Snowboarding, off-road mountain biking, target shooting and salt water fishing are the leaders in sports participation in some of the largest states, according to an analysis of data contained in “Sports Participation in 2005-State-by-State,” a report published annually by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).

The largest, California with 11.4% of the nation’s population, favors snowboarding as its No. 1 sport, with an index of 203, which means that Californians are approximately twice as likely to snowboard as Americans as a whole. New York (6.6%) is even more into snowboarding, with an index of 213. For both states, those are the only surveyed sports and activities with indices of 200 ore more.

The 11 largest states-California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas-account for 56.5% of the nation’s population.

NSGA’s Sports Participation index indicates how likely it would be for a person in a given state to participate in a specific sport or activity. In the NSGA Index, the national average for each sport or activity equals 100. The index is created by dividing a state’s percentage of participants in a particular activity by its percentage of the U.S. population and then multiplying by 100.

For example, Illinois accounts for 4.3% of the U.S. population and 5.4% of basketball players, which results in an index of 126.

Michigan (3.5% of the U.S. population) and Illinois both favored off-road mountain biking as their favorite activity, Michigan with an index of 202, Illinois at 198.

Target shooting is the favorite activity in both Texas (7.2% of the U.S. population) and Ohio (4.0%). The participation index for target shooting in Texas is 120, 134 in Ohio.

Not surprisingly, coastal states Florida (6.2% of the U.S. population) and North Carolina (3.0%) ranked salt-water fishing as their favorite. Florida’s index for salt-water fishing in 2005 was 339, the highest index for any of the largest states in any surveyed activity. North Carolina’s salt-water fishing participation index was 167.

The favorite sports and activities for the other largest states are: Georgia, water skiing, 185; New Jersey, downhill skiing, 200; and Pennsylvania, football, 204.

In compiling this study, NSGA analyzed state-by-state participation for the following 37 activities: Aerobics, archery (target), backpacking/wilderness camping, baseball, basketball, bicycle riding, billiards/pool, boating (motor/power), bowhunting, bowling, camping, exercising with equipment, exercise walking, fishing (fresh water), fishing (salt water), football (tackle), golf, hiking, hunting with firearms, inline skating, kayaking/rafting, off-road mountain biking, paintball games, running/jogging, scooter riding, skateboarding, skiing (Alpine), snowboarding, soccer, softball, swimming, target shooting, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting, and workout at a club.