Heavy snow means high sales in ski gear biz | SummitDaily.com

Heavy snow means high sales in ski gear biz

Kathryn Corazzelli
Summit Daily News

As record levels of powder fell throughout Summit County and across Colorado this winter, skiers and snowboarders rushed to buy the latest and greatest in gear.

Dan Lee, a longtime employee of Christy Sports in Breckenridge, estimates gear sales were up 10 – 20 percent not just in his store, but throughout the whole company. Christy Sports has locations throughout the state.

Over at Wilderness Sports in Dillon, manager Tory Hauser said they sold out of most of their winter sports inventory. What was left after the winter season was moved upstairs to the store’s sale and consignment section, where it’s mostly been bought out.

“It makes such a difference to us up here to have a good snow year,” Hauser said. “We were pleased with our sales.”

Sales locally reflect a nationwide trend: According to a new study by SnowSports Industry America, this past winter was a record year for the snow sports market. Total sales in the snow-sports market were $3.3 billion for 2010-11, a banner year compared to the previous record of $3 billion set in 2007-08. The report says there was an 8 percent increase in units sold, and a 12 percent increase in dollars sold.

The report attributed high sales to heavy snow and colder-than-average temperatures. In the western region, which includes Colorado, sales were up 21 percent in equipment dollars sold, 14 percent in apparel, and 20 percent in accessory sales.

“I think new technology, marketing, and a lot of snow were all contributing factors to an increase in sales,” Lee said.

In Vail, snow-sports gear sales were up 9.3 percent this past February over February 2010, according to the town of Vail’s most recent sales tax report.

“We had a good year. Our sales were up a bit,” said Dave Gorsuch, owner of Gorsuch, a ski and clothing company with stores throughout Colorado ski resorts. “We had a good year last year, and we met or exceeded last year’s sales.”

Michelle Rogers from the American Ski Exchange in Vail Village agreed, and said everyone she talked to said it was a pretty good year.

Lee said hard goods sales – skis, snowboards and gear – was up for Christy’s compared to the last three to five years. The report said Americans spent $902 million on snow sports equipment this past season.

Soft goods and apparel also set a new record this year, with $1.2 billion in sales. Hauser said his store saw an increase in sales of apparel like high-end jackets, a category he said always takes a hit when the economy drops.

Randy Wyrick from the Vail Daily contributed to this report.

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