In proof that the effects of a poor snow season stretch beyond the season itself, November 2012 saw a decline in snowsports-related sales nationwide, according to a report issued by Snow-
Sports Industries America (SIA).
The report cites last year's poor snowfall, the effects of Hurricane Sandy and the economic fiscal cliff as reasons for the declining trends.
In Summit County, though sales may have been a little slow in the beginning of the season, the declining trend seems to have turned around since the snow in December.
"Prior to the 15th or 16th of December it certainly was a little tight. We were definitely off in that period between Thanksgiving and Christmas," said Steve Lapinsohn, owner of the Main Street Outlet, Columbia Breckenridge and The North Face Breckenridge. "Once we hit Christmas, we took off. Over Christmas and New Year's, we knocked it out of the park."
Sales from August to November generally depend on the previous season's snowfall and general consumer confidence. Both these variables were low coming off the 2011-2012 ski season. From late November to the end of the season, however, conditions in the market mostly depend on the current snow conditions. The snowfall received in December, after the SIA report, could mark an upturn of the current trend, especially if the snow continues. The December snowsports market retail data will be released Jan. 30.
Thad Eldredge, owner of Carvers Ski and Snowboard Shop in Breckenridge, said that despite its slow start, this season was already better than the last.
"It feels more normal. Last year was a very strange year," Eldredge said. "November and the first two weeks of December were pretty tough ... but we made up a lot of ground at the end of December and the first weeks of January. I think we're going to make those numbers up in January."
Among the local retailers seems to be a sense of cautious optimism, depending strongly on what happens with the weather.
"We are snow farmers and it's that simple," Lapinsohn said. "Certainly we've got enough snow now and we could use a lot more and I think that's dependent on what's going on. We're not in bad shape by any means and people go where the snow is."