The number of ski thefts in Breckenridge has held steady this season, while reports of stolen snowboards have fallen off to almost nothing.
Only one snowboard has been reported stolen so far this season, compared to 25 sets of skis. The number of ski thefts is fairly normal for this point in the season, slightly higher than last year's 23 but right on par with 2010's 25 reported thefts as of mid-January.
But the number of snowboard thefts fell off considerably in 2011, from nine down to one at this point in the year, and has remained low over the last two seasons.
Authorities said the fact that there is a larger demographic of skiers - and therefore a larger market for stolen gear - or that skis are more expensive than snowboards could account for the disparity.
Some of the skis stolen recently were worth as much as $1,499.
So far, authorities have not recovered any of the equipment reported stolen this season.
Thieves in Breckenridge consistently target Volkl skis above other brands, although investigators say that might be related to the fact that Volkl is one of the most popular brands. This year, Marker bindings have been hot targets as well, according to data from the Breckenridge Police Department.
Breckenridge authorities characterize most ski and snowboard thefts as a crime of opportunity. Gear is frequently stolen from outside restaurants and bars at the ski resort base areas, usually in the late morning and early afternoon when many skiers take breaks to warm up and eat.
"The thief sees the item unattended in a crowded venue and takes the item," Breckenridge Police Department spokeswoman Kim Stremel stated in an email. "What we would encourage is for people not to give the thieves opportunities to steal their skis."
Authorities recommend splitting up pairs of skis when leaving them outside, appointing a friend or member of the group to keep an eye on skis or snowboards while the owners are inside or dining outside when possible in an area where the gear is in sight.
The number of ski thefts reported in Breckenridge is small in comparison with the total number of skier visits. Breckenridge Ski Resort frequently sees upwards of 15,000 skiers per day. This season, only 26 of those have become victims of thefts.
"The police department works very closely with the ski area to prevent this type of crime from occurring," Stremel stated. "Any suspects that are caught will be charged accordingly."