The kegs are tapped, and the skis are racked. This weekend is officially the last chance to get those early-season pass deals and Labor Day gear prices at the 22nd annual Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo.
And if the Rocky Mountain Brew Fest, cameos by U.S. Ski Team athletes, slackline contests, discounted gear and lift tickets aren't enough to stir a skier's spirits, the snow piling deep in the hills adds a welcome spark to the early-season hype.
The early-season snow — Steamboat is tracking toward 100 inches before the lifts even turn — is already animating retail sales.
"We have seen an uptick across all our locations on the Front Range," said Randy Bush, regional manager of the six Colorado Ski & Golf, Boulder Ski Deals and Colorado Ski & Sports shops in metro Denver. "People are realizing it's time."
It's the same scene across the nation. As the recession fades into the past and snow flies, the ski season is off to a strong start, with Western resort lodges reporting reservations from October through March up 11.3 percent over last season, according to Denver's DestiMetrics, and retailers marking a strong start to the 2013-14 season.
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