults and the future of the outdoors. The full Report will be released this summer.

Overall, outdoor participation dropped .8 percent since 2013 and, by a small margin, reached the lowest levels since the report began in 2006. Extreme weather and an unusually cold winter are likely major contributors to the decline. While the typically popular gateway activities of running and biking lost participants in 2014, the indoor versions of these activities – running on the treadmill and using the stationary bike – added participants.

Paddle sports are a bright spot in outdoor participation. Stand up paddling continued to be the top outdoor activity for growth, increasing participation by 38 percent from 2013 to 2014. Snow sports, such as telemarking, snowshoeing, freestyle skiing and cross-country skiing, also grew by significant margins.

“With a dip in participation numbers, it is more critical than ever that we expand our nationwide efforts to reconnect Americans to the outdoors,” said Christine Fanning, executive director of Outdoor Foundation. “The Outdoor Foundation will continue empowering youth and young adults to lead the outdoor movement, ensuring a generation of outdoor enthusiasts and communities of healthy, active Americans.”

The Outdoor Foundation® produced the Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report to provide a snapshot of American participation in outdoor activities with a focus on youth and young adults. The report is based on an online survey of nearly 11,000 Americans ages six and older and is the largest survey of its kind. To download a complete copy of the 2015 Outdoor Recreation Topline Participation Report, visit The Outdoor Foundation website at

About the Outdoor Foundation
Founded in 2000, the Outdoor Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through youth engagement, community grant-making, and groundbreaking research, the Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In just five years, the Foundation has invested $4 million into 785 not-for-profit and college programs that have connected 200,000 young people to the outdoors. Importantly, 90¢ of every dollar goes directly into this critical work. Visit us at and for more information.







Jimmy Archer

Founder and Editor at Jimmy has been a professional athlete for over 18 years as a runner, cyclist, mountain biker, cross country skier, and primarily, triathlete. Jimmy has a degree in exercise science from the University of Colorado and is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified coach. Jimmy became a freelance writer in 2000 while competing and covering the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship. Since that time Jimmy has been head editor at two magazines, been published in numerous publications within the endurance sport, recreation, and travel segments. Currently Jimmy is competing professionally in off-road multisport. In his spare time Jimmy passionately follows Formula 1, Moto GP, and is an avid cook.

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